Professional Stress and Health among Critical Care Nurses in Serbia

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Professional Stress and Health among Critical Care Nurses in Serbia

The aim of this study was to identify and analyse professional stressors, evaluate the level of stress in nurses in Intensive Care Units (ICU), and assess the correlation between the perception of stress and psychological and somatic symptoms or diseases shown by nurses. The research, designed as a cross-sectional study, was carried out in the Intensive Care Units (ICU), in health centres in Serbia. The sample population encompassed 1000 nurses. Expanded Nursing Stress Scale (ENSS) was used as the research instrument. ENSS revealed a valid metric characteristic within our sample population. Nurses from ICUs rated situations involving physical and psychological working environments as the most stressful ones, whereas situations related to social working environment were described as less stressful; however, the differences in the perception of stressfulness of these environments were minor. Socio-demographic determinants of the participants (age, marital status and education level) significantly affected the perception of stress at work. Significant differences in the perception of stressfulness of particular stress factors were observed among nurses with respect to psychological and somatic symptoms (such as headache, insomnia, fatigue, despair, lower back pain, mood swings etc.) and certain diseases (such as hypertension, myocardial infarction, stroke, diabetes mellitus etc). In view of permanent escalation of professional stressors, creating a supportive working environment is essential for positive health outcomes, prevention of job-related diseases and better protection of already ill nurses.

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