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  • Meeting abstract
  • Open Access

Stress in nursing staff: a comparative analysis between intensive care units and general medicine units

  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 2,
  • 1,
  • 3,
  • and
  • 1
Critical Care20004 (Suppl 1) :P232

https://doi.org/10.1186/cc951

  • Published:

Keywords

  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Nursing Staff
  • Emotional Exhaustion
  • Personal Accomplishment
  • Outstanding Feature

Full text

It's a current belief that stress is an outstanding feature of intensive care units, in particular within nursing staff. The aim of this study was to compare some variables belonging to stress (i.e. anxiety, depression and `Burnout' syndrome) between nurses working in intensive care units (ICUs) and general medicine units (GMUs).

Materials and methods

We studied a population of 883 nurses working in ICUs, distributed in 79 Italian hospitals (70.1 % female) and 509 nurses working in GMUs, distributed in 35 Italian hospitals (80.2 % female). We asked them to fill in a form including: 1) general data and his/her work environment; 2) different evaluation standardized scales - the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, divided into anxiety (HAD A) and depression (HAD D) status 0-7 `non cases', 8-10 `doubtful cases', 11-21 `cases'; the S.T.A.I. scale, divided into acute anxiety (Y-1) and chronic anxiety (Y-2) status; the Maslach Burnout Inventory-Human Services Survey (MBI.) divided into Emotional Exhaustion (EE), ≤ 18 `low', 19-26 `average', ≥ 27 `high', Depersonalization (DP) and Personal Accomplishment (PA). We also evaluated the different reasons of anxiety through individual questions (higher value, more anxiety): A1, a critically ill patient; A2, a young patient; A3, an old patient; A4, a suicidal patient; A5, a terminal patient; A6, presence of mechanical supports; A7, relationship with patients' relatives. The comparison between the two groups was performed by the Mann-Whitney Rank Sum test and z-test; statistical significance was accepted as P<0.05.

Results

The results, expressed as median value, with 25th and 75th percentile in brackets, are shown in Tables 1 and 2.

Table 1 also shows the proportions of nurses that had a highest value of HAD A and M.B.I. EE.

Conclusions

Pathologic anxiety and emotional exhaustion are more prevalent in nurses working in GMUs. Thus, contrary to a common belief, `stress' is a more distinctive peculiarity of general medicine units than intensive care units.

Table 1

 

ICU

GMU

 

HAD A

7 (5,9)

7 (5,10)

P<0.005

A 11-21

13%

19%

P<0.005

HAD D

3 (2,6)

4 (2,6)

n.s.

S.T.A.I. Y-1

33 (30,39)

35 (31,41)

P<0.005

S.T.A.I. Y-2

36 (31,42)

37 (32,43)

P<0.05

M.B.I. EE

19 (13,29)

25 (16,34)

P<0.001

EE ≥ 27

29%

42%

P<0.001

M.B.I. DP

6 (2,11)

6 (1,11)

n.s.

M.B.I. PA

36 (29,41)

37 (32,41)

P<0.001

A1

5 (3,7)

6 (4,8)

P<0.001

A2

6 (3,8)

5 (2,7)

P<0.001

A3

4 (2,6)

4 (2,6)

n.s.

A4

4 (2,6)

7 (5,9)

P<0.001

A5

5 (2,7)

7 (4,9)

P<0.001

A6

3 (1,5)

5 (3,7)

P<0.001

A7

5 (2,7)

5 (2,8)

P<0.05

Table 2

 

ICU

GMU

 

Beds/unit

8

35

P<0.001

Admissions/year

352

1291

P<0.001

Nurses/unit

19

15

P<0.001

Physicians/unit

12

7

P<0.001

Age

32

30

P<0.001

Hours/week

36

37

n.s.

Nights/month

6

5

P<0.005

Patients/nurse

2

29

P<0.001

Authors’ Affiliations

(1)
1st.. di Anestesia e Rianimazione, Università degli Studi, Osp. Maggiore di Milano-IRCCS, Italy
(2)
Dip. di Scienze Cliniche e Biologiche, Università dell'Insubria, Varese, Italy
(3)
Ospedale Civico di Lugano, Switzerland

Copyright

© Current Science Ltd 2000

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