Background Numerous studies have indicated that nurses in many countries face stressful work conditions. However, few studies have examined to what extent psychosocial work conditions and stress-related health outcomes as well as their associations in nurses might differ from that in the general working people with similar demographic and socioeconomic background. In this study, we compared a selected number of psychosocial work conditions in nurses and general employees with similar demographic and socioeconomic background. In addition, the associations of psychosocial work conditions with health status and job satisfaction were examined separately in nurses and in the general employees.
Methods Study subjects were 453 female nurses from a cross-sectional survey. A comparison group of 2,265 female employees were drawn from a representative survey of general employees, matched to the nurse group on age and educational level. Information on psychosocial work conditions, work-related burnout, self-rated health and job satisfaction were assessed by a standardised questionnaire.
Results As compared to general employees, nurses were more likely to have working hours longer than >48 hours per week (39.3% vs 7.7%), irregular work shift (58.0% vs 10.7%), higher levels of both psychosocial and physical job demands, lower levels of workplace justice, and higher prevalence of workplace violence. Nurses also reported significantly higher levels of work-related burnout, poor self-rated health and job dissatisfaction. Multivariate regression analyses indicated that high psychological job demands and low workplace justice were the major predictors for poor health and job dissatisfaction in both nurses and general employees.
Conclusions Nurses in Taiwan reported alarmingly high levels of adverse psychosocial work conditions, work-related burnout and job dissatisfaction. Efforts should be made to improve the working environments in order to retain a healthy nursing workforce.
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