Thinkstock
stressed nurse taking break

Nurses: Are the Caregivers Taking Care of Themselves?

Sept. 18, 2017
A majority of America’s nurses admit they are stressed out, consuming too much junk food and getting too little sleep, says a Ball State University study.

A recent study of 120 Midwest nurses has found that the majority had poor health habits, which many of them attributed to high stress levels.

"The Impact of Perceived Stress and Coping Adequacy on the Health of Nurses: A Pilot Investigation," published in the online journal Nursing Research and Practice, found that nurses with high stress and poor coping had difficulty with patients, working in teams, communicating with co-workers and performing their jobs efficiently.

“This study reveals stress takes a toll on nurses’ health and they need better ways to handle it,” said Jagdish Khubchandani, a Ball State health science professor who was part of a multi-university team that examined how nurses cope with stress. “Nurses need to improve their lifestyles and health behaviors, take advantage of all health benefits available to them and learn to manage stress and conflicts at the workplace.”

The study found that 92 percent of the nurses admitted they had moderate-to-very high stress levels and 78 percent said they slept less than eight hours per night. Some  69 percent did not exercise regularly and didn’t eat properly, with 63 percent admitting they consumed fewer than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Most alarming, 22 percent of the nurses surveyed were classified as binge drinkers.

The study found that when confronted with workplace stress, 70 percent of nurses reported that they consumed more junk food and 63 percent said that they used food as a coping mechanism. The nurses in the “high stress/poor coping” group had the poorest health outcomes and highest health risk behaviors compared to those in other groups, researchers also found. 

“Management has a big role to play in providing health promotion services and employee assistance programs to help deal with stress-related poor health behaviors, such as addiction,” Khubchandani said.  “What I find severely lacking is the understanding of burnout in nurses, its prevalence and its long-term impact on the nursing workforce of any facility.

Management needs to invest in assessing and addressing these issues, said Khubchandani, adding, “In the long term, employers can save costs if their nurses remain fit and perform to the best of their abilities.”

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!