Predictors of self-assessed physical and mental health of Icelandic nurses: results from a national survey.Int J Nurs Stud. 2008 Oct; 45(10):1479-89.IJ
Recent health care organizational changes have been associated with stress and musculoskeletal disorders in nurses. However, studies are lacking on what factors are the most important predictors of poor self-assessed health among nurses.
To describe and identify the self-assessed predictors of physical and mental health of nurses.
PARTICIPANTS AND DESIGN
A cross-sectional design was used with a sample of 394 nurses, drawn from the registry of the Icelandic Nurses' Association, representing 17% of the workforce of Icelandic nurses.
Data were collected with a self-administered questionnaire, addressing symptoms, illness and treatment, lifestyle and sleep, work and working environment, family and quality of family life. Data were analysed according to nurses' assessment of their physical and mental health (very good/good; poor/very poor) by use of analysis of variance, chi-square and stepwise multiple linear regression.
21.7% of participants assessed their physical health as poor or very poor and 14.3% assessed their mental health as such. Those who assess their physical or mental health poor/very poor, as compared to the others, reported more symptoms in general, less regular exercise, as well as more use of medication, more visits to physicians, trouble with sleeping, conflicts between work and family life, work absence, and they experience their work as more strenuous. Experiencing symptoms is an important predictor of both physical and mental health of nurses.
Various factors, including work-, family- and socio-cultural environment, play a role in how nurses assesses their health. During our present time of nurse shortage it is imperative that the authorities take special measures in order to improve the work environment of nurses.