Mental health nurses' and allied health professionals' perceptions of the role of the Occupational Health Service in the management of work-related stress: how do they self-care?
Gibb, J.; Cameron, I.M.; Hamilton, R.; Murphy, E.; Naji, S.
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 17(9): 838-845
ISSN/ISBN: 1365-2850 PMID: 21040230 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2010.01599.x
Higher rates of stress-related sickness are found in health care professionals when compared with other sectors. The annual direct cost of absence to the National Health Service is £1.7 billion. Increased clinical demand, long hours, low staffing and a lack of support from colleagues and management are contributing to absenteeism, somatic complaints and mental health problems. Mental health work is inherently stressful and levels of work stress experienced by mental health nurses are especially high. The study investigated mental health nurses' and allied health professionals' (AHPs) awareness and knowledge of the service provided by the Occupational Health Service (OHS) and identified work-related stress and self-care strategies within these two groups. Nurses and AHP staff employed in mental health services in a Scottish healthboard area were invited to complete an anonymous questionnaire. Results demonstrated that staff found their contact with the OHS to be a positive experience. They considered direct patient care to be less stressful than the organizational constraints they work under, and they reported a lack of support from both their peer groups and management. There should be recognition of the increased stress that hospital-based nurses and AHPs experience. These areas should be scrutinized and reviewed further to support staff within these environments in accordance with organizational objectives.