Real-time assessment of nurse work environment and stress

J Healthc Qual. 2011 Jan-Feb;33(1):39-48. doi: 10.1111/j.1945-1474.2010.00093.x.


Ecological momentary assessment methods were used to examine real-time relationships between work environment factors and stress in a sample of 119 registered nurses (RNs) in acute and critical care settings of three hospitals. The RNs carried handheld computers for 1 week of work shifts and were randomly surveyed within 90-min intervals to self-report work activity, perceived workload, and stress. Mixed effects linear regression analyses were completed to predict the stress score in the sample. The number of patients assigned significantly predicted stress; the greater the number of assigned patients, the higher the reported stress (p<.01). Age, gender, adult versus pediatric facility type, familiarity with patients, and proportion of direct care tasks were not significant predictors of stress. Further research is needed to link work environment factors and stress with errors among nurses.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computers, Handheld
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload
  • Workplace*