Exposure to crises and resiliency of health care workers in Singapore

Occup Med (Lond). 2013 Mar;63(2):141-4. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqs202. Epub 2012 Dec 5.


Background: Health care workers are exposed to various work-related traumatic incidents and crises, so building emotional resiliency is important.

Aims: To examine exposure to work-related crises and resiliency of health care workers in public hospitals in Singapore.

Methods: We sent questionnaires to health care workers in seven public hospitals. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. We asked about mental health training and exposure to work-related and personal crises. We measured resiliency using a pilot 5-point Likert questionnaire reflecting resistance and resilience constructs.

Results: We received 496 responses, a response rate of 58%. More than 70% of hospital staff experienced aggression or violence from patients and relatives, and about a third experienced significant personal crises, most commonly interpersonal conflicts. Those with mental health training were twice as likely to be resistant (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.2-2.7) and resilient (OR = 1.9, 95% CI 1.3-2.7) and also more likely to have experienced sudden/unexpected patient deaths (OR = 2.7, 95% CI 1.9-4.0) and aggression or violence from patients and relatives (OR = 5.1, 95% CI 3.0-8.7).

Conclusions: Mental health training appears to improve individuals' perception of resistance and resilience. Hospitals should consider providing mental health and crisis intervention training to improve the emotional resiliency of health care workers.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Death, Sudden
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / education*
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Occupational Health
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Self Concept
  • Singapore
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace / psychology