Background: Few, if any, studies have compared the health issues of nurses working in different hospital settings. The objective of this study was to compare the health status and work-related health hazards among nurses working in different hospital units in Taiwan.
Methods: This study was a cross-sectional survey. The study participants were 21,095 full-time employees with a professional background in nursing, working at 100 hospitals across Taiwan. The study participants responded to a structured questionnaire from May to July, 2011.
Results: After adjustment for age, sex, educational level, accredited hospital level, and certification as a health promoting hospital, nurses who worked in administration and in outpatient clinics reported better overall health than nurses who worked in operating rooms/delivery rooms, and these nurses reported better overall health than nurses who worked in emergency rooms/intensive care units and general wards. Depressed mood followed the same trend. Nurses who worked in the operating rooms/delivery rooms, wards, and emergency rooms/intensive care units were at higher risk for occupational incidents than nurses who worked in outpatient clinics and administration. The most prevalent health hazards among nurses were low back pain, sprained/strained muscles, cuts, and verbal or sexual harassment/violence.
Conclusions: Nurses who worked in emergency rooms/intensive care units and in wards had worse health and more depressed moods than nurses in other hospital units. Work-related health hazards were common and varied among nurses working in different hospital units. Worksite-based health promotion programs should take these differences into consideration to tailor wellness programs for nurses working in different hospital settings.
Keywords: Depression; Health promotion; Hospitals; Nurses; Nursing administration; Occupational health.
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