By Brian Hamilton
Stress is something that people will have to deal with at some point during their lives. Some people are fortunate enough to not have to deal with too much stress during their daily life, but when your job involves taking care of injured and sickly patients it is basically a requirement.
When it comes to our health, the first profession that may come to mind are doctors. They are the first people that get called when someone is not feeling well or becomes ill and a doctor is the first person someone wants to see after being rushed to an emergency room.
While doctors are the ones that people usually associate with healthcare nurses also play a very important role in the treatment and recovery of patients that are assigned to their care. Monster.com a job search engine, lists job requirement for nurses. The list includes developing a personal rapport with patients in order to understand care requirements, provide emotional, psychological and spiritual support to the patients family and friends, attending to patient’s problems and needs by utilizing team strategies and protect patients and other employees by adhering to infection-control policies, medication administration and storage procedures and controlled substance regulations. Given all of these requirements and the fact that nurses have to do this per patient, a nurse’s work load and stress level can be put into better perspective.
In 2012 a report was written by Vedran Djido, Redzo Causevic, Aida Ramic-Catak, Gordana Manic that looked into the causes and differences in stress experienced between doctors, nurses and medical technicians that were employed in the Bureau of Emergency Medical of Canton Sarajevo.
The authors of the report researched 115 doctors, nurses and medical technicians. Health care workers received a questionnaire consisted of 37 questions pertaining about stress experiences on the job.
According to the data compiled by the research the ten biggest stressors for the nurses working at that faculty were the unrealistic expectations of the clients and/or their family members, wrongly informed clients, fear of infection, informing family members about the death of their relatives and lawsuit threats.
Unrealistic expectations were the number one stressor for the nurses because they spend the most time with the patients, from the time they are admitted to when they are released.
A report by Greta G. Cummings evaluated the relationship between nursing leadership and nurse job satisfaction in Canada shows that nurses’ fear of infection may not just be paranoia. According to the report, “More than 8% of the nursing workforce is absent each week due to illness.” The report also noted that many Canadian nurses retire early and cite stressful working conditions as well as a lack of teamwork as their primary reasons.
One person who has experienced some of the stress that a nurse working at a hospital faces first hand is a woman by the name of Altia Hamilton. She worked at Mount Sinai Hospital and Lenox Hill Hospital and New York Presbyterian during the 90s. She like many nurses that enter the profession chose to do so because she really enjoys helping people and offering her services to those in need. When asked if there was anything that she had been concerned about the profession before entering it she replied, “Yes because back in the nineties if you accidently got stuck with a needle you could potentially get HIV or pick up some sort of bug, especially if you worked in certain institutions you could pick up something. I actually picked up a real nasty flu like virus in ’98 while working at Lenox Hill that had me ill for about a week.” She also mentioned that working as a nurse requires a lot of mental will since you sometimes have to witness young people dying of different diseases as well as elderly patients passing.
Another person who was had quite a bit of experience nursing is a woman by the name of Una Morgan. She worked at St Luke’s Hospital and was very passionate about the work that she did. She said, “The most fulfilling part was being able to identify symptoms that a doctor may have overlooked on a patient, there was this one time where I was taking care of a white lady and noticed that her toes were a bit purple, which could be a problem for somebody with diabetes and pointed it out to her doctor who admitted that she hadn’t even noticed it.” She also mentioned, “The job can be very exhausting at times, all of the running around, dealing with different patients and in some cases difficult family members, sometimes I wonder how I make it through the day.”
Almost all jobs cause their employees some sort of stress but nursing in particular seems to be more stressful than many other jobs due to the amount of work required, the potential health risk and the level of commitment one has to give. Anyone who considers entering the field should make a note of stress at work before they fully commit. Ian Kane, who was has been in and out of Kings County Hospital recently due to his father’s diabetes, may have stated it best when he said, “Yeah most of them [nurses] look very stressed, but they should’ve known it was going to be like that from the start. I just hope they can put that to the side and take care of who they need to take care of the best they can.”