BioMed Central Ltd.
School of Nursing and Midwifery / Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Services Research
Background: Nursing is an emotionally demanding profession and deficiencies in nurses' mental wellbeing, characterised by low vitality and common mental disorders, have been linked to low productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism. Part of a larger study of nurses' health, the aim of this paper was to describe the mental health status and related characteristics of nurses working in two acute metropolitan teaching hospitals. Methods: A cross sectional survey design was used. Results: A total of 1215 surveys were distributed with a usable response rate of 382 (31.4%). Altogether 53 nurses (14%) reported a history of mental health disorders, of which n=49 (13%) listed diagnoses of anxiety and/or depression; 22 (6%) were currently taking psychoactive medication. Symptoms that could potentially indicate a mental health issue were more common, with 248 (65.1%) reporting they had experienced symptoms sometimes or often in the last 12month. Conclusion: Nurses and their managers should strive to create workplaces where working practices promote nurses' health and wellbeing, or at least are configured to minimise deleterious effects; where both nurses and their managers are aware of the potential for negative effects on the mental health of the workforce; where cultures are such that this can be discussed openly without fear of stigma or denigration.
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