Variation in stress levels in the nursing profession : a comparison between dementia and geriatric nurses

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Fegan, Aoife
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BA (Hons) in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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Background: Previous research has suggested a strong correlation between nurses’ occupational stress, and staff turnover (Hinshaw & Atwood, 1993) and suggested that Staff stress levels are affected by Occupational and resident characteristics. Objectives: The aim of this current study is to a) investigate whether there is a correlation between levels of stress and job satisfaction in nursing home staff providing care for patients with dementia and in nursing staff who care for the general ageing geriatric population in the nursing home, and b) to investigate associations between these variables, occupational and individual characteristics of staff. Method: A quantitative cross sectional research design was adopted, using a self-completion questionnaire survey of 42 nursing home staff members from Sancta Maria nursing home situated in Naas, Co. Kildare. Staff stress levels were measured using the Perceived Stress Scale and Job satisfaction was measured using the Job Satisfaction Survey. Results: The results show that nurses working with patients with dementia experienced significantly higher levels of stress than nurses working with a general ageing geriatric population but there were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of job satisfaction. Those working part time experienced higher levels of stress. Being more extraverted in personality and having the support of a significant other were protective factors. Conclusion: The results add support to the existing research findings that nurses working with patients with dementia experience more stress than those who work with a general ageing geriatric population in the nursing home setting. Staff were generally satisfied with work. Author keywords: Stress, job satisfaction, geriatric population, dementia care, nursing, staff turnover