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Study shines light on urinary incontinence among nurses, midwives

It's still seen as a taboo topic, even among some health professionals, but recent research has revealed there is a high prevalence of urinary incontinence (UI) among female nurses and midwives and it may affect their intention to leave their current job.

Published in Neurourology and Urodynamics, the study explored the prevalence and severity of UI among females in both professions and the relationship between UI and work.

Of the female nurses and midwives who answered the survey question on urine leakage, just under a third indicated they had UI. Of these women, 40.5 per cent experienced moderate and 4.4 per cent severe or very severe symptoms.

The study said those with severe or very severe UI were more likely to indicate an intention to leave their job at 12 months than those with slight or moderate symptoms, even after accounting for factors such as age, work contract, shift allocations and job satisfaction.

Aged Care Insite sat down with lead author Heather Pierce, a PhD student at the University of Technology Sydney, to find out whether these findings are unique to the nursing and midwifery professions and why UI impacts decisions surrounding work.

Pierce is a PhD student at the University of Technology Sydney with supervisors professor Lin Perry from Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick and professor Robyn Gallagher from the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney.

Those seeking support or information on incontinence can contact the Continence Foundation's free helpline on 1800 33 00 66.

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