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RANs sound off on ways to reduce occupational stress

Nurses are often inadequately prepared for work in remote, isolated settings and stress levels can be high. To combat this, Australian researchers have developed a roadmap for occupational stress intervention that targets the key concerns of remote area nurses (RANs) and health centre managers.

An earlier study that forms part of the project found that RANs suffer high levels of occupational stress and emotional exhaustion. However, they also reported high levels of work engagement and moderate levels of job satisfaction. “The job demands most strongly associated with increased levels of occupational stress … were emotional demands, responsibilities and expectations, social issues, workload, staffing issues, poor management, isolation, safety concerns, violence, the remote context, culture shock, difficulties with equipment and infrastructure, and lack of support,” the team said in a paper on the second part of the research.

Following this study, the research team held workgroups with RANs and health centre managers to find out what interventions for occupational stress they felt were needed.

Four common themes emerged. They were remote context and the resulting emotional demands, workload and scope of practice, poor management, and violence and safety concerns.

Nursing Review sat down with Flinders University associate professor Sue Lenthall to discuss the changes that need to be implemented across remote health centres to start to reduce occupational stress and improve RAN safety.

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