May 20, 2010 | | Comments 0
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Stressed out nurses are more likely to have heart attacks

The New York Times recently blogged about studies regarding the ill effects of workplace stress. However, when reading the article, one particular statistic caught my attention: Nurses struggling with excessive work pressure have DOUBLE the risk for a heart attack.

This statistic comes from a study conducted by Danish researchers (the full study can be found here) and was conducted over a 15-year period. In addition to this finding, a British study tracked 6,000 workers for 11 years and found those regularly working more than 10 hours per day had a 60% higher risk for heart disease than those who only worked seven hours daily.

Both these thoughts are frightening, as most nurses work more than seven hours per day, and can be even more prone to have a heart attack!

In addition to this finding, The Times also discusses the normal culprits for stress–long hours, bad bosses, office bullies–but also identifies some surprising ones.

One particular area of interest in workplace health is “destructive leadership.” This pertains to the role supervisors play in the psychological health of their employees.

“If I’m consulting in an organization and there are morale problems, the first thing I would look at is the relationship with leaders,” Robert R. Sinclair, an associate professor of psychology at Clemson University, told the Times. “One of the findings we can be pretty confident in is that people who have more support from supervisors tend to do better in stressful situations.”

What are your thoughts about this? Do you think having bad leadership can add stress to an already stressful job? How do you encourage staff to handle stress?

Source: The New York Times

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Sarah Kearns About the Author: Sarah is an Editorial Assistant in the patient safety group at HCPro, Inc. She contributes to two monthly newsletters; Briefings on the Joint Commission and Briefings on Patient Safety, and manages four e-zines; Accreditation Connection, AHAP Staff Challenge, Nurse Manager Weekly, and Healthcare Training Weekly. She also helps research new products for the patient safety and nursing market. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2008 where she earned her bachelor's degree in English.

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