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Work-related stress assessment in an emergency department in French Guiana

13 May 2021
15 min read
Volume 30 · Issue 9

Abstract

Background:

In emergency departments (EDs), the staff continually face stressful situations requiring staff to adopt various coping strategies.

Aims:

The study aimed to assess work-related stress in ED during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Method:

The study was a monocentric investigation based on a questionnaire survey that elicits general information and uses the Karasek model to analyse the data.

Findings:

A total of 117 forms were collected for analysis. The score for decision latitude (or autonomy and skills at work) was 70 (IQR: 64–74) and the score for psychological demand was 25 (IQR: 23-27). The score for social support by the management team was 11 (IQR: 9–12) and the score for social support by colleagues 12 (IQR: 10–12). Of the total number of respondents, job strain was assessed as affecting 24.8%.

Conclusion:

The study shows high levels of stress among the ED workforce. The findings indicate that it is imperative to develop simple management tools that are capable of measuring the internal causes of stress in order to develop an adapted wellness programme in ED.

Work-related stress is an issue that has a great impact on the ability of the healthcare workforce to deliver high-quality care (Basu et al, 2017). Staff in emergency departments (EDs) constantly face and have to deal with stressful situations which necessitate them adopting permanent coping strategies (Portero de la Cruz et al, 2020). Compared with staff in other departments, those working in ED are generally perceived as having a high level of autonomy, a strong sense of belonging, who are highly qualified, and equipped with good communications skills (Johnston et al, 2016). Work-related stress leads to anxiety, depression and burnout, with the result that staff who are constantly exposed to stress at work may develop a negative perception of their work. It is therefore important to continually monitor stress at work to prevent situations becoming untenable, with consequent adverse workplace effects, such as absence from work due to work-related stress, reduced productivity, and high staff turnover and attrition rates (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2014; Health and Safety Executive, 2020).

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