Stress-promoting and stress-relieving factors among nurses in rural India: a case study

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Work-related stress among healthcare personnel has already been investigated in detail in the western setting. However, community health work in India differs in its content from that in western countries. The purpose of this study was to characterise stress-related factors, both causative and alleviating, among healthcare workers in the College of Nursing Community Health (CONCH) project in Tamil Nadu, India. An ethnographic approach was employed, consisting of observation, interviews and available documentation related to the CONCH project. The study participants were women, and included 7 nurses and 2 nursing supervisors. Data were gathered over a period of 3 months in 2003. Causes of stress among healthcare workers included communication problems, environmental factors and a large workload. Prominent among the stress-relieving factors were support from friends, family and colleagues, supervisor–nurse interaction and a Christian outlook. Stress-related fear experienced by workers hindered innovation and weakened their opportunity to further develop healthcare. Challenging work environments, varying work descriptions and unclear boundaries between working hours and free time all contributed to a decline in motivation and to fatigue. The identification of stress-related factors could play an important role in the facilitation of appropriate interventions. The results of this study suggest that wider studies employing, for example, quantitative methods may provide useful information.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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