Health Science Journal

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Occupational Stress and its Management among Health Care Workers in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State

Amaka Ogba

Background: The concept of occupational stress and its causes have been downplayed in developing countries hence making their effect to be poorly understood even though it has been declared an endemic problem in the health sector. Statement of the problem: In spite of the available evidence, it seems that the creation of a safe and healthy work environment has not been high on the agenda of employers in the health sector especially in Nigeria. High patient load, burgeoning new diseases and viruses, poor working conditions are a few of the stressors faced by health care workers in the state. Materials and methods: Stratified random sampling and self-administered questionnaires were used to select 337 health care workers from different cadres and departments in the hospital. The data collected was analyzed using descriptive and inferential tools. Result: From this study it was identified by health care workers that inadequate staffing levels (82%), extremely long working hours (78.4%), absence of shift work (70.1%)and caring for difficult patients(69.1%) are the major stressors experienced by respondents in the study area. Various coping strategies were employed by different cadres of health care workers, Doctors and nurses come to work with a positive mindset, prioritize and focus on what’s important at work and with support from colleagues and family, they are able to manage their stress levels. Laboratory scientist have conditioned their minds into believeing that things will get better in time to come, Pharmacist ensure proper division of work and effective supervision, Administrative staff prioritize their work in order of importance while others take breaks to listen to music and chat with colleagues. Conclusion: The high prevalence of occupational stress in the study area has potentials of reducing the quality of services rendered in the hospital which can produce a domino effect if not checked.