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Health Status and Health Maintenance Practices among Doctors and Nurses at Two Hospitals in Jamaica



The health of doctors and nurses is of paramount importance because they must be well to perform their jobs optimally under difficult conditions. However, the challenge of their working environment and the culture of their professions often lead to physical and mental illnesses. Despite this, there are several barriers to doctors and nurses seeking healthcare. In this study, the health status and health maintenance practices of doctors and nurses at two hospitals in Kingston, Jamaica, were assessed. This population was previously reported to have a 27% prevalence of probable mental distress based on the General Health Questionnaire 30 (GHQ30). Two hundred and twelve doctors and nurses were recruite  into the study. The reported prevalence of chronic diseases was determined while mental health status was based on the GHQ30, reported signs and symptoms of stress and job satisfaction. Health maintenance practices studied included, health-seeking behaviour, willingness to seek counselling, reported source of emotional support and use of alcohol and tobacco as coping strategies. Although, less than 50% of study participants reported that they were satisfied with their job, the mean number of days missed from work in the “last six months” was less than two and a half days. The mean time for “last doctor’s visit” for nurses and doctors in the current study were 0.93 and 2.4 years, respectively. Females were more willing to seek medical attention than males. More than 50% reported signs and symptoms of stress and major sources of emotional support were friends (55.7%), followed by spouses (36.0%) and colleagues (12.3%). The prevalence of chronic diseases was less than1% and alcohol and tobacco did not appear to be major coping strategies. The population appeared to be physically healthy and despite the known prevalence of probable mental distress, doctors and nurses appeared unwilling to seek healthcare. Probable barriers to seeking healthcare included confidentiality issues and the need to appear healthy to colleagues, patients and the community.

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e-Published: 20 Sep, 2013
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