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Mental Well-being of Doctors and Nurses in Two Hospitals in Kingston, Jamaica



Hospital work involves some of the most stressful situations found in any workplace. Furthermore, hospital workers may be affected by non-work-related stress such as family responsibilities and financial difficulties, leading to impaired mental well-being and suboptimal performance. The aim of this study was to assess the level of general mental well-being among doctors and nurses from two hospitals in Kingston, Jamaica. A total of 212 doctors and nurses at the Kingston Public Hospital and the University Hospital of the West Indies were studied yielding a participation rate of 83.1%. A selfadministered questionnaire was used to gather social and biomedical data and the General Health Questionnaire 30 (GHQ 30) used to determine general mental well-being. Probable caseness was defined as a GHQ 30 score > 5. Focus group discussions were also held with staff at both hospitals. A total of 27.4% of the study population met the GHQ-30 criteria (caseness) defining them as probable cases of mental distress. Cases and non-cases were not different in age, gender or hospital of employment.
However, caseness was associated with years of professional experience, work-related and nonwork-related stress, serious financial difficulties and fears of coming to work. Significant predictors of increased risk of caseness were fear of coming to work (OR 3.06; CI 1.40, 6.70); professional experience in excess of five-years and high non-work-related stress. High work-related stress was associated with reduced risk of being classified a case, suggesting that work may have been therapeutic. Focus group discussions suggested that non-work stress was related to financial difficulties, commuting and child care, especially among nurses. Intervention to improve general mental well-being should be targeted at new employees and should address child care, commuting and financial management.

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e-Published: 10 Jun, 2013
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