Stress and smoking among trainee nurses : A multidisciplinary approach
The prevalence of smoking among trainee nurses and the
role that occupational stress may have in acquiring or maintaining
the habit continues to attract keen interest among
This multidisciplinary study has attempted to elucidate several
obscure and unresolved issues emanating from earlier Investigations.
The results from this study were acquired from two complementary
investigations. One, a cross-sectional national
questionnaire survey examined smoking and stress in the
nursing profession and sampled 35,825 nurses of all grades.
The other consisted of an 18 month longitudinal investigation
into stress and smoking among trainee nurses. In the longitudinal
study twenty female trainees, half just commencing
and the remainder midway through their training were recruited
as subjects from one district nurse training school.
Psychometric and subjective questionnaires, ambulatory electrocardiographic
recordings and biochemical specimens were
systematically gathered from each subject while allocated
to various specialities.
This study has demonstrated that there is strong evidence
to suggest that the incidence of smoking among nurses increasedor if already smoking the number of cigarettes consumed
increased significantly during their training period.
There was no evidence that trainee nurses had personality
or psychological characteristics which were any different
from the general female population, neither was there evidence
that smoking nurses could be distinguished by personality
or psychological traits from non-smoking colleagues.
The results suggested that trainee
happy, stimulated and satisfied wit
indeed apart from geriatrics, no
as particularly stressful.
nurses were generally
h their nursing duties;
speciality was perceived
Primary sources of stress, cited by trained and trainee nurses,
tended to originate from factors supplemental to actual nursing
duties; for example, examinations, heavy workloads and
unharmonious working relationships - stressors which are
certainly not unique to the nursing profession.
Psychiatry had the highest proportion of smokers, with casualty
and geriatrics second and third highest but with numbers
much lower. The lowest proportion of smokers, at half the
rate of psychiatry, was found among nurses employed in
the community. As psychiatry, casualty and geriatrics were
not considered stressful, the possibility that different areas
of nursing impose different stresses which is reflected bythe incidence of smoking was not demonstrated.
Evidence indicated that it is not appropriate to employ biochemical
or physiological techniques to measure stress in
situations where it is not possible to adequately control
the individual or the environment