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Arch Hellen Med, 37(6), November-December 2019, 771-778


Alcohol, smoking and stress among nurses

V. Karantzia, M. Saridi, A. Toska, K. Souliotis
Department of Social and Educational Policy, University of the Peloponnese, Corinth, Greece

OBJECTIVE Investigation of the frequency of alcohol consumption, the degree of smoking dependence of nurses and the stress of their daily working life.

METHOD The research sample consisted of 129 registered nurses and nursing assistants working in "G. Gennimatas" General Hospital of Athens and the General Hospital of Corinth. The participants completed the AUDIT scale, which provides data on alcohol consumption, the Fagerström scale, which measures smoking addiction, and the Expanded Nursing Stress Scale, which records levels of occupational stress.

RESULTS Of the 129 participants, 82.9% were women and 17.1% were men. Their mean age was 43.5 years and their average work experience 19.2 years. Regarding alcohol consumption, 45% of the nurses reported drinking alcohol at least once a month, but in general 99% reported drinking less than the margin of safety (Mean AUDIT=1.84), and the men were more likely to consume alcohol (3.1 vs 1.6). The sample included 56 smokers (43%), of which 37.5% reported smoking 16–25 cigarettes/day. Overall, 37% were non-smokers or less addicted and the 26.8% were very addicted to nicotine. Furthermore, heavy smoking was more prevalent at the General Hospital of Corinth (6.35 vs 4.78). Regarding stress in the workplace, 41% of nurses characterized "performing procedures that patients experience as painful" as being "very stessful". Other stressful experiences were "unpredictable staffing and schedule" (41.1%), and "not enough time to complete all of the nursing tasks" (43.4%), while "dealing with violent patients" and "dealing with abusive patients" were characterized as "extremely stressful". Women appear to be more vulnerable to stress in the workplace than men (23.35 vs 19.86). No significant difference was found between the sex of the participants regarding "workplace discrimination" (4.49 vs 3.14) or "problems with peers" (11.08 vs 11.27).

CONCLUSIONS In order to avoid the consequences of unhealthy habits on nurses, it is highly recommended that nurses receive support from society and from their family environment, and specialized counseling should be provided when needed. The people who provide citizens with health care services need to maintain and improve their health by every possible means, in order to be capable of doing their job properly, and with no detriment to themselves.

Key words: Alcohol, Job stress, Nursing staff, Smoking.

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