Occupational stress in the Australian nursing workforce: A comparison between hospital-based nurses and nurses working in very remote communities

Tessa Opie, Sue Lenthall, John Wakerman, Maureen Dollard, Martha Macleod, Sabina Knight, G Rickard, Sandra Dunn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Objective to compare workplace conditions and levels of occupational stress in two samples of Australian nurses. Design The research adopted a cross-sectional design, using a structured questionnaire. Setting Health centres in very remote Australia and three major Australian hospitals. Subjects 349 nurses working in very remote Australia and 277 nurses working in three major hospitals in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Main Outcome Measures The main outcome measures were psychological distress (assessed using the General Health Questionnaire-12), emotional exhaustion (assessed using the Maslach Burnout Inventory), work engagement (assessed using the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale 9) and job satisfaction (assessed using a single item measure based on previous relevant research). Results Results revealed that nurses working in major Australian hospitals reported higher levels of psychological distress and emotional exhaustion than nurses working very remotely. However, both groups report relatively high levels of stress. Nurses working very remotely demonstrated higher levels of work engagement and job satisfaction. There are common job demands and resources associated with outcome measures for both nurses working very remotely and nurses working in major hospitals. Conclusion This research has implications for workplace interventions and the retention of staff in both hospitals and remote area health care facilities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)36-43
    Number of pages8
    JournalAustralian Journal of Advanced Nursing
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    Cite this