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Good care environment prevents stress?

Improvements in the care environment in adult psychiatry can have a positive effect on caring staff. This is shown in a new dissertation from Malmö University in Sweden.

Psychiatry has undergone major changes in the last couple of decades. Some have led to improvements in care, while others have had negative impacts in the form of staffing shortages, poor work environments, and deficiencies in caring for patients. Hanna Tuvesson, a nurse and researcher at Malmö University, worked in adult psychiatry before she started pursuing research.

On Friday she will publicly defend her dissertation titled Psychiatric nursing staff and the workplace: Perceptions of the ward atmosphere, psychosocial work environment, and stress. In her dissertation, Tuvesson examines the perceptions of caring staff regarding the workplace environment in closed psychiatric care. She also looks closely at the relationship between care and the work environment.

"The primary focus for closed psychiatric care is the patients and providing them with good care. But psychiatry is also a workplace for many people, which makes it important to examine working conditions there," says Tuvesson. Using six different questionnaires, she has studied the care environment and the work environment at twelve closed general psychiatry wards. "One important finding in my studies is that the care environment is an important aspect of how the caring staff experience their work environment. For example, if patients have too few activities, the risk of stress increases among the staff," says Tuvesson.

In the same way, the risk of increased conscience-based stress increases, not being able to do what you feel is right when levels of anger and aggressiveness are high. In her dissertation she shows that the care environment is intimately related to the work environment.

"An important lesson we can learn from this is that improvements in the care environment of patients can have a positive impact on the work environment of the staff, something that should be borne in mind when we make changes in care," says Tuvesson.

For further information, please contact Hanna Tuvesson at mobile phone: +46 730 - 47 07 38.

idw :: 26.05.2011