Nurses and midwives in north Australia: a survey of their long-term conditions and how they manage them

Smyth, Wendy, Lindsay, David, Holmes, Colin, and Gardner, Anne (2015) Nurses and midwives in north Australia: a survey of their long-term conditions and how they manage them. Annals of the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine, 17 (1). p. 12.

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Background/Aims: Although nurses and midwives are ageing, are in short supply, and they comprise the largest proportion of the health workforce, very little is known about how they manage any personal long-term conditions. This study aimed to identify the types and impacts of reported long-term conditions, and to identify strategies used to self-manage these conditions.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey design was used. All nurses and midwives employed by the Health Service were sent a paper-based questionnaire, comprising six sections; 665 (30.9%) completed surveys were returned. The questionnaires were anonymous, and took no more than 25 minutes to complete; less if the nurse/midwife reported no long-term conditions.

Results: Approximately two-thirds (n=401) reported having at least one long-term condition; musculoskeletal conditions were most frequently identified. More experienced nurses/midwives reported having more than one long-term condition. More than one quarter (n=107) identified conditions relating to mental health and wellbeing. Respondents were more likely to use personal than workplace-related strategies for managing their long-term conditions.

Conclusion: Although this is a non-representative sample, it is evident that nurses and midwives struggle with their own long-term conditions. The lower uptake of employer-provided strategies needs to be examined to minimise the loss of nurses and midwives from the workforce. This study has informed a similar study being undertaken with doctors and health practitioners in the Health Service; a larger cohort study involving nurses and midwives across metropolitan, rural and remote areas is recommended.

Item ID: 40876
Item Type: Article (Abstract)
ISSN: 1448-4706
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Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2015 03:00
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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