Fatigue, stress and physical activity in Polish nurses: interrelation and selected determinants

Authors: Patrycja Janik, Andrzej Knapik, Jerzy Rottermund, Agnieszka Gabrylewska

Published online:  19 May 2020

Abstract: Nowadays, modern nursing imposes high requirements on new adepts. Huge workload, working shifts, responsibility, exposure to stressful situations and other threats are possible risk factors for adverse effects on the health and functioning of those practicing this profession. The study included 314 women practicing nursing. The mean age of the respondents was 37.22 years (SD = 11.63), whereas mean working experience was 14.59 years, with SD = 12.24. The research tool was the author’s questionnaire consisting of questions concerning fatigue and stress. Physical activity was assessed using the Baecke questionnaire (SEWL). No relation was found between age and working experience and indicators of fatigue, exhaustion, and stress. Compared to work in other places, working in a hospital requires more effort (p <0.01) and generates greater fatigue (p <0.001). The level of physical activity (HPAI) is low and its main component is physical exertion during work. Working different shifts causes more fatigue than in those working fixed hours (p <0.01), with greater effort indicating lower levels of physical activity (p <0.0001) and no feeling of rest after the night (p <0.05). Work as a nurse predisposes to disturbances in the natural circadian cycle, which in turn causes the appearance of chronic fatigue, concentration disorders, and sleep deprivation. This may have long-term effects in the form of burnout syndrome. The level of physical activity of Polish nurses is unsatisfactory.