There are some working in the medical field who thrive in the fast-paced, stressful environment. But constantly working long hours under varying levels of stress can have a cumulative effect on health care workers.
In fact, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine published findings from a 2007 research study. They discovered that nearly a quarter of nurses working in intensive care units (ICU), along with 14 percent of non-ICU nurses, exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Emergency rooms are particularly stressful working environments. Phones are ringing and alarms are going off in patient cubicles. The waiting rooms can get full to overflowing, sometimes leaving nurses and doctors without time to eat, drink or even go to the restroom.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in 2012 that nursing was a profession with one of the highest stress levels. They based their findings on research conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Staff cuts, stagnant wages and poorly organized facilities contribute to higher stress levels in nurses. One possible solution is to encourage open dialogues between the nurses working in the trenches and the administrators of the medical facilities. Nurses can offer valuable insight into workflows, patient care and the need for ongoing training to alleviate stress and navigate ethical nursing conundrums.
Stressed nurses are prone to making mistakes and are not able to devote their full attention to their patients. If you were in a hospital and experienced a negative outcome as a result of inadequate care by stressed-out nurses, you might have a legitimate cause of action to file a claim for damages.