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Scand J Work Environ Health 2021;47(5):404-407    pdf full text

doi:10.5271/sjweh.3962 | Published online: 30 Apr 2021, Issue date: 01 Jul 2021

Intensive longitudinal study of newly graduated nurses’ quick returns and self-rated stress

by Dahlgren A, Tucker P, Bujacz A, Frögéli E, Rudman A, Gustavsson P

Objective Little is known about the relationship between quick returns (QR) – shift combinations that result in inter-shift rest periods <11 hours) and stress. The current study examined whether variations in the frequency of QR, both between and within individuals, were associated with changes in self-rated stress.

Methods A questionnaire was sent weekly to newly graduated nurses during the first 12 weeks of work. Stress was measured with four items from the Stress-Energy Questionnaire on a scale from 1 “not at all” to 5 “very much” [mean 2.65, standard deviation (SD) 1.08]. Shifts worked in the past week were reported and QR were identified by evening-morning shift combinations (mean 0.98, SD 0.90 per week). In total, 350 persons were included in the analysis (3556 observations). Data were analyzed with a multilevel residual dynamic structural equation model (RDSEM) using Bayesian estimation procedures.

Results There was no between-person effect of QR on stress averaged across measurement occasions (0.181, 95% CI -0.060–0.415). However, there was a small within-person effect of QR (0.031, 95% CI 0.001–0.062), meaning that more QR during a given week, compared to that person’s average, was associated with an increase in their level of stress during that week.

Conclusions Nurses were likely to report increased stress during weeks in which they worked more QR. Intervention studies are needed to determine whether the relationship is causal.

This article refers to the following text of the Journal: 2019;45(2):166-173