Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1995;21(1):24-29    pdf

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.4 | Issue date: Feb 1995

Mortality among Icelandic nurses

by Gunnarsdóttir H, Rafnsson V

Objective The goal of the study was to investigate the mortality pattern of female nurses in a retrospective cohort study with special focus on suicide.

Methods The mortality of nurses was compared with that of the general female population. The main outcome measure was the standardized mortality ratio (SMR). The participants were 2159 female nurses (ie, all registered nurses in Iceland between 1920--1979).

Results A long-lasting healthy worker effect was found in the cohort. A moderate excess of suicide was observed. A deficit was found for stomach cancer, ischemic heart disease, and respiratory disease. When the cohort was divided according to employment time, there was an excess of brain cancer among those with an employment time of less than 20 years, and all the suicides occurred in that group. The deficit of ischemic heart disease and respiratory disease was more pronounced in the group employed more than 20 years.

Conclusion It was concluded that nurses, primarily those with a long employment time, enjoy the benefits of their initial good health, but the moderate excess of suicide could be associated with stress and frustration, which the nurses relate to their work situation.