Levels of occupational stress in the remote area nursing workforce

T Opie, Maureen Dollard, Suzanne Lenthall, John Wakerman, Sandra Dunn, Sabina Knight, Martha MacLeod

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    50 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To identify key workplace demands and resources for nurses working in very remote Australia and measure levels of occupational stress in this population. Methods: The study used a cross-sectional design, utilising a structured questionnaire. Setting: Health centres in very remote Australia. Results: Nurses working in very remote Australia experience significantly higher levels of psychological distress and emotional exhaustion, compared with other professional populations. Paradoxically, results also highlight higher than average levels of work engagement. Nurses working in very remote regions in Australia further report moderate levels of job satisfaction. Most significant job demands identified were emotional demands, staffing issues, workload, responsibilities and expectations, and social issues. Key job resources included supervision, opportunities for professional development, and skill development and application. Conclusion: In a context of high stress, high levels of work engagement and moderate levels of job satisfaction do not obviate high workforce turnover for this population. There is a need to reduce job demands and increase job resources in order to foster long-term work engagement and reduced emotional exhaustion. This might subsequently decrease remote area nursing workforce turnover.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)235-241
    Number of pages7
    JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


    • Job demands-resources model
    • Occupational stress
    • Remote area nursing


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