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Handbook of Stress in the Occupations

Edited by Janice Langan-Fox and Cary Cooper

The Handbook of Stress in the Occupations sets a new agenda for stress research and gives fresh impetus to scholars who wish to focus on issues and problems associated with specific jobs, some of which have received little attention in the past.
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Chapter 2: Occupational Stress in the Remote Area Nursing Profession

Tessa Opie, Sue Lenthall and Maureen F. Dollard


Tessa Opie, Sue Lenthall and Maureen F. Dollard International reviews have demonstrated high levels of occupational stress in various health and community service professions, including nursing (Bakker et al., 2000; Dollard et al., 2007; Michie & Williams, 2003). Indeed, stress in nursing has been an area of considerable interest and research for almost half a century (Menzies, 1960). Decades of research document a multitude of workplace stressors and their impact on various outcomes measures, such as productivity, quality of patient care and worker health and well-being. There is some evidence that nurses, relative to other health professionals and human service workers, experience higher levels of occupational stress (Bakker et al., 2000). Nurses also report higher levels of occupational stress in comparison to other professional groups across the board (Chan et al., 2000). It must be noted, however, that the majority of nursing-stress research has been conducted in hospital-based settings. Comparatively few studies have been performed in community-based settings, and fewer still in a very remote health care context. Only recently is remote health receiving recognition as its own independent and clinically distinct area of practice. According to a comprehensive definition provided by Wakerman (2004, p. 210), remote health is an emerging discipline with distinct sociological, historical and practice characteristics. Its practice in Australia is characterised by geographical, professional and, often, social isolation of practitioners; a strong multidisciplinary approach; overlapping and changing roles of team members; a relatively high degree of GP substation; and practitioners requiring public health, emergency and extended clinical...

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