Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Workplace health and safety issues among community nurses: a study regarding the impact on providing care to rural consumers
  1. Daniel Terry1,
  2. Quynh Lê2,
  3. Uyen Nguyen2,
  4. Ha Hoang2
  1. 1The Department of Rural Health, The University of Melbourne, Shepparton, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2The Centre for Rural Health, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniel Terry; d.terry{at}unimelb.edu.au

Abstract

Objectives The objective of the study was to investigate the types of workplace health and safety issues rural community nurses encounter and the impact these issues have on providing care to rural consumers.

Methods The study undertook a narrative inquiry underpinned by a phenomenological approach. Community nursing staff who worked exclusively in rural areas and employed in a permanent capacity were contacted among 13 of the 16 consenting healthcare services. All community nurses who expressed a desire to participate were interviewed. Data were collected using semistructured interviews with 15 community nurses in rural and remote communities. Thematic analysis was used to analyse interview data.

Results The role, function and structures of community nursing services varied greatly from site to site and were developed and centred on meeting the needs of individual communities. In addition, a number of workplace health and safety challenges were identified and were centred on the geographical, physical and organisational environment that community nurses work across. The workplace health and safety challenges within these environments included driving large distances between client’s homes and their office which lead to working in isolation for long periods and without adequate communication. In addition, other issues included encountering, managing and developing strategies to deal with poor client and carer behaviour; working within and negotiating working environments such as the poor condition of patient homes and clients smoking; navigating animals in the workplace; vertical and horizontal violence; and issues around workload, burnout and work-related stress.

Conclusions Many nurses achieved good outcomes to meet the needs of rural community health consumers. Managers were vital to ensure that service objectives were met. Despite the positive outcomes, many processes were considered unsafe by community nurses. It was identified that greater training and capacity building are required to meet the needs among all staff.

  • QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
  • HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION & MANAGEMENT

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.