WINDHOEK – The heavy workload that nurses face has a negative impact on their health, including burnout which results in high levels of job stress and in the long run negatively affects how the public view nurses, a study by the University of Namibia (UNAM) found.
At the International Nurses Day’ event held at UNAM on Wednesday, psychology lecturer Wesley Pieters announced results of a recent study, titled ‘Improving general health and reducing burnout of nurses in Namibia’.
Pieters, who co-authored the report, said the study found that nurses suffer from anxiety and insomnia due to the high workload.
They worry so much on how they are going to execute their jobs and this leads to anxiety and insomnia, revealed Pieters.
As a result of burnout, some nurses find it difficult to interact effectively with their clients (patients) who in turn have a negative perception of these health workers.
Due to the immense pressure on nurses, some end up making mistakes because of the stress while others resort to
“taking selfies and updating profiles” during work hours.
“It impacts on health seeking behaviours,” added Pieters. In Namibia, nurses make up 80 per cent of the health workers, added Pieters.
“There is a high demand for nurses in Namibia and until we address the staff shortage, nurses will continue to experience burnout,” said Pieters, adding that the challenges that nurses face are predominantly part of the workload.
In addition, Pieters said due to the nature of their work, nurses are confronted with strenuous conditions such as the death of patients and people suffering immensely.
Equally, nurses experience happy memories such as the birth of a child. All of these have an impact on nurses, added Pieters.
The study recommends that nurses be provided with educational and stress management programmes to help them to cope with stress.
“Health is a human right. In order for nurses to help others they should look after their own health,” Pieters said. The event was attended by nursing students from UNAM and the International University of Management as well their lecturers.
Speakers who took to the podium reminded the nurses and student nurses to remain caring despite difficulties that they may encounter on the job.
Chaplain at UNAM, André Anthonissen told the student nurses to be the light. “Let us never forget that we are just servant. Serving is action. Nursing is not a business it is a mission. It is always a calling never a job,” Anthonissen told students. International Nurses Day is celebrated globally on 12 May. The national theme for this year’s celebrations is ‘Nurses: A voice to lead-health is a human right’. The student nurses also read poems and performed