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Gaceta Sanitaria

versión impresa ISSN 0213-9111


ESCRIBA-AGUIR, V.  y  BERNABE-MUNOZ, Y.. Job stress perceived by hospital medical staff. Gac Sanit [online]. 2002, vol.16, n.6, pp.487-496. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: To identify the psychosocial risk factors related to psychological demands perceived by specialist physicians from six public hospitals in the province of Valencia in Spain. Methods: A qualitative study was carried out. The population studied comprised the hospitals' specialist medical staff (Oncology, Internal Medicine, Traumatology, Radiology and Intensive Care). A trained interviewer performed 47 individual, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews. To select the participants, the following structural variables were taken into account: gender, age, family responsibilities, medical specialty, professional standing, length of service, and type of contract. Interviews were tape recorded and subsequently transcribed. Finally, the content of the interviews was analyzed. Results: The main psychosocial risk factors mentioned by the participants were workload and lack of staff, mainly due to the characteristics of work organization in the hospital. Another job stressor was daily contact with suffering and death, and feeling responsible for human life. Other significant job stressors were interpersonal relations in the work environment, in the case of patients' relatives, uncertainty about diagnosis and treatment, the possibility of being sued for malpractice, and communicating bad news. Conclusions: Hospital physicians report a large number of psychosocial risk factors. Some involve the characteristics of the medical profession (contact with suffering and death, responsibility for human life, uncertainty about diagnosis and treatment) and others concern work organization (workload and staffing shortages).

Palabras clave : Psychosocial risk factors; Specialist physicians; Hospital; Qualitative methodology.

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