Nurses make up 80% of Namibia’s healthcare workforce and are considered as the backbone of the industry. However, a study sanctioned by the University of Namibia found that due to the lack of other healthcare providers, nurses are exposed to high levels of job stress. The newly published 2020 research on improving general health and reducing burnout on nurses in Namibia has been undertaken by Pieters Wesley and Letisha Matheus from Unam.
The study investigated how job demands-resources and psychological capital impact the general health and burnout of nurses in Oshikoto, Kavango East, Oshana, Omaheke and Khomas regions.
The authors found that improving the work environment by balancing the relationship between job demands and resources would result in lower levels of burnout, improved healthcare services, improved employee performance and patient satisfaction.
Equally, the study investigated the perceptions of nurses within selected regions of Namibia to understand the relationship amongst these variables. The main findings include that emotional exhaustion was found to have a positive relationship with general health and workload. Social dysfunction and anxiety and insomnia were found to be significant predictors of cynicism. Further, anxiety and insomnia, workload and social dysfunction were found to be significant predictors of emotional exhaustion. The authors suggest the healthcare sector needs to invest in health education and stress management programmes for nurses on how to take care of their health and emotional wellbeing. “The impact of burnout may be dampened when employees are provided with the required job resources. General health and burnout levels of nurses are inter-related. The working conditions may negatively impact the burnout levels of nurses, which in turn affects the general health, depleting personal resources and exacerbating the effects of burnout,” the study found. Another recommendation is the need to provide training and development opportunities and coping strategies to increase nurses’ psychological capital, general health, skills and abilities. The authors believe the ground-breaking study in Namibia will pave the way for future research, regarding the health and wellbeing of health professionals, add to the already existing knowledge within industrial and organisational psychology and guide interventions to improve the health and wellbeing. They feel when sufficient job resources are available within the hospitals, it increases nurses’ motivation to stay engaged in their work and limit their intentions to leave by lessening the influence of job demands. It is suggested that adequate resources should be provided to reduce high workload, which in turn results in lowering the levels of anxiety, insomnia and social dysfunction. It was also found that the availability of job resources facilitates employees’ motivation to engage in work and reduces the level of burnout by lessening the impact of job demands. Meanwhile, the study concluded that employees who are required to execute a high workload are likely to experience poor health and ultimately experience burnout.
Demanding job… Nurses take an oath during a graduation ceremony.