간호사는 업무를 수행하는 과정에서 많은 스트레스를 경험하는 것으로 알려져 있다. 간호사의 업무 스트레스는 열악한 근무조건, 과중한 업무량, 환자 및 보호자의 교육 수준 상승에 따른 질 높은 간호 요구, 교대 근무 등이 다른 분야에 비해 심각하기 때문이며, 더욱이 최근 국내에서는 급속한 의료기술의 발달, 각종 인증 평가제도 및 경쟁의 심화 등으로 인해 간호사가 경험하는 육체적, 정신적 부담이 가중되고 있다.
Purpose: The purpose of the study was to compare salivary cortisol levels, self-reported occupational stress, and anxiety before duty to those after duty in the shift and regular work nurses, and the relationships among them. Methods: Thirty nurses working in a tertiary hospital participated in the study. Salivary specimens were collected before and after daytime duty for 2 days. The occupational stress and state anxiety were also evaluated using self-report questionnaires. Results: The average level of salivary cortisol was 0.40 μg/dL before duty and 0.20 μg/dL after duty in Korean nurses. Overall levels of salivary cortisol, self-reported occupational stress, and anxiety were higher in shift working nurses than regular working nurses. In shift working nurses, the salivary cortisol gap between before and after duty was attenuated on the first day of daytime duty. Significant positive correlation was found between the level of cortisol before duty and anxiety after duty. Conclusion: Strategies to alleviate occupational stress and anxiety are needed for shift working nurses, especially for those with elevated levels of cortisol. It seems to require 3days to recover from attenuated cortisol rhythm during nighttime duty in shift working nurses.
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