eISSN: 1731-2531
ISSN: 1642-5758
Anaesthesiology Intensive Therapy
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5/2019
vol. 51
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Level of stress and strategies used to cope with stress by physicians working in intensive care units

Katarzyna Białek
1
,
Marcin Sadowski
1

1.
Institute of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland
Anaesthesiol Intensive Ther 2019; 51, 5: 361–369
Online publish date: 2019/12/08
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Background
The physicians of intensive care units (ICUs) encounter patients who are critically ill and have severe injuries and require life-saving interventions. Working in such a stressful environment may be highly stressful. A high level of stress among intensive care units’ staff is commonly reported. The aim of this study was to explore doctors’ perceptions of their stress and identify the coping processes associated with this task.

Methods
A total of 89 physicians of various specialties working in ICUs were included. For evaluation of coping with stress the Inventory to Measure Coping Strategies with Stress (Mini-COPE) was used together with the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) to assess the stress level.

Results
In 46 respondents (51.7%) a high level of stress was identified. Women were under a higher level of stress than men (P = 0.011). Adaptive stress-coping strategies were more frequently used than maladaptive stress-coping strategies. Planning, active coping and seeking support were the most frequently reported stress-coping strategies while denial, turning to religion, suppression of activities and psychoactive substance use were the least frequently reported stress-coping strategies. Females used both adaptive and maladaptive stress-coping strategies more frequently than males (P > 0.05).

Conclusions
Approximately a half of surveyed physicians presented symptoms of a high level of stress, which indicates that it is a very important problem. Further investigations of stress and coping strategies among ICU physicians are necessary.

keywords:

stress, intensive care unit, stress coping, anesthesiology

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