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Packed hospitals depress nurses


Nurses working in wards packed to capacity are more likely to experience depression than colleagues in quieter hospitals, research has suggested.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that health professionals in crowded institutions were twice as likely to take sick leave for depression.

While the findings do not prove that overcrowding causes mental health problems, they do raise the possibility that heavy workloads may have an effect, lead researcher Dr. Marianna Virtanen, of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, said.

Virtanen and her colleagues correlated monthly bed-occupancy rates at 16 hospitals with sick leave data for their study, taking into account factors such as workers’ age and area of medical speciality.

Although the investigation did not look at the financial position or management structure of hospitals, she claimed working guidelines should be reviewed in light of the research.

“Good practice could be to keep the bed occupancy levels at a reasonable level,” said Virtanen.


Readers' comments (24)

  • No, really !

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  • Phil Dup

    Blimey who would have thought that...coming soon - new research shows 2+2 = 4.

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  • Where are these quiet hospitals then?!

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  • There's rocket science for you!!

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  • finished placement in acute ward- meant to be a 28 bed unit but amazingly has now become a 48 bed ward (have expanded into the old ward) staffing isn't expanded but get patients that are acutely ill and need HDU.
    Classic event just happened- AE and taken a room that is to be used for direct GP referrals so that they do not breach the 4hr time wait. Hospital save money. Odds are on that this stops getting funded and eventually becomes managed by one nurse,with really ill people.

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  • I think the names of the quiet hospitals should be posted on here so we can all be seconded there for respite by occupational health. :-)

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  • Like others have said, no **** sherlock!!!

    Why can't we use this and any of the other countless pieces of evidence to fight for better staffing levels?

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  • nursteph

    I do agree with Mike, this is another evidence of the need for nurse-to-patient ratio on every hospitals...


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  • Anyone looking for a quiet hospital try Telford. I went to their A&E escorting two lads who had been splashed in the eyes by a glowstick they were messing with. As an RN and with a RM with me as escort we were amazed to be kept no less than five - yes five hours waiting for treatment. There were two cases ahead of us when we arrived at 2200hrs on a weekday evening. There were no blue light emergencies received. There was however a number of fascinating conversations around a certain paramedic by the nurses who assumed they had the same soundproof curtains as Holby City.

    By the way, we were helpfully informed that the delay was because they were so busy.

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  • i can see why their putting more real why are people telling usprogrammes on and taking the soaps off why are people telling us things we experenced years ago tell us something like the goverment and agenda for change paying us for what work we are doing and revise our grades to the work we do as we have more work and train more get more stress but not payed for it?

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