Occupational stressors in diagnostic radiographers working in public health facilities in the eThekwini district of KwaZulu-Natal
Gam, Nkululeko Phalson
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Introduction Occupational stress has negative effects on both the organisation and individuals employed by the organisation. In the organisation it can result in high levels of absenteeism, reduced productivity and compromised levels of patient care. Furthermore individuals affected by stress may suffer from raised levels of tension, mental fatigue, insufficient sleep, anxiety, and anger. Interventions to prevent both organisational and individual effects of occupational stress may only be implemented once stressors in an occupa-tional group have been identified hence the need for the current study. Purpose The purpose of the study was to investigate occupational stress in diagnostic radiographers working in public healthcare institutions in the eThekwini District of KwaZulu-Natal using a quantitative research approach. Method A cross sectional survey using a validated questionnaire with some open and closed-ended questions was utilised. Radiographers working in public hospitals in the eThekwini District of KwaZulu-Natal were invited to parti-cipate in the study. Respondents were asked to answer 60 closed ended and four open ended questions. Open ended questions afforded the respondents an opportunity to express their opinions. Quantitative data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21.0. Inferential statistics included the use of reliability coefficients, correlations and chi square test at a 95% confidence level. Open ended questions were analysed using thematic analysis. Results One hundred and one questionnaires were administered and forty three were returned which resulted in a 43% response rate. The mean age of respondents was 31.7 years and 88.4% were females. The majority (67.4%) were in possession of a National Diploma in Radiography. Seventy two percent worked in regional hospitals. The majority (41.8%) were employed as chief radiographers. Most radiographers affected by stressors were those working in regional hospitals. The three main sources of stress in order of response were workload, faulty equipment and staff shortages. In addition, bullying, long and strenuous shifts as well as training of students were also found to be stressors. Physical exercises, counselling and wellness days were used to reduce stress whilst employment of more staff, attending to faulty equipment, team building, reducing workload, and improved working conditions were suggested as methods of reducing stress amongst radiographers. Conclusion Radiographers working in the eThekwini District were stressed by a number of factors in their work places. Radiographers suggested ways that can be employed to reduce stress in their departments. A close cooperation between radiographers; radiography supervisors; institutional, district and provincial managers is recommended in order to address the challenges faced by radiographers.