Environmental factors associated with fatigue of frontline nurses in the infectious disease nursing unit


This article was originally published here

Public health front. December 6, 2021; 9: 774553. doi: 10.3389 / fpubh.2021.774553. Electronic collection 2021.


Infectious Disease Nursing Unit (IDNU) workload is increasing dramatically due to COVID-19 and leading to a prevalence of fatigue among frontline nurses, threatening their health and safety. The built environment and design could fundamentally affect nurse fatigue from a long-term perspective. This article aims to extract the environmental factors of IDNU and explore nurses’ perceptions of these factors on work-related fatigue. This would produce evidence to alleviate fatigue from environmental interferons. A cross-sectional design was used by the combination of a focus group interview and a written survey. The environmental factors of the IDNU were collected from experts in healthcare design (m = 8). Nurses (m = 64) with first-line COVID-19 experiences in IDNU were recruited to assess these factors individually. Four environmental factors were identified: breastfeeding distance (ND), spatial congestion (SC), natural ventilation and light (NVL), and spatial privacy (SP). Among them, ND was considered to be the most influencing factor on physical fatigue, while SP was on psychological fatigue. Generally, these environmental factors have been found to have more influence on physical fatigue than psychological fatigue. Technical titles were found to be associated with nurses’ perceptions of fatigue by these environmental factors. The nursing assistant and nursing assistant were more likely to suffer from physical fatigue due to these factors than the head nurse. The result indicated that environmental factors of IDNU were associated with nurse fatigue, particularly on the physical aspect. Design environmental interventions could be adopted to alleviate fatigue due to such factors as reduction of ND and improvement of spatial privacy. Specific intervention measures must be applied to adapt to the conditions of nurses because of their technical titles. More attention should be paid to lower-ranking nurses, who represent the majority and are very vulnerable to physical fatigue from environmental factors.

PMID: 34938709 | PMC: PMC8685222 | DOI: 10.3389 / fpubh.2021.774553


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