Annals of Ibadan Postgraduate Medicine

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A qualitative study on psychosocial hazards among health care workers in a tertiary health facility in south-south Nigeria

C.U. Okeafor, F.E. Alamina


Background: Psychosocial hazards pose a great threat to the mental health of health care workers. There is a dearth of research on this type of hazard in hospital settings in Nigeria.

Objective: This study aimed to assess the psychosocial hazards and the corresponding risks among health care workers in a tertiary health facility in Rivers State.

Methods: A cross sectional study was carried out in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State, Nigeria using qualitative method. Data on the psychosocial hazards were obtained from medical and surgical clinics, medical and surgical wards, theatre, laboratory, radiology and administrative sections of the hospital via key informant interviews. The risk assessment matrix was used to ascertain the risk scores and levels of identified hazards. The scores were summarized using medians and interquartile ranges and the differences in the median scores across the sections were compared using Kruskal Wallis statistics.

Results: A total of eighteen subjects were interviewed from the sections of the hospital. Work overload had the highest proportion of all the psychosocial hazards in the theatre (83%), radiology (71%), clinic (52%), ward (42%) and laboratory (38%). Other psychosocial hazards were poor interpersonal relationship, assault from patient relatives and job dissatisfaction/boredom. The differences in the median psychosocial hazard risk scores across the sections were not statistically significant (P =0.915).

Conclusion: This study showed that health care workers are exposed to psychosocial hazards in the workplace. Work policies targeted at addressing these hazards among this group of workers need to be implemented.

Keywords: Psychosocial, Hazards, Health care, Workers, Nigeria

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