Objectives: To clarify the association between job stress and the number of physical symptoms among newly certified female nurses.
Methods: In this cross-sectional self-administered survey, we investigated 313 female nurses working at three medical-university-affiliated hospitals in February 2016. We investigated working conditions including numbers of working and on-call hours, work-life balance, Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ) scores, and 16 physical symptoms perceived more often than once a week.
Results: Among the 313 participants (mean age, 31.9), 57% were aged 21–29 years and 70% were single. Of the 16 physical symptoms investigated, fatigability was the most frequent complaint (66.1%), followed by lower back pain (44.7%). Univariate analysis showed that significant factors related to physical symptoms are job demands (p<0.001) and social support (p<0.001) in JCQ, binary index of supports (p<0.001), and total working hours per day (p =0.025). Multivariable-adjusted logistic regression analyses demonstrated that the likelihood of reporting a greater number (n≥3) of physical symptoms increased by 7% [95% confidence interval (CI), 2–13%] with a one-unit increase in job demand degree, and decreased by 16% (95% CI, 10–22%) in social support degree. When binary JCQ indexes were assessed, the high-support group [odds ratio (OR) 0.36; 95% CI, 0.23–0.59] was protectively associated with a greater number of physical symptoms while long working hours was significantly associated with a higher risk (OR 18%, 95% CI, 1–38%).
Conclusions: Reporting a greater number of physical symptoms may be a good indicator of job stress perceived by a nurse in a university hospital setting.