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Evidence shows that anaesthesia and intensive care is a stressful occupation and it may have an impact on anaesthetists' and intensive care doctors' well-being. The goal of the study was to evaluate stress and fatigue and their correlation with working conditions among anaesthesiologists and intensive care specialists employed in Kaunas city (Lithuania) hospitals.
One hundred and forty-two doctors of anaesthesia and intensive care departments were interviewed using a standard questionnaire in 2008. It consisted of three parts: the first part covered the demographic and social situation, second - stress experienced during work, third - risk of fatigue.
The response rate was 71%. Average age of respondents was 41 years, 66.2% were female. A total of 25.4% had working experience <5 years and 23.2% working experience of 11 to 15 years. The workload of 49.3% of respondents was 37 to 54 hours per week (mean number of on-call nights per month - 6.5; 15.3% of respondents had >9 on-call night shifts). Often and very often stress was experienced by 24.6% of doctors; symptoms of fatigue were demonstrated by 57% of respondents. Respondents older than 55 years emphasized increased blood pressure, while younger respondents - up to 34 years - reported inability to concentrate, decreased objectiveness, unstable mood, difficulty in making decisions. Respondents living without partners experienced chest pain, anger and nuisance. Doctors experience less stress if they are satisfied with their work and if their workload is adequate, while increasing pressure by hospital administration to decrease costs of care increased risk of fatigue. If a doctor is employed for more 40 hours per week he faces difficulties concentrating, while more than 60 hours per week causes interference with home life.
Every fourth anaesthesiologist experienced stress during work, while more than one-half had symptoms of moderate fatigue. Growing workload increased doctor's stress. Pressure by hospital administration and limited freedom in decisions increased incidence of fatigue. Work satisfaction reduced risk of stress and fatigue. Stress and fatigue significantly correlated with the state of physical health.