Work in dialysis facilities involves long term contact with chronically ill patients. International comparisons make it clear that dialysis work is being concentrated, staff is being reduced and more patients are being treated. It is more than 20 years since the last German publication on job strains and job satisfaction experienced by dialysis staff was published. The present study examines the stress and strain currently experienced by the staff of German dialysis facilities.
The staff of 20 dialysis facilities were surveyed with the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ). The questionnaire was extended by adding dialysis-specific questions. The data from the dialysis facilities were assessed by comparison with other professions in medical care - nurses and geriatric nurses - using data recorded in the German COPSOQ database.
A total of 367 employees took part in the study, corresponding to a response rate of 55%. For almost all psychosocial aspects, the dialysis staff regarded the stress and strain as being more critical than did the geriatric nurses. There were some positive differences in comparison to hospital nursing, including less conflict between work and private life. However, there were also negative differences, such as fewer possibilities of influencing the work.
The results of the study show that dialysis work exhibits both positive and negative aspects in comparison with other healthcare professions. The results in the different facilities were highly variable, indicating that the deficits found in the individual scales are not inevitable consequences of working in dialysis in general, but are influenced and might be favourably altered by the individual facilities.