Culture, teams, and organizations: A qualitative exploration of female nurses’ and midwives’ experiences of urinary symptoms at work

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2019, 75 (6), pp. 1284 - 1295
Issue Date:
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© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Aim: To explore nurses’ and midwives’ experiences of urinary symptoms at work. Background: Lower urinary tract symptoms are common in female nurses and midwives. There is limited understanding of the relationship between urinary symptoms, bladder health practices, and work. Design: Qualitative design providing in-depth exploration of nurses’ and midwives’ experiences of urinary symptoms at work through focus group discussions. Methods: Twelve focus groups were held July–September 2016 with 96 Registered Nurses and midwives working at two tertiary-referral hospitals in urban New South Wales, Australia. A semi-structured question schedule was used. An inductive process guided thematic analysis of data using a socioecological framework of health behaviours. Results: Nurses’ and midwives’ experiences of urinary symptoms at work primarily relate to delaying voiding. This practice is explained by a work culture of “patient-first” care at expense of self-care, relationships in the nursing team, demands of the nursing role, and inadequacy of workplace amenities. The first two themes reflect cultural and social caring dilemmas central to nursing. The second two themes identify issues with workforce management and physical workplace environments. Conclusion: Nurses’ and midwives’ urinary symptoms and behaviours in response to sensory cues for bladder emptying are dependent on several socioecological influences. Occupational health initiatives in the workforce are required to break cultural norms that deter self-care and to promote work environments that support healthy bladder practices. Workforce management and physical workplace environments are key influences on nurses’ timely and dignified access to amenities.
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