Delaying voiding, limiting fluids, urinary symptoms, and work productivity: A survey of female nurses and midwives

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2019, 75 (11), pp. 2579 - 2590
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© 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Aim: To examine the relationships between workplace bladder practices, urinary symptoms, and work productivity. Design: Cross-sectional observational survey. Methods: Surveys were distributed June–November 2016 to at least 600 female nurses and midwives at three urban hospitals in New South Wales, Australia. Nurses self-reported restricted workplace access to toilets, delaying voiding, limiting of fluid intakes and urinary symptoms at work. Logistic modelling was used to examine whether nurses’ bladder practices impaired their time management, ability to concentrate or perform physical demands. Results: Of 353 useable surveys, one in five nurses (22.4%; N = 79) reported restricted access to toilets at work, most (77.1%; N = 272) delayed voiding and one in four (26.9%; N = 95) limited fluid intakes to delay voiding at work. Almost half the sample had urinary symptoms at work (46.7%; N = 165); delaying voiding increased the likelihood of impaired mental concentration and limiting fluid intakes increased the likelihood of impaired time management. Conclusion: As workplace access to toilets and related bladder practices are modifiable, associated urinary symptoms and productivity loss may be preventable. Impact: Nurses’ often experience restricted accesses to amenities due to job demands and workplace environments. The impact of nurses’ poor bladder practices in the workplace is not known. In this study most nurses delayed voiding and many purposefully limited fluid intakes at work. These behaviours impacted a nurse's ability to manage time and/or concentrate at work. Results have implications for nurses’ personal health, the design of workplace environments, workforce management, occupational health policy, and patient care.
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