Hospital unit stressors that affect nurses: Primary task vs social factors

P. C. Mohl, N. R. Denny, T. A. Mote, C. Coldwater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Liaison psychiatrists often define needs of hospital units in terms of their primary task, such as coronary care. However, it is possible that social systems variables also affect these needs. This study tests the assumption that primary task determines nurses stress and attitudes by comparing the work attitudes and clinical distress of nurses on two general medical units (GMUs) and two medical intensive care units (ICUs). The nurses in the ICUs differed from those in the GMUs in some work attitudes, but not in level of clinical distress. One ICU had much lower levels of clinical distress than any of the other units. The findings suggest that while primary task is an important element in determining some attitudes of nurses, social systems variables also contribute substantially to the stress level of unit nurses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)366-369
Number of pages4
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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