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Open Access Research article

The ward atmosphere important for the psychosocial work environment of nursing staff in psychiatric in-patient care

Hanna Tuvesson1, Christine Wann-Hansson1 and Mona Eklund2*

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University, SE-205 06 Malmö, Sweden

2 Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, PO Box 157, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden

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BMC Nursing 2011, 10:12  doi:10.1186/1472-6955-10-12

Published: 16 June 2011

Abstract

Background

The nursing staff working in psychiatric care have a demanding work situation, which may be reflected in how they view their psychosocial work environment and the ward atmosphere. The aims of the present study were to investigate in what way different aspects of the ward atmosphere were related to the psychosocial work environment, as perceived by nursing staff working in psychiatric in-patient care, and possible differences between nurses and nurse assistants.

Methods

93 nursing staff working at 12 general psychiatric in-patient wards in Sweden completed two questionnaires, the Ward Atmosphere Scale and the QPSNordic 34+. Data analyses included descriptive statistics, the Mann-Whitney U-test, Spearman rank correlations and forward stepwise conditional logistic regression analyses.

Results

The data revealed that there were no differences between nurses and nurse assistants concerning perceptions of the psychosocial work environment and the ward atmosphere. The ward atmosphere subscales Personal Problem Orientation and Program Clarity were associated with a psychosocial work environment characterized by Empowering Leadership. Program Clarity was related to the staff's perceived Role Clarity, and Practical Orientation and Order and Organization were positively related to staff perceptions of the Organizational Climate.

Conclusions

The results from the present study indicate that several ward atmosphere subscales were related to the nursing staff's perceptions of the psychosocial work environment in terms of Empowering Leadership, Role Clarity and Organizational Climate. Improvements in the ward atmosphere could be another way to accomplish improvements in the working conditions of the staff, and such improvements would affect nurses and nurse assistants in similar ways.