Standards in Intensive Care Medicine were approved by the Board of the Norwegian Medical Association in 1997. Their purpose is to clarify issues of responsibility, accountability and management in intensive care units. It also gives recommendations on management, staffing, education and resources.
In order to obtain a reference point for any future assessment of the impact of the Standards document, a survey was carried out, addressing work load, medical staff, and questions of accountability, responsibility and cooperation.
16 hospitals responded (76%). The results seem to indicate that medical staff in relation to work load is smaller than recommended. It also seems that junior doctors only to a small extent are present in the intensive care units during ordinary working hours, and consequently have little opportunity to learn from working with experienced colleagues. However, both conclusions, especially the first one, are not entirely reliable, as close examination of the answers indicate that important concepts concerning the description of work load and staffing are poorly defined, and that the monitoring of work load is insufficient.
It is concluded that staffing and work load in intensive care units are still insufficiently defined and monitored. The training environment for specialists is not optimal.
This study aimed to quantify how much of the adult social gradient in sick leave can be attributed to the mediating role of physical workload while accounting for the role of childhood and adolescent social position and neuroticism.
Our sample consisted of 2099 women and 1229 men from a Norwegian birth cohort study (born 1967-1976) who participated in the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (2006-2008) (HUNT3). Data on sick leave (defined as >16 calendar days; 2006-2009) and social position during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood were obtained from national registers. Study outcome was time-to-first sick leave spell. Physical workload and neuroticism were self-reported in HUNT3. Mediating effects through physical workload were estimated using a method based on the additive hazards survival model.
A hypothetical change from highest to lowest group in adult social position was, for women, associated with 51.6 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 24.7-78.5] additional spells per 100,000 person-days at risk, in a model adjusted for childhood and adolescent social position and neuroticism. The corresponding rate increase for men was 41.1 (95% CI 21.4-60.8). Of these additional spells, the proportion mediated through physical workload was 24% (95% CI 10-49) and 30% (95% CI 10-63) for women and men, respectively.
The effect of adult social position on sick leave was partly mediated through physical workload, even while accounting for earlier life course factors. Our findings provide support that interventions aimed at reducing physical workload among those with lower adult social position could reduce sick leave risk.
Children are at high risk for agricultural injury, yet there is little documentation about the range of farm work that children perform or the ages at which children experience these work exposures. The purpose of this study was to identify the scope of agricultural jobs performed by farm children and to describe variations in work involvement within demographic subgroups. A descriptive analysis was conducted of baseline data collected by telephone interview during a multi-site randomized controlled trial. The study population consisted of 1,138 children from 498 North American farms. A total of 2,389 jobs were reported for the 1,138 children. The leading categories of work were animal care, crop management, and tractor with implement operation. Regional differences were observed, consistent with variations in commodities. Substantial proportions of children were assigned to farm work even in the youngest age group of 7-9 years. Males were differentially assigned to tractor with implement operations, while females were more often assigned to animal care. This study provides one of the first systematic accounts of farm work performed by North American children. This analysis of work exposures provides information from which known prevention priorities can be reinforced and new opportunities for prevention identified.
To test the hypothesis that manual workers are at higher risk of death than are non-manual employees when living in municipalities with higher income inequality.
Hierarchical regression was used for the analysis were individuals were nested within municipalities according to the 1990 Swedish census. The outcome was all-cause mortality 1992-1998. The income measure at the individual level was disposable family income weighted against composition of family; the income inequality measure used at the municipality level was the Gini coefficient.
The study population consisted of 1 578 186 people aged 40-64 years in the 1990 Swedish census, who were being reported as unskilled or skilled manual workers, lower-, intermediate-, or high-level non-manual employees.
There was no significant association between income inequality at the municipality level and risk of death, but an expected gradient with unskilled manual workers having the highest risk and high-level non-manual employees having the lowest. However, in the interaction models the relative risk (RR) of death for high-level non-manual employees was decreasing with increasing income inequality (RR = 0.77; 95% CI, 0.63-0.93), whereas the corresponding risk for unskilled manual workers increased with increasing income inequality (RR = 1.24; 95% CI, 1.06-1.46). The RRs for skilled manual, low- and medium- level non-manual employees were not significant. Controlling for income at the individual level did not substantially alter these findings, neither did potential confounders at the municipality level.
The findings suggest that there could be a differential impact from income inequality on risk of death, dependent on individuals' social position.
Viral respiratory infections (VRIs) are a common reason for ambulatory visits, and 35% are treated with an antibiotic. Antibiotic use for VRIs is not recommended, and it promotes antibiotic resistance. Effective patient-physician communication is critical to address this problem. Recognizing the importance of physician communication skills, licensure examinations were reformed in the United States and Canada to evaluate these skills.
To assess whether physician clinical and communication skills, as measured by the Canadian clinical skills examination (CSE), predict antibiotic prescribing for VRI in ambulatory care.
A total of 442 Quebec general practitioners and pediatricians who wrote the CSE in 1993-1996 were followed from 1993 to 2007, and their 159,456 VRI visits were identified from physician claims.
The outcome was an antibiotic prescription from a study physician dispensed within 7 days of the VRI visit. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to estimate the association between antibiotic prescribing for VRI and CSE score, adjusting for physician, patient, and encounter characteristics.
Better clinical and communication skills were associated with a reduction in the risk of antibiotic prescribing, but only for female physicians. Every 1-standard deviation increase in CSE score was associated with a 19% reduction in the risk of antibiotic prescribing (risk ratio, 0.81; 95% confidence interval, 0.68-0.97). Better clinical skills were associated with an even greater reduction in risk among female physicians with higher workloads (risk ratio, 0.48; 95% confidence interval, 0.29-0.79).
Physician clinical and communication skills are important determinants of antibiotic prescribing for VRI and should be targeted by future interventions.
Work done in the emergency departments is one stressful aspect of physicians' work. Numerous previous studies have highlighted the stressfulness of on-call work and especially of night on call. In addition, previous studies suggest that there may be individual differences in adjusting to changes in circadian rhythms and on-call work.
The objective of this study was to examine whether physicians' on-call work is associated with perceived work-related stress factors and job resources and whether there are groups that are more vulnerable to on-call work according to sex, age, and specialization status.
This was a cross-sectional questionnaire study among 3230 Finnish physicians (61.5% women). The analyses were conducted using analyses of covariance adjusted for sex, age, specialization status, and employment sector.
Physicians with on-call duties had more time pressure and stress related to team work and patient information systems compared with those who did not have on-call duties. In addition, they had less job control opportunities and experienced organization as less fair and team climate as worse. Older physicians and specialists seemed to be especially vulnerable to on-call work regarding stress factors, whereas younger and specialist trainees seemed vulnerable to on-call work regarding job resources.
Focusing on team issues and resources is important for younger physicians and trainees having on-call duties, whereas for older and specialists, attention should be focused on actual work load and time pressure.
The incidence of pelvic girdle pain (PGP) in pregnancy is wide ranged depending on definition, the utilised diagnostic means, and the design of the studies. PGP during pregnancy has negative effects on activities of daily living and causes long sick leave, which makes it a major public health issue. Our objectives were to explore the frequency of sick leave in pregnancy due to PGP, assess the relationship between different types of pain-related activities of daily living, examine physical workload, type of work in relation to sick leave, and to explore factors that make women less likely to take sick leave for PGP.
All women giving birth at the maternity ward of Stavanger University Hospital, Norway, were asked to participate and complete a questionnaire on demographic features, PGP, pain-related activities of daily living, sick leave in general and for PGP, frequency of exercising before and during pregnancy. Drawings of pelvic girdle and low back area were used for the localization of pain. PGP intensity was then rated retrospectively on a numerical rating scale. Non-parametric tests, multinomial logistic regression and sequential linear regression analysis were used in the statistical analysis.
PGP is a frequent and major cause of sick leave during pregnancy among Norwegian women, which is also reflected in activities of daily living as measured with scores on all Oswestry disability index items. In the multivariate analysis of factors related to sick leave and PGP we found that work satisfaction, problems with lifting and sleeping, and pain intensity were risk factors for sick leave. In addition, women with longer education, higher work satisfaction and fewer problems with sitting, walking and standing, were less likely to take sick leave in pregnancy, despite the same pain intensity as women being on sick leave.
A coping factor in pregnant women with PGP was discovered, most likely dependant on education, associated with work situation and/or work posture, which decreases sick leave. We recommend these issues to be further examined in a prospective longitudinal study since it may have important implications for sick leave frequency during pregnancy.
We reviewed work histories of manual handling of loads >20 kg in relation to hip osteoarthritis by age, exposure and work participation.
A nationally representative sample of 3110 Finnish men and 3446 women aged 30-97 was recruited. Diagnosis of hip osteoarthritis was based on standardised clinical examination by trained physicians. Previous exposure to physically loading work was evaluated through interviews. Logistic regression was used to estimate associations between work factors and hip osteoarthritis.
1.9% of men and 2.1% of women had hip osteoarthritis. Almost half the men and a quarter of the women had recurrently handled heavy loads at work. Subjects who had manually handled loads >20 kg had a 1.8-fold increased risk of hip osteoarthritis compared to non-exposed references, when age, body mass index, traumatic fractures and smoking were accounted for. Results were similar for men (OR 2.0; 95% CI 1.0 to 4.0) and women (1.8; 1.1 to 2.8). In a sub-analysis of subjects with hip replacement, the OR was 1.7 (1.0 to 2.9). Risk increased first after 12 years' exposure: among men it was 2.2 (0.8 to 5.9) for 13-24 years' exposure, and 2.3 (1.2 to 4.3) for >24 years' exposure. Among women it was 3.8 (1.7 to 8.1) for 13-24 years' exposure. Work participation among men aged 20 kg showed a strong association with hip osteoarthritis in all age groups except the youngest.