Occupational Health Hazards of Women in Healthcare: The Lived Experience of Female Nurses of West Bengal, India

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Occupational Health Hazards of Women in Healthcare: The Lived Experience of Female Nurses of West Bengal, India

 Mahua Patra
Maulana Azad College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Received: 25 February 2023; Accepted: 06 March 2023; Published: 05 April 2023

Abstract: – This qualitative study aimed to explore the occupational health hazards faced by female nurses in West Bengal, India. Twenty female nurses were interviewed, and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. The findings revealed that female nurses faced physical, biological, and psychosocial hazards, including exposure to hazardous substances, infectious diseases, reproductive problems, stress, workplace violence, and harassment. These hazards had negative effects on the health and well-being of the nurses. The study highlights the need for improved working conditions and safety measures in healthcare settings and recommends the development and implementation of policies and guidelines to address the occupational health hazards faced by female nurses in India. Additionally, training and education programs should be provided to nurses to promote safe work practices and raise awareness of the hazards.

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Keywords: Occupational health hazards, Female nurses, West Bengal, Healthcare, Lived experience

I. Introduction

Occupational health hazards pose a significant threat to the health and well-being of healthcare workers globally, particularly for female healthcare workers. The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges that healthcare workers face various hazards at work, including biological, physical, and psychosocial hazards, which can adversely affect their health and well-being (WHO, 2021).

Nurses are the largest group of healthcare workers and are more likely to face occupational health hazards than other healthcare professionals (Gupta et al., 2017). Clinical personnel, including nurses, are at higher risk for menstrual disorders compared with administrative personnel (Assadi, 2013). A study by the American Nurses Association (ANA) revealed that 41% of the survey respondents had experienced a work-related injury in the past year, and 48% had experienced an illness that was caused or made worse by working as a nurse (Houle, 2001). Nurses in developed countries, such as the United States, may have safer working conditions than nurses in developing countries (de Castro et al., 2009).