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Work Related Stress (WRS) is the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker in the work environment. Hospital work stress is a nosocomial stress characterized by stressors like; work over load, under staffing, use of redundant equipment, poor promotion, poor managerial relationship with staff, poor working environment, excessive/prolonged working hours, etc. This study sought to determine the influence of shift work and marital status and occupational stress among nurses. Data were collected using the primary and secondary source. 200 questionnaire was administered by the researcher.



1.1      Background of the study

In today’s technological and moving business world, significant and growing percentage of the population work in formal organizations (Heller and Hindle, 1988). People work under a broad array of conditions. While many of these people work indoors, others work outside. Some of these jobs require exposure to intense heat, cold and/ or noise. Hence, while some of these jobs involve high risk injury or illness, others carry low risks. The average working time in the civil service, public and/or private sector encompasses a major part of the individual‟s life span and occupies a period when physical and mental capacities are fully utilized. Organizations are constantly evolving and the nature of the services provided necessitates differential work schedules. Here in Nigeria, not all the employees in different organizations do perform the usual 8am to 4pm – five days a week. Police officers, military personnel, fire fighters, prison warder, nurses, telephone operators among others, do provide 24 hours a day service. Muchinsky (1997), posits that in industrial manufacturing companies, some technologies/machine require constant monitoring and operation. Hence, it becomes rational and practical to run these machines continually by having different shift work systems round the clock. He notes further that there are no uniform shift hours, as various companies adopt different shifts. Usually for nurses, a 24-hour-a-day is broken into three 8- hour- work shifts as follows: i. 7am to 2pm (day shift): ii. 2pm to 10pm (swing or afternoon shift)‟ and iii. 10pm to 7am (night shift). Muchinsky finally observes that some companies have employees run only one shift, more so, as workers generally do not like the afternoon and night shift. Consequently, many firms and organizations do rotate the shift on weekly basis so as to carry all the workers along. Psychologists in industrial settings (Muchinsky, 1988), did and still do investigate the degree to which workers‟ job satisfactions are affected by the shift work, and their abilities to cope with these changes in work schedules. Since it is the functions of the Nigeria Police Force to maintain internal security here in Nigeria, enforce the laws and orders of the law abiding citizens, arrest, investigate and charge/or prosecute all the offenders in law courts; the police had since adopted three shift work schedules covering from Sunday to Saturday of every week. In order to cover all these duties and police the country effectively, Udonsy 91976), outlines the shift work schedules in this organization as follows:

 (a) Morning shift, from 0600 hrs to 1400 hours;

(b) Afternoon shift, 1400 to 2200 hours; and

(c) Night shift. 2200 hours to 0600 hours. It should be noted at this point that the first workers to be initiated to this routine were not policemen, or even firemen, but bakers. Industrialization and global warfare brought shift work into the mainstream (Aveni, 1999). In other words, estimates are that more than 25% of all workers in the U.S. and Europe are now shift workers. Aschoff (1978), in his work posits that shift workers experience many problems ranging from physiological to social adjustments; stressing that most physiological problems are associated with interruptions of the circadian rhythm or internal biological clock; that is to say, our bodies are “programmed” for a certain time cycle. Hence, shift works have been observed to interrupt the cycles of eating, sleeping and working hours; and workers on these shifts therefore, tend to experience physiological problems. In actual fact, the police personnel on these shift works are mostly those on the lower ranks in this force. According to the Health Advocates (2013), Stress – related distraction or sleepiness account for estimated 60% to 80% of accidents on the job and near misses. According to the National Institution for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in 2008, 60% to 90% of health care providers’ poor attitude to clients is attributed to stress response. The Nigerian health system is bedevilled with chronic underfunding, dilapidated health facilities, poor staffing and inadequate working tools which has been sources of stress to healthcare providers. Most health care provided especially at the secondary and primary levels of care in Nigeria have to work under very harsh and unconducive conditions which contribute to the increase of workrelated stress of hospital staff (Onasoga, Ogbebor, & Ojo, 2013). Stress in the work place impairs both quality and quantity of work and has been a strong contributing factor to accidents or near misses in the healthcare settings (i.e. affecting service delivery) (Cotton, & Hart, 2003). Stress in the workplace is associated with a number of health problems in employees. Workplace stress has been linked to low job satisfaction, reduced productivity and an increase in occupational accidents (Clarke, & Cooper 2004; Cotton, & Hart 2003; Veena, & Catherine 2010). It is often believed that when a staff is tired, there is bound to be misuse of equipment which may lead to its damage, injury to the staff or to the product.


Health workers are as vital as the security operative in every modern security as the society cannot do without the service of these personnel. In Nigeria nursing is one of the reference profession by the single ladies. As vital and interesting as these profession is, there are some factors which militate against the occupation; it is on these backdrop that the researcher intends to investigate the influence of shift work and marital status on occupational stress among nurses in Nigeria.


The main objective of the study is to ascertain the influence of shift work and marital status on occupational stress among nurses. But for the successful completion the researcher intends to achieve the following objectives;

i)            To ascertain the influence of shift work in occupational stress of nurses

ii)          To ascertain the effect of marriage on the nursing profession

iii)        To ascertain the effect of shift in occupational stress of nurses

iv)         To ascertain the relationship between marital status and shift work in nursing profession.


For the successful completion of the study, the following hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0: shift work has no influence on the occupational stress of nurses in Nigeria.

H1: shift work has a significance influence on the occupational stress of nurses in Nigeria.

H02: marital status has a significant effect on the nursing profession in Nigeria.

H2: marital status has no significant effect on the nursing profession in Nigeria.


At the completion of the study it is believed that the findings will be of great importance to the Nigerian medical association in advising the heads of the health sector in structuring their job schedule or shift. The study will also be of great importance the national association of nurses and midwives in protecting the interest of her members to ensure that the job schedule is not conflicting and detrimental to the marital status of her members. The study will also be of great importance to researchers who intend to embark on research on similar topic. Finally the study will be of great importance to academia, teachers, lecturers, students and the general public.


The scope of the study covers the influence of shift work and marital status on occupational stress among nurses in Nigeria. In the course of the study; the researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study.

(a)Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.     

(b)Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study. 

(c)Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.



Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life. Nurses may be differentiated from other health care providers by their approach to patient caretraining, and scope of practice. Nurses practice in many specialism’s with differing levels of prescriber authority. Many nurses provide care within the ordering scope of physicians, and this traditional role has shaped the public image of nurses as care providers. However, nurses are permitted by most jurisdictions to practice independently in a variety of settings depending on training level. In the postwar period, nurse education has undergone a process of diversification towards advanced and specialized credentials, and many of the traditional regulations and provider roles are changing.


Physiological or biological stress is an organism's response to a stressor such as an environmental condition. Stress is the body's method of reacting to a challenge. Stimuli that alter an organism's environment are responded to by multiple systems in the body.

Occupation: an activity in which one engages

Shift work

Shift work is an employment practice designed to make use of, or provide service across, all 24 hours of the clock each day of the week (often abbreviated as 24/7). The practice typically sees the day divided into shifts, set periods of time during which different groups of workers perform their duties. The term "shift work" includes both long-term night shifts and work schedules in which employees change or rotate shifts

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