Stress and healthcare workers caring for people living with HIV/AIDS in Polokwane municipality clinics

Malatji, Tumiso Amanda Phildah
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Aim Stress among healthcare workers (HCWs) working with HIV/AIDS patients is an important deterrent to provision of services to HIV patients. The main aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of stress levels among HCWs in Polokwane Municipality HIV clinics. Method Forty-four HCWs in four different clinics completed a self administered questionnaire. Questionnaire consisted of demographic info, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, the AIDS Stress scale and the stressors and rewards of HIV/AIDS work. Results The majority of the healthcare workers (HCWs) in this study were female (77%) and married (64%). The biggest professional group were nurses (46%) followed by lay counsellors (25%). The mean age of the HCWs was 39. The results of this study revealed that half of the respondents (52%) had high level of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. A total of 27% of HCWs had moderate to severe AIDS stress as measured by AIDS Stress Scale. An overwhelming majority (95%) of HCWs reported that they enjoy their work with HIV/AIDS patients. Conclusion Despite the high levels of burnout, the majority of HCWs in the HIV clinics find HIV/AIDS work rewarding. Workplace related stressors rather than the actual work with HIV/AIDS patients is a major source of stress.