Sex and Gender Role Differences in Occupational Exposures and Work Outcomes Among Registered Nurses in Correctional Settings

Source: Mazen El Ghaziri, Alicia G Dugan, Yuan Zhang, Rebecca Gore, Mary Ellen Castro, Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Advance Articles, March 30, 2019

From the abstract:
Background and context:
The correctional environment exposes registered nurses to unique occupational health hazards including, but not limited to, an increased risk for workplace violence. Gender role expectations regarding femininity and masculinity may influence occupational exposures and outcomes differently. Risk comparisons between male and female registered nurses working in correctional settings, have been minimally examined. With the proportion of male registered nurses working in corrections higher than that of nurses working in other healthcare sectors, and with the increasing number of males entering the nursing workforce in general, it is important to characterize and understand occupational exposures and outcomes of male and female registered nurses, especially those working in correctional settings.

Purpose/objectives:
This paper aims to describe and compare sex and gender role differences in occupational exposures and work outcomes among correctional registered nurses.

Methods:
A cross-sectional web-based survey using Qualtrics was administered to registered nurses working in a northeastern correctional healthcare system between June and October 2016. The survey was composed of 71 items from the CPH-NEW Healthy Workplace All Employee Survey, Assessing Risk of Exposure to Blood and Airborne Pathogens and General Health Survey, Bem Sex Role Inventory-Short Form (BSRI-SF), and the Negative Acts Questionnaire-Revised.

Results:
Of 95 registered nurse participants, 75% were female with the highest percentage identified as belonging to the feminine group (37%), while the highest percentage of male participants were identified as belonging to the androgynous group (33%). Females worked primarily on the first shift, while males tended to work the second and third shifts (P < 0.05). Over one third of all participants (37%) reported having experienced a sharps-related injury and having been exposed to blood-borne pathogens and body fluids within the previous 2–5 years. The majority of the participants (>95%) reported being at risk for workplace violence and having been victims of workplace violence perpetrated by an inmate. Significant gender differences (P < 0.0001) were noted in the bullying exposure with androgynous nurses having higher occasional bullying. There was a marginal difference in burnout for females (M = 6.8, SD = 2.1) and males (M = 5.8, SD = 1.9, P = 0.05). Implications: Effective interventions are needed to address the sex and gender role-based differences in bullying exposure and burnout in order to promote the overall health and well-being of correctional registered nurses.