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A pilot assessment of job stress among the non-physician clinical abortion workforce

Elizabeth Janiak, MA, MSc, The Brigham and Women's Hospital, Inc

Project abstract

Background: Job stress—an occupational hazard with significant health impacts—is well documented among non-physician health care workers generally, but has not been studied among abortion workers. Job stress and coping may differ between abortion workers and other health care workers because the structural marginalization of abortion has resulted in service delivery models characterized by an unusual constellation of challenges (such as high-volume surgical services and threat of violence) and resources (such as a mission-driven work environment). The effects of the structuring of abortion work on clinical workers' stress levels and overall wellbeing have not been documented.

  • Aim 1: To describe job stress among non-physician clinical abortion workers based in freestanding abortion clinics.
  • Aim 2: To compare job stress among non-physician clinical abortion workers based in freestanding abortion clinics to job stress among: 1) hospital-based abortion workers; and, 2) an analogous group of workers in non-abortion freestanding clinical sites (nursing homes).
  • Aim 3: To investigate the potential relationship between job stress and abortion stigma.

Methods: Cross-sectional survey of nurses, medical assistants, and technicians working in four abortion clinics and two hospital-based abortion services. We will perform comparisons between clinic and hospital groups and to on-the-shelf data from workers at four nursing homes.

Significance: Our assessment of job stress among abortion workers will: 1) offer a preliminary description of occupational health among an understudied sector of the health care workforce; and, 2) inform potential interventions to enhance the sustainability of the workforce and thereby ensure the accessibility of abortion to patients.


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