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J Occup Health. 2017 Mar 28;59(2):147-155. doi: 10.1539/joh.16-0060-OA. Epub 2017 Jan 11.

Factors associated with work ability index (WAI) among intensive care units' (ICUs') nurses.

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Department of Occupational Health Engineering, Ashtian Health Care Center, Arak University of Medical Sciences.



Work ability is a crucial occupational health issue in health care settings where a high physical and psychosocial work capacity is required and a high risk of disabling injuries and illnesses is predictable. This study aims to examine the association between the work ability index (WAI) and individual characterizations, workload, fatigue, and diseases among intensive care units' (ICUs') nurses.


The study sample included 214 nurses selected by a random sampling method from a target population consisting of 321 registered nurses working in eight ICUs. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to test the association between WAI scores and each of the independent variables.


Results of multivariate analysis revealed a strong and negative association between WAI scores and diseases (B=-5.82, 95% CI=-7.16, -4.48, P<0.001). Among the studied individual characterizations, body mass index (BMI) was significantly and inversely associated with WAI scores. A significant and negative association was also found between WAI scores and dimensions of MFI-20, such as general fatigue (B=-0.31, 95% CI=-0.53, -0.09, P=0.005) and physical fatigue (B=-0.44, 95% CI=-0.65, -0.23, P<0.001). From dimensions of workload, frustration (B=-0.04, 95% CI=-0.07, -0.02, P<0.001) and temporary demand (B=-0.04, 95% CI=-0.08, -0.0001, P=0.04) showed a negative and significant association with WAI scores, while performance showed a positive and significant association (B=0.04, 95% CI=0.01, 0.07, P=0.005).


Based on the study findings, development of health care programs with the aim of setting up a healthy work environment characterized by a well-structured preventive attitude toward controlling diseases, and a well-designed organizational framework toward increasing the level of performance and motivation, reducing the level of fatigue, as well as reducing the workload, is necessary to promote work ability among ICUs' nurses.

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