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Revista Médica del Uruguay

Print version ISSN 0303-3295On-line version ISSN 1688-0390


CASAGRANDE, Cecilia et al. Work stress among intensivists in Uruguay. Rev. Méd. Urug. [online]. 2022, vol.38, n.1, e206.  Epub Mar 01, 2022. ISSN 0303-3295.


Work Stress (WS) is generated by interactions and experiences with other people in the work environment. In the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the physician´s relationship with critical patients, and with their families, the work team and performing invasive procedures, have been identified as stress development factors.

This study aims to explore stress levels, and to define the factors associated to work stress.


in 2018, an online survey was sent to physicians working in the ICU. Stress levels were assessed using Wolfgang’s Health Professionals Stress Inventory (HPSI) and the Stress Symptom Scale.


96 responses by intensive care physicians were analysed. Average work experience was 11 (6-22.75) years. Intensivists workload is 48 hours a week at the ICU (36-60), 24 (12-24) of which were night shift hours. The total stress level was 53 (44-65) points. Stress levels found were: 5% minimal, 63% moderate and 32% high.

A weekly workload greater than 40 hours was associated to the development of severe WS. Higher WS scores were seen in younger physicians.


physicians working in the ICU frequently showed high levels of WS. This study identified the factors associated to its development. A recommendation is made to design strategies and policies that reduce the impact of WS on ICU physicians.

Keywords : Occupational stress; Intensive care units.

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