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Suicide Risk Increased Among Both Male, Female Nurses

Nurses were more likely to have job problems, mental health history and to leave a suicide note

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Nurses have an increased risk for suicide and are more likely to have job problems and mental health history and to leave a suicide note, according to a study published online Feb. 3 in Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing.

Judy E. Davidson, R.N., from the University of California San Diego Health in La Jolla, and colleagues examined the longitudinal incidence, method, and risks of nurse suicide in the United States using data from the 2005 to 2016 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Violent Death Reporting System. Overall, 1,824 nurse and 152,495 non-nurse suicides were assessed.

The researchers found that compared with the general population, nurses were at an increased risk for suicide (female incident rate ratio [IRR], 1.395; male IRR, 1.205). Pharmacological poisoning was most frequently used to complete suicide among female nurses (27.2 versus 26.9 percent for others), while male nurses and the general public used firearms most often (41.7 versus 48.4 percent for others). Nurses were more likely to have job problems (female odds ratio [OR], 1.989; male OR, 1.814) and mental health history (female OR, 1.126; male OR, 1.302), and they were more likely to leave a suicide note (female OR, 1.221; male OR, 1.756).

“One of the strongest characteristics associated with nurse suicide was the presence of known job problems, reflecting that workplace wellness programs centered upon reducing stress in the work environment may save lives,” the authors write.

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