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Work-Related Perceptions, Injuries, and Musculoskeletal Symptoms: Comparison Between U.S.-Educated and Foreign-Educated Nurses

  • Author(s): Kim, Kyung Mi
  • Lee, Soo-Jeong
  • et al.
Abstract

Immigrants account for a significant proportion of the nursing workforce in the United States (U.S.). Although different cultural backgrounds may affect immigrant nurses’ perceptions of work and occupational health risks, little research has been conducted. Defining immigrant nurses as those who received initial nursing education in foreign countries, this study examined the differences in work-related perceptions and experiences of musculoskeletal (MS) symptoms and injuries between U.S.-educated and foreign-educated nurses. We analyzed data from a cross-sectional study using a statewide random sample of 419 California registered nurses. Foreign-educated nurses reported a more positive safety climate ( p = .017) and perceived their jobs as less demanding ( p = .008) than did U.S.-educated nurses. The prevalence of work-related MS symptoms was significantly lower in foreign-educated nurses than in U.S.-educated nurses ( p = .044), but the difference was not significant in the multivariable analyses. Positive safety climate was significantly associated with a decreased risk of work-related MS symptoms and injuries, and this relationship was greater among U.S.-educated nurses than among foreign-educated nurses. Our findings suggest that immigrant nurses may have different perceptions about safety climate and job demand, which may modify their occupational health risks.

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