Meeting Abstract

Stress, cognitive failures and information processing in telephone helpline nurses



Allan JL, Farquharson B, Johnston DW, Jones MC, Choudhary CJ & Johnston M (2011) Stress, cognitive failures and information processing in telephone helpline nurses. Psychology and Health, 26 (Supplement 2), pp. 7-7.;

Background: Nurses working for telephone-based medical helplines must quickly and accurately process information given by callers to make appropriate treatment decisions. As both the speed and accuracy of cognitive processing can be impaired by stress, the relationship between stress, cognitive failures and information processing was assessed in nurses employed by Scotland's out-of-hours medical helpline. Methods: Nurses (n=152) rated frequency of cognitive failures and levels of general and shift specific stress, and completed tests of information processing speed and accuracy pre- and post-shift. Findings: Both general (β=0.336, p<50.01) and shift-specific (β=0.170, p=0.04) stress were associated with an increased number of cognitive failures after controlling for other factors. Stressful shifts were associated with more frequent information processing errors (t=2.50, p=0.02). Neither general nor shift-specific stress was associated with the changes in speed of information processing. Discussion: Stress impacts on nurses' cognitive functioning, which may have implications for work performance.

Output Type: Meeting Abstract

Psychology and Health: Volume 26, Issue Supplement 2

Publication date30/09/2011
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)
Publisher URL…4af&page=1&doc=1

People (1)


Dr Barbara Farquharson

Dr Barbara Farquharson

Associate Professor, NMAHP