WEEKLY WORKLOAD FOR NURSES IN BRAZIL: CHALLENGES TO PRACTICE THE PROFESSION

Abstract The study had the goal of presenting the distribution of nurses in the job market with a weekly workload greater than or equal to forty hours according to the regions of Brazil and the kind of workplace (whether in the private or public sectors). It was a cross-sectional study, conducted between 10 and 27 of February 2017, with on-line data from the medical-sanitary researches conducted in 2002, 2005 and 2009 by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. We analyzed a total of 179,337 nurses in the 3 evaluated years. We compared their proportions according to each geographical region of Brazil and the workplace using Pearson’s Chi-squared test (α = 5%). Nursing was the only college-level healthcare occupation that presented a larger and increasing proportion of professionals with a weekly workload greater than or equal to 40 hours (p < 0.001), and this proportion is greater in the public sector and in the Northern, Midwestern, and Southern regions of the country. The occupation of nurse still has an unfavorable workload, which constitutes a challenge to the nurses and to nursing as a profession.