One of the most obvious factors of occupational stress is excessive workload. This may be linked to the continual problem of high staff turnover to which critical care units are particularly vulnerable. The high turnover of staff may be associated with the long introductory phase for junior nurses before they can become independent.

The need to spend time orienting new staff may add further stress to the existing staff. Furthermore, once a nurse has achieved independence, delay in promotion to one of the few senior posts may cause frustrated experienced staff to leave.

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