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AIM: The aim of this study was to investigate the values of the Work Ability Index (WAI) and to analyze the factors that may be associated with work ability among hospital health care professionals. METHODS: A total of 1856 health care professionals employed at 5 Zagreb hospitals participated in this cross-sectional study. Data were collected using the Work Ability Index Questionnaire and Occupational Stress Assessment Questionnaire for hospital health care professionals. RESULTS: The average WAI of all participants was 38.68+/-6.28, indicating very good work ability. WAI was significantly higher in men than in women, 40.43+/-5.81 and 38.27+/-6.32, respectively (p<0.001). Younger participants had greater WAI compared with those of older age groups (p<0.001). There was a substantial difference in the proportions of participants in the categories of WAI (poor, good, very good and excellent) between physicians and nurses (p<0.001). Although physicians were considerably older than nurses (p<0.001), the proportion of those with excellent WAI was greater among physicians than among nurses, suggesting that the jobs of highly educated participants, which are characterized by broad decision-making latitude and promotion possibilities maintain work ability better in comparison with low decision-making latitude jobs and low control jobs. About 5 percent of all participants had poor WAI. We identified the following significant predictors of suboptimal WAI among health care professionals: female sex, age, service accrual, and stressors related to organization and financial issues (p<0.001), risks and hazards (p=0.040), and shift work (p=0.001). CONCLUSION: The average WAI of all participants indicated very good work ability, but small percent of them had poor WAI. Our results suggest the need of preventive measures that would target maintenance of work ability at an organizational and individual level. The organizational level should include the provision of a sufficient number of workers, adequate financial resources for work and adequate salaries, less paperwork, positive collaboration with the public, especially media, and education of medical staff on the risks and hazards at work. The individual level should include individual assessment of sensitivity to night work and shift work considering age and health status, and training in stress management techniques.


Journal article


Acta Med Croatica

Publication Date





391 - 395


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Croatia, Female, Humans, Male, Medical Staff, Hospital, Middle Aged, Nursing Staff, Hospital, Work Capacity Evaluation, Young Adult