Lawyers experience high levels of workplace stress
Sunday, 11 September 2011 16:00Many professions require workers to perform a juggling act with their responsibilities, which often entails staying afloat of the latest industry findings, performing day-to-day tasks with efficiency and accuracy as well as taking on jobs small and large at the drop of a hat.
Could it be that lawyers endure these stressors more than other professionals? Apparently so, according to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia.
The report reveals that legal aid workers employed by the government deal with high levels of workplace stress, bullying and poor mental health, as a survey showed that an estimated 13 percent of healthcare claims made by these workers stem from psychological issues.
In a write-up on the Law Blog of the Wall Street Journal, lawyers shared their views and feelings on job-related anxiety.
"Lawyering started out stressful, and it’s pretty much stayed stressful, or gotten more stressful. This stress has the capacity to wear people down. It’s certainly tiring," wrote a commenter under the name Venkat.
Other law professionals on the blog reported that stress stimulates their desire for unhealthy foods, while others said that stress is a boon to them at times.
This suggests that individuals who work in the high-pressure environment of a law office may be in need of employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management.
Hospital workers spend more than average on healthcare
Sunday, 11 September 2011 16:00One might think that doctors and nurses have the skills and knowledge to avoid illness and lead an exemplary lifestyle. However, this may not be true, as a new study reveals that hospital employees spend more on healthcare and are generally sick more often than the general population.
Research conducted by Thompson Reuters shows that healthcare workers spend about 10 percent more on costs stemming from insurance, doctor and emergency room visits, as well as prescriptions.
Moreover, the study revealed that hospital employees and their families were 22 percent more likely to make a trip to the emergency room when compared to the public.
"Ideally, the healthcare workforce would be a model for healthy behaviors and the appropriate use of medical resources," said researcher Raymond Fabius, M.D. "Unfortunately, our data suggests that the opposite is true today. Hospitals that tackle this issue can strengthen their business performance and community service."
Results of this study suggest that medical workers may be in need of tools and resources for healthy living. Additionally, employee wellness programs for stress management have been shown to reduce healthcare costs by reducing the negative effects of chronic anxiety.
Researchers measure stress levels in medical professionals
Thursday, 08 September 2011 16:00Doctors often deal with workplace stress as the result of having to make difficult decisions on a daily basis, some of which have lives depending on the correct answer. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati recently conducted a survey to determine whether physicians working in different fields have similar stress levels.
Using a number of work intensity measurement tools and questionnaires, the team of scientists examined anxiety levels in 45 family healthcare providers, 20 general internal organ specialist, 22 neurologists and 21 surgeons.
The researchers discovered that general internists and surgeons experience similar levels of workplace stress. Interestingly, they also found that these types of professionals are significantly more anxious than family physicians and neurologists.
Overall, surgeons reported highest levels of task concentration, stress and physical demands when compared to the other specialists.
"A physician's work can be assessed by the time required to complete it and by the intensity of the effort, which is central to properly valuing the services being provided," said lead investigator Ronnie Horner, Ph.D.
Results of this study suggest that there may be a need for employee wellness programs for stress management in a variety of healthcare settings.
Healthcare costs are infringing on income gains
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 16:00A study conducted by the nonprofit RAND Corporation reveals that over the past decade, income gains have amounted to an extra $95 per month for U.S. families when taking into account the rise in healthcare costs.
By comparison, if the cost of insurance, pharmaceuticals and medical procedures had grown in proportion to that of other goods and services, American families would have experienced a $545 increase in monthly income.
"Accelerating healthcare costs are a primary reason that the so many American families feel like they are just treading water financially," said lead author David Auerbach. "Unless we reverse the trend, Americans increasingly will notice that health costs compromise their other spending options."
The researchers examined costs and income from 1999 to 2009, and found that spending on healthcare increased from $1.3 trillion to $2.5 trillion. For individuals, costs went from an annual expenditure of $4,600 in 1999 to $8,000 in 2009.
Results of this study suggest that employee wellness programs aimed at reducing workplace stress and improving staff health may help curb the cost of employee health benefits, which may be good for both worker and employer.
Assessing stress levels in workers may improve efficacy of wellness programs
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 16:00Employee wellness programs that provide nutritious meal recipes or encourage staff members to exercise more may be beneficial for overweight or malnourished workers, but what about those who already have healthy lifestyle habits but feel intense pressure on the job?
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic are reporting that asking workers to gauge their stress levels on a scale of one to 10 may help determine which staffers would benefit the most from employee wellness programs that provide stress management tools, according to a study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
"Wellness programs and centers typically initially focus on physical fitness and weight loss," said lead researcher Matthew Clark, Ph.D. "Perhaps by addressing other domains of wellness - stress management, work-life balance, spirituality and resilience - employees might gain the confidence and skills to truly achieve better overall wellness."
Considering that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that an estimated 40 percent of American workers experience high levels of workplace stress, employee wellness programs that promote stress management may be needed in many offices and professional environments.
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