Tuesday, 27 September 2011 16:00It's an unavoidable hazard in the healthcare industry: working long night shifts. People can't control when they get sick or injured, so hospitals must be fully staffed at all times. Unfortunately, this sometimes means intense workplace stress or compromised health for doctors and nurses.
However, things may be getting better, according to a recent study by researchers at Queen's University.
Lately, healthcare facilities have been scheduling night shift workers to work two day shifts followed by two overnight, then giving employees three days off. Previously, common practice had been to work one week of night shifts then one normal week before getting a short time off.
Researchers have found that the older scheduling practice often left nurses and doctors with melatonin deficiency, a shortage in a protective hormone released during sleep.
"Our study indicates that the now common rotating shift pattern of day-day-night-night may not disrupt circadian rhythm or melatonin production significantly," said lead author Anne Grundy.
In addition to using more humane scheduling methods, hospitals may want to consider implementing employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management.
Monday, 26 September 2011 16:00Research from Duke University Medical Center has suggested that workers who rely on coffee or other caffeinated beverages may be exacerbating workplace stress with their choice of drink. The study revealed that caffeine's effects can last throughout the day and intensify the physiological effects of anxiety.
A recent study by CareerBuilder reports that many professionals say they "need" coffee just to get through the day, and some fields appear to have a worse dependency than others.
According to the survey, lab technicians, scientists, marketing professionals, administrators in education, writers and editors reported the most significant need for coffee to carry out their daily responsibilities.
Additionally, about 61 percent of coffee drinkers reported consuming two cups per day, while 28 percent said they drink at least three.
Results of this study suggest that people in these professions may be in need of employee wellness programs that provide tools and techniques to reduce workplace stress in a healthy way. Research has shown that physical and mental wellness can influence optimal employee performance, without the use of stimulants.
Monday, 26 September 2011 16:00According to an article on News-Medical.net, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Scotland reported that nurses working for the country's National Health Services are feeling far less secure in their positions and are experiencing high levels of workplace stress, when compared to past statistics.
The news source reported that two years ago, 82 percent of nurses said they felt secure in their position but now just 30 percent report feelings of job security. Additionally, about three quarters said they experience intense stress on the job, and 68 percent reported being more worried about money than the previous year.
“Given the continuing cuts to the nursing workforce, prolonged pay freeze and planned pension increases, it is no surprise that the morale of nurses and healthcare support workers in our NHS is plummeting," said Theresa Fyffe, the director of RCN Scotland, quoted by the news source.
The situation in the U.S. may not be much better, as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that stress among nurses has been an issue since the 1960s. The institution reported that there are four main job aspects that contribute to workplace stress among nurses: patient care, making difficult decisions, responsibilities and changes in job role and technology.
Monday, 26 September 2011 16:00In an article on Forbes.com, contributing writer and career expert Lisa Quast stated that workplace stress is more prevalent now than ever, and poses a significant threat to productivity and public health.
She said that employers should recognize aspects of an office that may be contributing to tension in the workplace and be proactive in correcting them.
Primary ways to get to the root of stress include ensuring that workloads are manageable, deadlines are fair and that the flow of work and duties makes sense, Quast said.
Additionally, management training should be focused on staving off anxiety among staff members.
"This includes training on causes and consequences of stress, how to recognize warning signs of excessive stress, what managers can do to help alleviate job related stress, and how leadership style can affect employee levels of stress," Quast wrote.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, an estimated 40 percent of workers report that their jobs are very stressful, and about one quarter named their career as the biggest source of stress in their lives.
This suggests that many workplaces may be in need of employee wellness programs, which have been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety in a healthy, proactive way.
Monday, 26 September 2011 16:00Some employers may assume that since an employee is young, they are impervious to workplace stress and less prone to take sick days. However, a Daily Mail article suggests otherwise.
The news source reported on a study conducted by a nutritional supplement company which revealed that 72 percent of employees 30 and younger reported taking a sick day in the previous year, compared to 46 percent of workers older than 55.
Additionally, 86 percent of young staff members said they feel stress at work and 28 percent said they would take a day off because of it, while just 66 percent of older employees reported workplace anxiety and 15 percent said it caused them to take time off.
Previously, an article in The Guardian, another UK news source, reported that younger workers are more likely to develop mental disorders like depression as a result of workplace stress.
These findings suggest that organizations with young staff members should not overlook the benefits that can be gained from employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management.
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