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Reducing Stress among Healthcare Workers Essay
Reducing, Stress, Healthcare, Workers, Essay
Healthcare workers especially nurse and physicians are more likely to experience work related stress. They also suffer the consequent biological and psychological effects of stress. This is as a result of lack of adequate training, resources, time restraints, poor social supports among staff members and high expectations associated with their work (Burton et al., 2017). Various strategies have been developed to reduce stress among healthcare workers.
These strategies are very important in reducing burnout among healthcare professionals. This paper aims to define preventive strategies for reducing stress among healthcare workers using the Health people 2020.In addition, the paper looks into g a practical policy for preventive services, primary healthcare plan, preventive healthcare program and a health problem.
The health problem chosen for this paper is stress among healthcare workers. The main goal of this plan is to reduce stress and burnout among healthcare workers and increase job satisfaction and their overall wellbeing. This will also improve healthcare outcomes of their patients. The PICOT question for this study is as follows;
For healthcare workers (P), how effective is Healthy People 2020 guidelines (Intervention) as compared to providing training (Comparisons) in reducing work related stress (outcome) within three months (T)?
Practical Policy for Preventive Services
The following are the goals of healthcare workers in reducing stress as outlined by the Healthy 2020 guidelines. To increase the number of healthcare professionals who enroll in training and development programs. To provide exercise programs in healthcare facilities to encourage more health workers to engage in practical exercises.
In addition, other goals include increasing health literacy skill, building networks for social support, supporting shared decisions making between providers and patients and improving communication in the healthcare system. These goals will go a long way in helping to reduce work related stress among healthcare workers.
Preventing physical stressors
The workplace environment for healthcare workers is characterized by potential physical stressors including working for long hours, noisy work environment, and changeable shifts and frequent bending and lifting. Healthy professional working in nightshifts may also face disruptions to their circadian rhythms resulting to illness. In addition many healthcare workers face toxic substances and infections on a regular basis.
The anxiety that they may get an infection also increases stress in the workplace. In addition, with the aging workforce among healthcare professionals, most of them are not physical resilient as compared to when they were younger. Healthcare providers should provide adequate protective equipment to healthcare workers to ensure that they are confident when attending to patients without worrying of getting infected (Cocker & Joss, 2016).
Preventing Emotional stressors
Working in the healthcare environment is also emotionally draining. Combined with other social networking issues in the workplace such as families, patients and colleagues could be a significant source of stress. Tragic or difficult situations such as communication with sick individuals or providing palliative care for terminally ill patients can induce stress for healthcare professionals.
The increased risk of aggressive and violent patients also presents emotional challenges for healthcare workers. In addition, healthcare workers must balance their work commitments and home life constantly increasing stress. Combining job commitments with quality of life, finances and childcare makes it very challenging. As a result, healthcare providers must ensure staff members work for the required working hours per week to reduce burnout.
Preventing the perception of disempowerment
Most healthcare workers feel that they are excluded from decision making processes in their organization. Multiple studies show that nurse and physicians feel disempowered when it comes to decision making in healthcare facilities. As a result, they feel that their expertise is being compromised by role confusion and poor leadership.
Currently, most healthcare facilities are understaffed making their staff members to attend to many patients compromising the quality of care provided. Healthcare professionals are also required to accomplish their tasks with inadequate resources as a result of budgetary constraints. To avoid this king of stress, healthcare management must include healthcare workers in the decision making process.
Steps to Develop Primary Healthcare Plan
Main elements of Prevention
Efforts by all the levels of governments and individuals to reduce stress among healthcare workers have been widely successful but still more needs to be done to increase the efficiency of healthcare workers. This is very critical in ensuring healthcare providers meet the guidelines of Healthy people 2020.
Reducing stress among Healthcare professionals could significantly help to increase safety in the workplace and ultimately ensure positive outcomes for patients. The following approaches can help to reduce stress among healthcare workers in the country. The following steps should be included in the plan (Elshaer et al., 2018).
Proactive Behavior by Healthcare workers
Healthcare workers need to be conscious about the issues that lead to stress. They should always conduct their activities in a way that reduces stress associated with working in the highly complex healthcare environment. Healthcare professionals must develop strategies that allow them to effectively ensure work and life balance. This will help them reduce the stress associate with their work.
Improvement of Health system at different government levels
Various activities included in this component include the following. Working closely with healthcare regulatory agencies to ensure healthcare facilities are neither overstaffed nor understaffed. Another activity is providing adequate resources for healthcare workers to conduct their daily duties effectively.
Effective strategies should also be developed to improve the healthcare system in all levels. Activities for hazard evaluation at different levels of the government include identifying risks in the healthcare environment. This also involves healthcare providers conducting hazard assessment to be prepared for any stress issues (Mistretta et al., 2018).
Activities in this component include the following. First, this involves tracking health workers’ activities within the healthcare system to determine stressors that may affect their optimal operation. Secondly, Surveillance involves identifying issues that cause stress among healthcare professionals both in the workplace and at home. Lastly, surveillance involves evaluating the outcomes of stress among healthcare professionals.
Research is a very important component in developing primary healthcare plan. Activities in this component include providing adequate financial resources to support research, identifying the physical and emotional factors causing stress among healthcare workers and identifying knowledge gaps in existing literature that needs to be filled to improve the welfare of healthcare workers.
Developing effective approached to create awareness
Most healthcare workers are not aware of the things that cause them stress. As a matter of fact some of them develop anxiety and are unable to perform their duties as required. Healthcare providers should offer training programs for their staffs to gain new knowledge on how to avoid stress in their workplace.
This could also help them to develop better ways to achieve a work life balance. Providing training and development programs to healthcare workers can also help them to understand themselves better and focus on engaging in activities that promote their overall wellbeing. In addition, this component involves providing information to policy makers to help them come up with policies that can help to reduce stress among healthcare workers.
Evaluation criteria of a primary health plan
Numerous policies have been developed to reduce stress among healthcare professionals. The policies focus on ensuring a positive workplace environment for all healthcare workers to promote their overall wellbeing. The metrics for these policies include ensuring there is enough resources in healthcare system, regulating the time a healthcare providers can work each day and ensuring healthcare providers provide appropriate training to their employees.
Professionals have to be aware of the issues that cause then stress and ways to address them. Policies aimed to reducing stress among healthcare workers should also touch on healthcare administrations and social control concepts (Wang et al., 2019).
The healthcare plan can also be evaluated based on the appropriateness of the services provided by healthcare professionals. Some of the services provide are not necessary. However, Healthcare professionals have to provide such inappropriate services just to abide by their organization’s policies.
This creates a lot of stress among healthcare professionals as they have to provide quality healthcare services, follow organizational rules and procures while at the same time ensuring optimal use of resources. It is never an easy task to balance these components. In addition, the plan can also be evaluated based on Service effectiveness. Services provided should improve the outcomes of the patients.
Multiple studies suggest that providing training to healthcare professionals significantly reduces stress among them. Healthcare professionals work with people from all demographics. As a result they need to be provided with information on people from different demographic groups to be able to attend to them effectively.
A lack of awareness and knowledge about some of their patients can make providing care stressful. The number of people having cognitive impairment has increased significantly not only in the United States but across the world. Healthcare professionals need to have good knowledge and confidence to approach each case in the right way.
The World Health Organization guidelines show that knowledge and skills that healthcare workers need to have to provide quality services to patients. The purpose of these guidelines is to support training and development of healthcare professionals so that they can be effective in their work.
Having the right knowledge and skills allows healthcare professionals to provide the right medication to their clients hence reducing emotional stress which may come about when a healthcare worker is unable to provide quality services to his/her client. In addition, with adequate knowledge healthcare professional can determine the right course of action when they encounter challenging situation significantly reducing stress associated with their profession.
Emerging research indicated that healthcare professionals may suffer from both emotional and physical stress if they do not have the adequate knowledge to attend to their patients. As a result, education is an important factor in the healthcare system for reducing stress among healthcare professionals.
However, it is always difficult to find time for training healthcare professionals due to their work pressure and also considering the widespread understaffing in healthcare facilities. Time must be created to provide this education to ensure healthcare professional have adequate knowledge to provide quality services to their clients. Supporting them is vital not only to reducing stress but also supporting positive patient outcomes.
Commonly Used Methods for Evaluating a Preventive Health Program
Preventive health programs consist of measures that help to collect data about the effectiveness of changes. Changes are tracked from the begriming of the program to the end. It is vital to consider the needs of the stakeholders, financial resources available, the program focus and time frame given in order to evaluate a program effectively.
Preventive programs are very important especially in the current complex healthcare environment. There are various approaches that have been used widely in evaluating preventing health program as documented below.
This method assesses the effect of the program on the participants. Appropriate measures in this approach include changes in skills, behaviors, attitudes and awareness. Demographic data including age, ethnicity, nationality, educational attainment and language are also considered in this approach. Some other metrics such as health status including condition, injury and stress are also included in this method. In addition, medical history such as use of medication, visit to hospital and hospitalization is also considered.
This type of evaluation assesses the type, quality and quantity of program services or activities. The type of resources required in completing the program, the overall costs of implementing the program, the activities and services involved in the program and the number of staff required to implement the program are assessed in this method.
Additionally, the characteristics of staff members, the educational materials required, and the policies developed to fully implement the program are also assessed. Finally, other metrics assessed in this method include the number of staff members aware of the program, the number of people participating in the program and staff members taking part in assessing the risk of the program.
This focuses o both short and long term objectives of the program. Appropriate measures show changes in behaviors, health conditions and overall quality of life. This evaluation can also measure biometric markers, healthcare costs, knowledge and policies.
Health Problem in which it is Important to Develop a Preventive Health Program.
Numerous studies show that almost half of healthcare professionals are struggling with work-related stress. Most of work related stress among healthcare workers is caused by management issues, working long hours, psychological working environment, physical environment, inadequate resources, repetitive duties and work overload.
This is particularly true as most healthcare facilities are understaffed. This is a significant problem in the healthcare system as it compromises the quality of healthcare services provided to patients. The importance of managing occupational stress in the healthcare setting has been recognized as it has been widely associated with loss of working hours and productivity as well as arousal of occupational accidents and infections.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of work related stress include gastrointestinal upset, insomnia, headaches, irritability, nightmares and nervousness. Cognitive symptoms of work related stress include inability to focus, being pessimistic, poor judgment, forgetfulness and racing thoughts. These symptoms make it difficult for healthcare workers to provide quality services to their patients. It left without intervention; stress may lead to significant adverse effects.
Primary prevention focuses on stressor reduction. The main aim is to eradicate the causes of stress in the healthcare setting. Failure of healthcare organizations to involve healthcare workers in decision making process is one of the stressors in the workplace (Simmons et al., 2019).
To reduce stress, healthcare providers can develop a mechanism that collect requests and suggestions of healthcare providers and review them before making critical decisions. Staff members should also be fully involved in the implementation process once a decision has been made. By doing so healthcare organizations can significantly reduce the exposure of health workers to risk factors that can cause stress (Yehya et al., 2020).
Healthcare organizations also offer training to their employees to enable them develop new knowledge and skills to help them perform their duties effectively. In addition training provides an opportunity for health works to advance in their careers and ultimately assume higher positions within the organization.
Healthcare providers also hold regular group meetings to help clarify each employee’s roles and responsibility. Studies show that role confusion is one of the major causes of stress among healthcare professionals. As a result, regular group meeting helps to eradicate this confusion by specifying individual objectives, goals and expectations. In addition, group meetings help assessing whether staff members are overloaded.
Determining the content of each position also helps to reduce stressors among healthcare workers. The analysis of each position within the healthcare system helps to reduce certain risks associated with working conditions and work environment. In addition, they help to specify roles determine whether there is work overload and specify expectations.
Healthcare organizations also reduce these stressors by conducting an annual evaluation of the contributions of employees. This provides an opportunity to discuss the issues facing health workers as well as communicate career goals. It also helps healthcare providers to clarify what is expected of their employees.
This focuses on the addressing effects of stress on the health care workers. Secondary prevention helps health care workers to develop knowledge and skills to deal with stress in the workplace (Beer et al., 2020). Giving the necessary resources to them helps them to better adapt to their workplace environment.
Strategies for secondary prevention help to make health care workers aware of the problems they may encounter at the workplace. Healthcare organizations publish article on stress management to help healthcare workers better deal with stress. Healthcare providers also offer seminars to healthcare workers to help them develop knowledge o how to deal with work related stress.
Additionally, some healthcare organizations also provide workshops to create awareness among health workers about work-related stress. Secondary prevention also involves on balancing work life balance, conflict resolution and time and stress management. Healthy eating programs are also provided to ensure that health workers are deal better with stress.
A lot of healthcare organizations also provide exercise rooms to ensure that their employees can exercise on their free time. This is an effective strategy in ensuring the employees deal with the work related stress. Finally, smoking cessation programs are also provided to ensure employees are engaged to help them manage stress.
Strategies for tertiary prevention focus on treating and rehabilitating healthcare professionals who have developed stress. These strategies provide healthcare workers with the support they need. Healthcare providers allow employees who have suffered from work related stress to take a leave.
During the period, they maintain an employment relationship with the health professional on leave. In addition, the organizations develop a return to work plan, this plan may involve taking temporary assignment or working for less hours. This allows the health care worker regain their confidence and return to work fully (Beer et al., 2020).
Some other strategies used by healthcare providers involve active listening, information and support. When someone is stressed, they need the maximum cooperation from their colleagues and support from the organization. This helps healthcare workers to manage their stress in a better way. In addition, healthcare organizations develop programs to help strengthen relationships between healthcare workers (Beer et al., 2020). This is because some staff members develop stress as a result of mistreatment by their colleagues. It is therefore important to develop ways of solving conflict among health workers to ensure that they can work together to achieve a common objective.
In conclusion, healthcare workers experience stress as a result of management issues, working long hours, psychological working environment, physical environment, inadequate resources, repetitive duties and work overload. Primary prevention strategies for work related stress among healthcare workers include holding regular group meetings, providing training and conducting annual evaluation of the contribution of health workers.
Secondary prevention helps health care workers to develop knowledge and skills to deal with stress in the workplace. Finally, tertiary prevention strategies strategies provide healthcare workers with the support they need. It is important for healthcare organizations to provide these interventions to reduce stress among their staff members.
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