Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Health care providers report high stress levels

These figures seem quite high. Maybe it shows that health care workers are prone to complain! Why dental hygienists should be among the lowest of the group is hard to figure. Spending the day probing inside mouths with bad breath etc. would certainly generate stress in me. Maybe that is not what they do. Maybe they just tell you to clean your teeth and give you a free toothbrush!
I can see how being a head nurse could be very stressful but why lab technicians?
The relationship of hours worked to stress is not too surprising. People I know in the health care area are often stressed because they work overtime and have heavy debts to pay. Perhaps in many cases the stress is not so much job related as life related, that is people in health care jobs may have even more problems usually than those in many other jobs.
Anyway the idea that doctors spend most of their time on the golf links relaxing doesn't seem to fit with reality! Maybe it is lawyers or professors who do that!

Health-care providers report high stress levels: report
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2007 | 4:00 PM ET
CBC News
Health-care providers are a stressed-out group, with 45 per cent reporting that most of their days at work are quite or extremely stressful, according to 2003 data reported by Statistics Canada.

Health-care providers accounted for six per cent of the Canadian work force in 2003, according to Statistics Canada's 2003 Canadian Community Health Survey released on Tuesday.

Only 19 per cent of dental hygienists reported experiencing high levels of job stress, the report finds.
(CBC) Nurses, physicians and lab workers had the highest stress levels of those providers surveyed, the data shows. Conversely, the report finds that 31 per cent of people who do not work in health care report this degree of stress.

Sixty-seven per cent of head nurses and nurse supervisors, 64 per cent of medical laboratory technicians and 64 per cent of specialists reported high levels of stress.

"That Statscan study is a shocking indictment of toxic workplaces," Bill Wilkerson, co-chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, told CBC News Tuesday.

He said that although people who like what they do and feel their role is fulfilling can experience good stress, "bad stress is defined in the workplace as frustration, as exasperation," stemming from situations in which employees feel they have no control over their work.

Wilkerson believes chronic stress can lead to mood disorders and other health problems. "Excessive hormones rushing through the bloodstream to the brain is stress. If there are too many of those hormones all the time, several things can happen."

He says changes in brain chemistry can occur, leading to conditions such as depression, or a person's immune system may be weakened, opening the door to a variety of health problems. It can also contribute to more drug taking as "people who are under stress all the time take a lot of pain medication," he said.

Dental hygienists, physiotherapists least stressed

Of the groups surveyed, those health-care professionals who were less likely to report high stress were dental hygienists (19 per cent), physiotherapists (29 per cent) and nurse's aides (34 per cent).

Long hours contributed to the high stress levels. Those respondents who worked less than 35 hours a week were less likely to report high stress than those working more hours. While 60 per cent of respondents who worked between 45 and 79 hours a week reported high stress, 37 per cent of those who worked less than 35 said they were stressed out.

Elevated levels of work stress played a part in life stress, with 75 per cent of respondents reporting they're dissatisfied with their life compared to 44 per cent who said they're satisfied.

Women were also more slightly more likely to report high stress, at 46 per cent, than their male counterparts (42 per cent).

And younger rather than older employees were also more resilient when it came to stress, perhaps reflecting less job responsibility, the report's authors theorize. Of health-care providers under 25, 31 per cent said they had high work stress, with 50 per cent of providers aged 35 to 54 reporting high stress levels.

The report is based on the responses of 4,551 health care providers. Survey participants were asked if their main job was "not at all stressful, not very stressful, a bit stressful, quite stressful" or "extremely stressful."

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