Stress in Health Professionals: Psychological and Organisational Causes and Interventions

Stress in Health Professionals: Psychological and Organisational Causes and Interventions

Stress in Health Professionals: Psychological and Organisational Causes and Interventions

Stress in Health Professionals: Psychological and Organisational Causes and Interventions


Stress levels in health professionals have been shown to be high in many countries and in most staff groups. This creates a personal cost to the individuals concerned, a financial cost to the organisations in terms of absence, early retirement and complaints, and a health cost to patients in terms of the risk of poorer quality care that is received by patients from stressed or dissatisfied staff. At a time when health organisations worldwide are striving to reduce costs and to increase quality, addressing the psychological well-being of their staff has necessarily risen high on their priorities. Stress in Health Professionals reports on the latest research from around the world on the causes of stress in health professionals and on ways to intervene to reduce stress levels. In doing this, it takes approaches from organisational and clinical psychology to focus on key staff groups. It considers wider issues such as burn-out, teamwork, training and counselling services and investigates the effectiveness of both organisational and individual interventions. Written by experts from a broad range of areas, the chapters include: the latest evidence on the levels and sources of stress in health staff links between stress and patient care Individual differences in the stress process ways to set up counselling services the importance of teamworking a strong focus on interventions and their evaluation This volume is an important resource for managers, health professionals, trainers and health organisations, and also for those involved in research in this important area of individual and organisational well being. "The book can be recommended as a resource for health providers, managers researchers involved in the field of work stress..." International Journal of Adolescent Medicine Health "This is an excellent book to have in your library and many of the chapters should be required reading for professional, strategic and operational line managers concerned with designing effective work environments." Clinical Child Psychology & Psychiatry


The first edition of this book was published in 1987 at a time when there was a growing recognition that health workers were more stressed and experienced different stressors to other occupational groups. The research on this was relatively new with very few longitudinal studies and a focus on doctors in particular. Nevertheless, the chapters were able to outline the main issues and to set the stage for a research agenda that has progressed remarkably well over the intervening years.

The present edition reports much of this new research. Its chapters show that we are now able to describe the levels and sources of stress for most of the professionals involved in health care. Perhaps more important, this knowledge has led to the emphasis shifting towards interventions, both organisational and individual, and this has become an important part of this new edition.

Over the intervening years health services around the world have been subjected to a sharp escalation of change, and professionals have had to meet new demands and new conflicts as a result. Growing economic pressures, technological advances and patient expectations have meant that issues such as rationing, evidence-based health care, clinical audit and accreditation present staff with new demands and levels of accountability. Costs have become a crucial part of the agenda at every level while, at the same time, the quality of care delivered has become increasingly open to professional and public scrutiny.

However, the research has also shown that the stress levels of staff are intimately linked to both the cost and the quality of the care they deliver. Absence and turnover have long been associated with high stress levels, but now we also see disturbing deficits in recruitment in many professional groups: young doctors and nurses, for example, are leaving their professions in unprecedented numbers, despite the uncertainty of the job market outside of health care. The growth of early retirement, especially on the grounds of ill-health, also creates new pressures and expense to the service. Other rising costs involve the increase in litigation as patients' expectations rise along with their willingness to sue. As we know that high stress is linked to poorer performance, and that the vast proportion . . .

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