Safety

Stress hazards are high in healthcare

OSHA Healthcare Connection, August 12, 2008

Even though a new publication by NIOSH looks at occupational stress in hospitals, it also provides useful work stress analysis and advice to ambulatory settings as well.

Studies show that healthcare workers have higher rates of substance abuse and suicide compared to other professions and elevated rates of depression and anxiety, according Exposure to Stress: Occupational Hazards in Hospitals, which was added to the NIOSH Web site August 4.

Stressors can vary among healthcare occupations, but common stressors, especially among nurses include:

  • Work overload
  • Lack of social support
  • Exposure to infectious diseases
  • Needlestick injuries
  • Exposure to work-related violence or threats
  • Dealing with difficult or seriously ill patients

 

Such stressors can lead to burnout, absenteeism, reduced patient satisfaction, and diagnosis and treatment errors.

The publication identifies through case studies organizational and personal stress management interventions that have proven effective in healthcare settings.

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