February 13, 2014

Health care workers may be the nation's most stressed employees

Daily Briefing

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    Health care providers have higher stress levels and complaints than employees of any industry, including the professional, business service, and retail sectors, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey.

    The nationwide survey of 3,211 workers across various industries questioned individuals about their anxiety levels and current workload.

    Overall, 60% of U.S. workers—not including government workers—reported stress in their current jobs, and 11% reported feeling "highly stressed." The survey found that the three most stressed professions were:

    • Health care (69% of workers reported feeling stressed, and 17% reported feeling highly stressed);
    • Professional and business services (64% of workers reported feeling stressed, and 12% reported feeling highly stressed); and
    • Retail (63% of workers reported feeling stressed, and 12% reported feeling highly stressed).

    According to the survey, more than half of health care workers say their workloads increased over the past year. Moreover, 25% of medical personnel plan to switch jobs in the coming year, the survey found.

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    Jason Lovelace, president of CareerBuilder Healthcare, commented that stress is a hallmark of many health care jobs, but "high levels sustained over a long-period of time can be a major detriment to employee health and ultimately stand in their way of providing quality care to patients."

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    As such, health care leaders should strive to ensure that their employees have the resources and support they need to perform at the top of their abilities. For example, Lovelace advises that employers:

    • Add staff members to more evenly distribute work among current employees;
    • Communicate with workers on scheduling issues to create a more manageable work environment; and
    • Reconsider paid time-off policies to allow employees to take the time they need to relax and recharge (Lorenz, CareerBuilder, 2/10; Sullivan, FierceHealthcare, 2/12).
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