According to the Chicago-based company ComPsych, workers in the health care industry are among the most stressed of any profession.1 That stress does come with a lot of positives – helping people, flexible hours, and solid pay and medical benefits – but recognizing and managing stress is still an important part of the job.
Top stresses of health care professionals
Whether you’re a physician, nurse, certified medical assistant, registered dental assistant or are pursuing another career in health care, stress is all around you. That’s why it’s important for you to identify the areas of your job that create the most pressure and learn how to deal with them effectively.
Here are a few common stress points for health care workers, and ideas on how to handle them:
Heavy patient loads
For various reasons, health care workers often have to take on more patients than they would in an ideal situation.2 That can easily lead to those professionals becoming overextended, scrambling to meet their patients’ needs
If you’re confronted with this problem, the first thing to do is ask for help. If your co-workers are going through the same experience, then your best bet might be to find ways to relax and enjoy yourself outside of work. Many people turn to yoga, as it is both an exhilarating form of exercise and a proven stress-reducer.3
Overly high expectations from patients and superiors
Many patients expect their health care professionals to be able to cure whatever ails them with a pill or some other simple fix. Often, however, that is not possible. The same can be said for some managers, who think that if you haven’t made everyone happy in every way you are doing something wrong.
If you’re caught in this situation, try communicating clearly and calmly with your patients or supervisors. Explain to them that their expectations may be unrealistic, then describe what you know you’re capable of doing for them. Many times, open, direct communication fosters effective solutions.
Work life crossing over into personal life
When your profession starts to hurt your personal life it can feel like you’re getting attacked from all sides. One way to deal with this problem is to attempt to plan your time out in advance. Find specific blocks in your schedule where you can spend time with friends and loved ones outside of work.
1 Stuart, Candace, “Breaking Point News? Health Care Workers Most Stressed,” Cardiovascular Business, June 5, 2013. http://www.cardiovascularbusiness.com/topics/practice-management/breaking-point-news-healthcare-workers-most-stressed
2 Leventhal, Rajiv, “Survey: Burnout and Stress May Cause Health Care Workers to Look for New Jobs,” Healthcare Informatics, April 30, 2013. http://www.healthcare-informatics.com/news-item/survey-burnout-and-stress-may-cause-healthcare-workers-look-new-jobs
3 Asplund, Travis, “Dealing With Stress in Your Workplace?” HSAA.ca. http://www.hsaa.ca/member-resources/challenger/winter-2013/dealing-stress-your-workplace-working-health-care-tough-it%E2%80%99s