Written By Lucy Peters
83% of workers in the United States experience work-related stress according to the American Institute of Stress, and those who work in the healthcare industry aren’t exempt. With many factors at play, such as a heavy workload and long hours, stress is often viewed as an inevitable part of the job. However, by recognizing the causes and effects of stress, you can manage it much more easily. Whether you’re looking to get certified for the first time, or are planning to re-certify, keeping in mind how stress can affect you in the healthcare line of work
Causes of stress in the healthcare industry
For many in healthcare professions, stress is considered as an unavoidable part of the job. While the causes of workplace stress vary from person to person, it’s commonly triggered by heavy workloads, long hours, and the sheer amount of responsibility that comes with the position. Student loan debt may also be a major stressor for some considering the amount of schooling needed for many healthcare positions, though it can be especially stressful when figuring out how to manage troubling finances. While causes of stress in the healthcare industry are abundant, it’s necessary to keep in mind that it can have a serious impact on a worker’s health, and even on their patients – and even more so for those who are just beginning their careers.
The physical and mental side effects
While getting to the root of workplace stressors can be a great way to begin solving your problems, identifying the symptoms of stress can prove to be just as important. Common physical symptoms include headaches, muscle pain/tension, and fatigue. Stress can also increase your risks of developing health problems like high blood pressure, and can lead to further issues like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
While the physical effects of stress on the body may be a bit more difficult to notice for some, the mental effects may be more prominent. Mentally, someone who is experiencing workplace stress may develop anxiety, a lack of focus, mood swings, and can feel overwhelmed, which can all affect one’s ability to do their job, thus putting the patients at risk. In more severe cases, stress can also lead to depression as well, making it vital to manage the symptoms as early as possible.
Managing your symptoms and when to see a doctor
While you’re sure to experience stress at some point in your career, there are several ways you can manage your symptoms and relieve it, both at work and at home. At work, taking a walk on your break can be a great way to clear your head, and making sure you’re taking all of your breaks in the first place can be a great help in getting your mind off of the task at hand.
At home, regular physical activity can act as an outlet. In fact, respondents to a Stress in America survey reported that 30% of adults felt less stressed after exercising. Other ways to relieve stress at home include participating in relaxing activities, like yoga or meditation, which can both allow you to clear your mind and think things through in a peaceful way.
While there are many simple ways to reduce and relieve stress in your day to day life as a healthcare professional, it’s necessary to know when it’s time to see a doctor. For instance, if you’re experiencing the more severe symptoms that stress can bring (like depression), or if the stress affects your job (or day-to-day life), it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor.
While it’s likely that everyone will experience stress at some point in their lives, those in the healthcare industry may view it as part of the job. For that reason, it’s necessary to know about the symptoms – both physical and mental – that stress can bring in order to identify and manage them, before they become too overwhelming.