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20th July 2021

Work Positive CI: Dealing with Workplace Stress

In Ireland, healthcare staff have reported high rates of anxiety and depression, particularly since the COVID -19 pandemic began. Evidence of long-term impacts such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia is emerging.

Causes of work-related stress are many and varied, caused by the nature and conditions of the work, and work-related relationships. Isolation at work is also a significant stressor for some.

Stress caused by the conditions in which an individual is expected to work, for example: shift work, understaffing, threats of violence or aggression, dealing with serious illness, injury or psychological distress.

Unprecedented levels of stress have been brought into stark focus during the pandemic, as healthcare staff at the frontline cared for patients who were unable to see their families, even, in some cases, as they lay dying.

Back in March 2020, the World Health Organisation highlighted the importance of the need to support healthcare workers through "a marathon, not a sprint". They gave simple suggestions, highlighting the importance of talking with colleagues and peers, giving less experienced staff access to mentorship and guidance, along with flexible schedules, and rotations in and out of higher stress roles.

It is well-documented that workplace stress is frequently a cause of sickness and absenteeism and can lead to increased turnover of staff.  All these factors can lead to compromised care quality, breaks in continuity of care which can adversely impact service users.

Work PositiveCI is a free, confidential, psychosocial risk management process for Irish employers. It involves a ‘whole workforce’ approach which can be rolled out over a three-to-six-month period and be re-used every few years. The process was created by the Health and Safety Authority in conjunction with the State Claims Agency and the Critical Incident Stress Network Ireland (CISM) and can assist in identifying and measuring psychosocial risk and providing guidance in addressing this.

Work PositiveCI helps employers comply with health and safety legislation at a national and European level. Staff surveys can be generated through the site, and it is free and compliant with date protection legislation.

More information is available at: www.workpositive.ie

Information about stress for employees is available from the HSA at: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/Publications_and_Forms/Publications/Occupational_Health/Work_Related_Stress_Information_Sheet.pdf

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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