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The health and well-being of health care professionals including nurses are greatly influenced by workplace stress. Their emotional and physical well-being is affected hampering their overall efficiency along with negatively impacting their quality of life. Although stress is found to work as a motivating factor and improves people's performance, this lasts only up to a limit. After that, the demand and pressure of workplace lead to illness and injury and that is why it is important for nurses and other health professionals to develop resilience which is the ability to bounce up. This assignment is aimed to identify and examine the workplace factors that affect the mental health of nurses along with depicting strategies that may be implemented by nurses to develop self-resilience.
1.Examine Workplace Factors That Can Have an Impact on Nurses’ Mental Health
In the current era of globalization and industrialization along with rapid technological advancement, it is expected out of the employees to deliver better and quality services. This pressure of high-quality services for too long eventually affects the person's efficiency and also hampers his physical, emotional and social health. However, the degree of workplace stress varies from area to area where few professions especially the ones demanding quick and effective decision-making skills and more of human contact are the ones having the higher degree of workplace stress. Further, the impact of stress is also individualistic as few individuals get more anxious and stressful while others have the capability to bear and deal with high level of stressful conditions (Koinis, et al. 2015). Studies suggest that healthcare professions acquire higher positions in the list of most stressful professionals since they have the great responsibility of human lives and their actions and decisions have the major impact on their client's quality of life. But it is also a fact that not every healthcare profession has to go through stressful events. The ones in Intensive Care Unit, surgical department, oncology departments, etc are the ones with a higher stress that eventually affect their health, personal life, work performance and happiness (Moustaka, & Constantinidis, 2010).
Numerous causes of workplace stress have been identified for Healthcare professionals especially nurses. The first and foremost is the working environment that involves the physical environment, social and psychological environment (Kushwaha, 2014). The nurses are subjected to heavy performance pressure, work cautiously and cannot bear the risk of any error as it may have serious consequences on client’s health. The profession itself is extremely stressful since it is filled with ethical dilemmas, psychological quests and over that high pressure of meeting and fulfilling individual patient demand. At times, even the physical conditions are not appropriate with wrong lighting, ventilation and inadequate temperature levels that further contribute to stress. Another contributor to stress is interpersonal work relationships. Nurses have to suffer from and manage conditions like lack of staff support and support from higher rank staffs, deal with conflicts with co-workers or team members and adopt various vague roles at their workplace contributing to high level of emotional, social and psychological stress (Jahanian, et. al., 2012).
The anxiety and tensions of workplace affect the quality of care services delivered by the nurses and lead to poor satisfaction from the profession. This lack of satisfaction eventually affects their quality of life. Nurses are also expected to continuously communicate and interact with clients and their family members that too are potential stressors. There are various situations when nurses are unable to effectively communicate or answer their queries and such situations foster embarrassment, anger, desperation and fear among nurses and leads to frustration and complications (Jerng, et. al., 2017). Nurses are continuously facing challenges at workplaces where they need to stay updated, get compliant to use sophisticated technologies, manage work overload, do night shifts, face competition among hospitals, nursing shortage, do not have task autonomy and have a poor opportunity of advancements. All these causes make them emotionally exhausted and psychologically stressed.
Yet another cause of stress among nurses was found to be role characteristics of ambiguity and role conflicts. Many times, nurses are not clear of their duties and targets and have to face role conflicts as they have very different expectations from their profession and are made to work very differently. They further face a lack of recognition or have to resolve conflict priorities that make them stressful (Iyi, 2015). Moreover, the nursing profession is filled with the risk of infections or injury as they stay in close contact with infected blood and body liquids and are at risk of getting injured from infected sharp instruments that are also serious stressors affecting their mental health.
2.Discuss Two (2) Evidence Based Strategies that Nurses can Implement to Build Self-Resilience.
Following the identification of these workplace factors that act as the potential cause of stress among nurses, the requirement of nurses to have more patience and ability of self-resilience becomes very much essential. Resilience is the ability to adapt oneself to strongly face adverse life situations and self-resilience is one's own efforts to bounce back to the stressful situation. Thus, in order to address high workplace stress of nursing profession, the student nurses must be educated and taught about the effective ways of managing stress (Turner, 2016). One of the strategies to be self-resilient and cope well with stress is to have reflective skills. Nurses must learn and adopt the reflective ability to identify personal strengths and limitations.
Reflective ability is the capability of a person to self-assess his own performance and growth by identifying one’s strengths, weaknesses and by comparing his current growth with the previous one. By being reflective, the person becomes self-aware and develop the better coping mechanism and problem-solving skills. Their overall resilience improves and the person engages to continuously improve his performance (Hart, et. al., 2014). Several studies have depicted that with regular reflection, nurses are found to tackle their intractable difficulties in a better way and resilient behavior is fostered. By improving emotional literacy, enhancing empathy and facilitating the supportive interpersonal relationship, reflective abilities greatly help the nurses to enhance emotional resilience and overcome workplace stress. Thus, nurses should be encouraged to engage in regular self-reflection and make it a habit in their regular practice (Qin, et al. 2014).
Another essential strategy to build self-resilient in nurses is found to be supervision. The clinical nurses must be well supervised that helps them to get a safe environment in which they can effectively reflect upon their practice and also identify their emotional issues and reactions to get a solution to manage them appropriately. Research has been done to depict that effective supervision assists nurses to have the better coping mechanism and problem-solving skills and develop a goal-oriented perspective that eventually helps in developing resilience (Grant & Kinman,2014). In fact, supervision also helps in developing emotional intelligence which is the ability to motivate oneself, control impulses, regulate moods and retain hope in adverse situations to effectively retain thinking abilities. Thus, it can be said that supervision is beneficial in combating workplace stress. Supervision session involves nurses to reflect upon their emotional reactions while practicing along with their own assessment of the situation. Following it, they are given feedback on their behaviors and actions and are suggested better and alternate ways of managing same situations. Such sessions help in building nurses' self-confidence, motivate them to learn, enhance their sense of professional identity and improve their stress management abilities. But for this, the nurses themselves must understand the significance and purpose of supervision, must cooperate well and must commit to personal development, only then it can prove to be beneficial.
Nurses should be encouraged to have reflective supervision and to establish the effective social connection with their colleagues and team members to be more resilient towards high workplace stress (Chesak, et al. 2015). It can be said that nursing profession is filled with the high level of workplace stress that negatively affect the mental health of nurses and in order to overcome this stress and cope up, the nurses need to be self-resilient (Saha, et. al., 2011). Further, to be self-resilient, nurses must engage themselves in regular self-reflection practice and nurses must be well supervised to meet the emotional demands of their profession and have a better quality of life.
Working in helping professions is always emotionally demanding and so is healthcare professionals. Nurses, doctors and other staff have to face and manage high level of workplace stress that leaves them ‘burn out'. They are supposed to manage complex and uncertain situations, do not have control or adequate support and have to continuously interact with service users that make their life full of stress. Over that the pressure of delivering quality services without making errors or mistakes as human lives are in their hands increases the pressure and makes them further stressed. This workplace stress contributes to voracious physical and mental health issues and affects the quality of life of these professionals. Therefore, it has been suggested that nurses are educated and assisted to develop self-resilience which is the ability to bounce back in challenging situations and for that reflective abilities and effective supervision are found to be an essential strategies.
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