Stress and the Health Care Professional Stress and the Health Care by MikeJenny



 Stress and the Health Care                                      Maury West, LGSW
        Professional                                            Social Work Director
                                                         Alabama Department of Public Health

Satellite Conference and Live Webcast
       Wednesday, May 19, 2010
      8:00-9:00 a.m. Central Time
  Produced by the Alabama Department of Public Health
  Video Communications and Distance Learning Division

                Objectives                              Stressors in the Work Place
• Identify three stressors in the helping               • Deadlines
                                                        • Clients
• Identify four effects unresolved
                                                        • Covering for others
 stress has on the body and mind
                                                        • Meetings
• Identify four stress management
                                                        • Time management
 techniques that can be used at work
 or at home                                             • Clients’ Families

           Other Stressors                                          Other Stressors
• More responsibilities than they can
                                                        • Traffic
                                                        • Personal appointments
• Needing to complete routine tasks
 that have little intrinsic value                                  p
                                                        • Child or parent vare

• Being expected to work long hours
• Unclear job expectations
• Inability to balance professional and
 personal life


         What is Stress?                         Levels of Stress
• Conditions that cause physical,       • Eustress
 psychological , or emotional strain
                                        • Distress
• Something we all experience, but
                                        • Traumatic Stress
 social workers are at risk

• Stress can be positive or negative

              Eustress                               Eustress
• Coined by Dr. Hans Selye              • Give an example of eustress in your
• Eustress is the result of everyday     life
 occurrences that causes minimum
 disruption to our lives

• Disappears when the event is over

• Energizes and motivates

              Distress                           Traumatic Stress
• Result of less frequent, but fairly   • Stress resulting from a catastrophic
 common events in our lives              event

• Events that take over our lives               ,
                                        • Combat, terrorist events

• Significant disruption occurs         • Natural disasters

• May take longer to return to a        • Those who experience this are
 relatively normal state                 changed forever in some manner


  The Concept of Stress is                  The Physiology of Stress
       Controversial                      • Good Stress
                                            – The good stress allows us to
• It’s not as simple as once thought
                                              perform at a higher level (fight or
• Everyone perceives stress differently       flight)
• Stress is geographic and culture          – The production of cortisol
 based                                        improves memory and enhances
                                              immune function
                                            – Spikes in blood pressure flood our
                                              muscles and brain with oxygen

  The Physiology of Stress                            Work Stress
• Bad Stress-overload
                                          “Stress measured by blood pressure
  – The allostatic system becomes
                                          increases is generally twice as high
    charged too frequently with NO
                                          during the work day compared to when
    CHANCE TO VENT the build up of
    energy                                at home or time off.”
                                                                         (Pickering, 2005)
  – Too much cortisol will damage
    memory, hurt or weaken your
    immune system and enlarge your

           Work Stress                            Traumatic Stress
• The worst work-related stress is        • The disaster situation-fear, grief,
 caused by jobs where people have          pain, uncontrollable conditions
 little control over activities and the
                                          • Loss, death, gruesome scenes,
 rate at which they have to address
                                           screams, heat/cold, water
• This is inherent in disaster work       • The community/social response (or
                                           lack of)


      Physical Effects of                 Emotional Effects of
      Unresolved Stress                    Unresolved Stress
                • Nausea                         • Anger
                • Tics and tremors               • Irritability
                • Increased blood                • Sorrow
                                                 • Anxiety
                • Heart Racing
                                                 • Uncontrolled crying
                • Headaches

    Behavioral Effects of                 Cognitive Effects of
     Unresolved Stress                    Unresolved Stress
               • Impulsive Behaviors             • Confusion
               • Pacing                          • Lack of
               • Withdrawal and                    concentration
                 isolation                       • Indecisiveness
               • Explosive episodes
                                                 • Forgetfulness
               • Depression

    Helping Professionals                 What Can You Do?
• Helping professionals are generally                      • Learn
  self sacrificing
                                                           • Be Aware
  – Many place themselves in danger
                                                           • Monitor
  – Many will work until it hurts
  – Many will skip breaks                                  • Think

  – Many will ignore/fight direction to                    • Practice
    rotate assignments, go off duty or                     • Change
    take benefit time even when
                                                           • Manage


       What Can We Do?                        What Can We Do?
• Organizational Prevention            • As a supervisor or yourself these
  – Provide training
                                         – Am I a stressor in the work place?
  – Utilize a buddy system
                                         – Do I dictate, coach or mentor?
  – Initiate and encourage breaks
                                         – Do I correct employee behavior in
  – Allow time for persons who have
                                          front of others?
   experienced loss or trauma
                                         – Do I “stir the pot”?
  – Direct self care activities

       What Can We Do?                     Prevention - Personal
  – Does my ego fill the room when I   • BE AWARE of limitations and needs
                                       • Recognize when you are
  – Do I bring all of my personal
                                         – Hungry
   baggage to work with me?
                                         – Angry
                                         – Lonely
                                         – Tired
                                       • Practice Self Care

              Self-care                                Tools
• Maintain support systems-personal
                                       • Interrupt the stress response
  and professional
• Use benefit time-take vacations      • Reduce the reaction

  – Schedule personal time               – Use cognitive messaging
• Maintain boundaries                    – Thought stopping
• Maintain a balance                     – Thought insertion
  – Practice stress management         • Practice turning down the emotion
    exercises during breaks and
    opportune moments                  • Resume normal activity level


What You Do To Relieve Stress!                                   Tools
                                              • Try acupuncture, art, awareness, create,
                                                cook, dance, dream, draw, exercise, enjoy,
                                                explore, go home, kick-box, laugh, limit
                                                work, loosen up, listen to music, massage,
                                                meditate,         yoga paint,         pet,
                                                meditate practice yoga, paint pet the pet
                                                sing, sit quietly, sleep, start a book,
                                                stretch, talk to yourself, family and
                                                friends, wade, walk, watch a bug, or a
                                                movie or the sunset, whistle, wish
                                              • Do something other than WORK

 Perspective and Commitment                      Tips for Stress Success
 • Be realistic

 • Commit to implementing self-care

 • Recognize that the world won t fall
   apart without you



    Tips for Stress Success                      Tips for Stress Success
  There are over eighty muscles in the
  face. That is eighty muscles that can
  shift you into a good mood right now.
  G on. You can do it. Do it for no reason.
  Go      Y        d it D    f
  Smile because you can. Smile because
  you are alive. Smile because you are
  breathing. Smile because you are the
  only one of you. Smile because you
  know what makes you smile!                          GET REFRESHED


   Tips for Stress Success                          Tips for Stress Success
 Drink a glass of cool water. Even the
 slightest level of dehydration can
 contribute to feelings of higher stress.
 You might experience a slight headache
 and even a mild sense of nausea when
 your water level is low.

                                                      RELAX YOUR EYES

   Tips for Stress Success                          Tips for Stress Success
 Take a moment to close your eyes
 and hold your palms over them.
 Enjoy the feeling of darkness and
 soothing calm. Still your mind and
 turn all of your focus towards
 calming and relaxing your eyes. It
 only takes a few minutes to feel calm,
 refreshed and ready to see things                        WRITE IT OUT
 with a new view!

   Tips for Stress Success                            Contact Information
• WRITE IT OUT                                           Maury West, LGSW
• Close your door and ignore the phone.                 Social Work Director
  Grab a piece of paper and start writing        Alabama Department of Public Health
  whatever comes to your mind. This is just                  (334)206-3383
  for your eyes. Write furiously for 10
  minutes. Keep writing and don’t look
  back, edit, correct, change or delete. Write
  any size, any topic, anywhere. Now stop
  and take a look. This is your thinking.        Special thanks to April Naturale, LCSW
  Take a deep breath and enjoy having it           for information from her dissertation
  outside instead of inside your head.                on Secondary Traumatic Stress


     Publications Website                           Have a Great Day!
• National Mental Health Information Center
• National Center for Posttraumatic Stress
• Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue Test         STRESS TIP OF THE WEEK
                                              Stress needs an outlet. When you don’t
                                               find a healthy one, it will find its own.


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