Of all the occupations in the world, it appears as though healthcare workers from doctors and nurses through to technicians and support staff seem to be exposed to the greatest level of work-related stress. There are several reasons for this and although it is obvious that something needs to be done to help our overburdened healthcare professionals alleviate some of the common causes of stress, the changes necessary will be slow in coming. Here is some of what several verifiable studies found, followed by suggestions for hospital administration to help reduce stress at their facilities.

Why So Much Stress?

It doesn’t take a master’s degree in health administration (although it helps!) from Ohio University to see the dilemma the world is facing in terms of the severe shortage of healthcare workers. Not only are most hospitals and clinics understaffed, but they are working with a budget that is less than necessary to meet the growing needs hospitals are faced with. In an effort to meet with the restrictive regulations of the Affordable Care Act, hospital budgets have been cut to a bare minimum. There are insufficient funds to hire more doctors and nurses, even if they could be found and as for updating technology, that’s a dream most administrators know they must awaken from.

How to Help Hospital Staff Reduce Stress

Knowing that you can’t do much about keeping the population down at your hospital because people continue to get sick enough to be hospitalized, and knowing that you don’t have the budget to hire new permanent staff, here are a few things you, as an administrator can do:

  1. Periodically break your staff with temps. Calling on nursing registries to give your full-time nursing staff periodic extended days off will do much to reduce levels of stress.
  2. Keep the lines of communication open so that workers feeling the crunch can come to you for solutions. Sometimes it isn’t too large a work load or long hours but procedural issues which can easily be resolved with a simple administrative decision!
  3. Offer classes in relaxation and guided imagery. Help your staff learn to cope with breathing techniques that work to relax the muscles, which in turn, can put them in a better place mentally.
  4. Add to support staff such as nurse assistants and aids who can be trained to take some of the work load off your RNs. Their rate of pay is much lower, so you can increase that portion of the staff without overextending your budget beyond rec
  5. Work with community groups on fundraisers that make funds available for better technology which can bring healthcare into the 21st Century in your hospital. Many of the time-consuming tasks can be automated, giving your team extra time to deal with patients.

What many studies found is that efforts made so far are only minimally successful in reducing stress among healthcare workers. As a hospital administrator with a degree from Ohio University MHA Online you know that only too well. What you can do is work towards public awareness that there is a shortage of healthcare professionals while encouraging young people to enter the profession. It may get worse before it gets better, but in the meantime, seek ways to keep stress levels minimized so that your staff is more efficient at what they do. It’s a high stress job, so even small steps go a very long way.