Managing Stress in the Healthcare Environment

In the modern day hectic life and society, one of the paramount things to do in an effort to remain healthy is to learn how to not only cope with, but also manage stress (Mcgowan, Dianne, & Fletcher, 2006). Bills will not stop coming, longer days with enough hours for individuals to run all their errands are not forthcoming while careers, bosses or family responsibilities continue being a bother. Stress can be defined as a normal reaction or response to any change, acting as a signal to both the body and mind to get prepared for an eventuality. Stress therefore throws a person off the balance in some way.

From the foregoing, the objective of this paper is to explore the various causes, signs, effects and approaches that can be applied to manage stress in a health care environment. 2. 0 Problem statement and literature review Recognition of when stress levels are getting out of control is usually paramount. This is particularly due to the fact that different people exhibit stress differently. Stress effects could affect the body, mind, behavior or even emotions. The most dangerous thing about stress is the ease with which it creeps up on a person while the list of signs and symptoms of stress is as big as everything.

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As such, psychologist connies Lillas uses a driving analogy to explain the popular three main ways that people respond when overwhelmed by stress (Melinda, Ellen, & Segal, 2008). While likening a stressing situation to when the foot of the driver is the gas pedal, the person feels agitated, charged, overly emotional and can not rest. With the foot on the brake pedal, the person is usually withdrawn, and shows little energy and enthusiasms. Lastly, likening the situation to a driver with both feet both pedals, the person looks frozen, less energetic and appears paralyzed.

Beneath the surface however, the person is usually agitated (Melinda, Ellen, & Segal, 2008). Such are the diverse conversions that people can be grouped into when under stress based on their signs. Different researches have been done on stress, with writers among them McNutt (2008), Melinda, S. (2008) and Harvey, S. (2009) focussing on stress and stress management notably in work environment. Working in a health care environment is not only taxing but also one that calls for one to have a positive mental attitude, calm and a peaceful mind as well as maximum soberness in order to survive in the healthcare environment (McNutt, 2008) .

In a working environment more so in the nerve racking health care environment, stress can have far reaching effects and from diverse directions. The body of a person does not distinguish between the psychological and physical threats. Whether it is a small heated argument with a friend, a traffic jam or a hectic schedule, the body reacts the same way as though threatened by death. On a positive note however, stress helps one to develop the resilience needed to rise to a demanding task. 3. 0 Proposed view and argument 3. 1 Cause of stress

The various situations and pressures that cause stress are called stressors. Stress in a health care environment can be caused by several stressors. The first and the main causative ones are emotions (Henle & Blanchard, 2008). With sickness comes effect on emotions either from the affected or infected person. In such an environment, the main people one interacts with are those in pain due to sicknesses or those whose emotions have been hurt out of their beloved sickness. Fine details about a stressing situation, such as how long it will take can often reduce stress.

Such information is however rarely readily available. For example, if one gets into a theater with a clear realistic picture of how long the surgery will take, a lengthy and a demanding surgery will be less traumatic. Breathe stopping emergencies that demand utmost competence and confidence are also common, which often require cooperation and support from fellow colleagues, family and friends. In this field, one is therefore extremely vulnerable to stress if they do not learn how to soothe and calm themselves as well as manage stress. 3. 2 Effects of stress

If not checked, stress in a healthcare environment can have far reaching effects. First, it causes decreased job satisfaction leading to less productivity. Absenteeism due to sicknesses and health challenges follow, coupled with human resource influx and the resulting effect is organizational inefficiency. Earlier literature attributed external forces as the main causes of stress but more recent ones hold a different view that whether internal, external or even work environment, all factors are potential sources and in the same magnitude.

Long term exposure to stressors, otherwise called chronic stress can cause serious health problems as it disrupts virtually every system in the body of an individual. The net effect is low immune system within the body, high blood pressure, increased vulnerability to heart attacks and stroke. In addition, it speeds up aging and contributes to infertility (Melinda, Ellen, & Segal, 2008). 3. 3 Management In the health care field, one may feel as if the stress is beyond control. Such is never the case as one can control the way they respond towards a strenuous situation.

Managing stress is all about taking charge of the emotions, thoughts, assignments and schedules, environment and ultimately your health (Melinda, Ellen, & Segal, 2008). Keeping a light and cheerful mood always, though may not be plausible, aiming for a positive working atmosphere does help a lot in improving the work conditions and making them more nourishing. Laying blames or harboring worries increases stress to a person. Blaming another person or lamenting will not only increase to a particular person but also other workmates.

The best approach is to turn such a challenge into a healthy discussion that can help unearth a solution. In addition, concentration on what can be done rather than what could possibly go wrong helps avoid panic especially in a medical setting where challenges that require positive way of thinking are ever eminent. Worry, panic and anxiety just like optimism, are contagious and can be transferred from one person to another either strengthening staff members or causing to paralysis in the entire force.

Exploring and thinking constructively and creatively can reveal that all problems have solutions. When working in the health care sector, one works with a team and not alone. While independence of mind is a treasured value in this field, consulting and brainstorming with another person helps a lot. Two heads are better than one while approaching a problem, as keeping a problem increases worry (McNutt, 2008). Mere verbalizing of a challenge or just taking a deep breath significantly makes the load of the worry lighter.

Breathing is the simplest of all the stress reduction techniques. In stress, breathing becomes limited and rapid. Taking a deep breath is an automatic and effective technique for winding down (Harvey, 2009). Taking a deep breath from the deepest part of the diaphragm brings in some energy to revitalize your body. Focusing on this at least twice a day could help to relax the body and also shed off stress. Keeping learning, more so in the field of health helps to reduce anxiety. One of the main causes of stress in this field is lack of competency, notably in the emerging challenges.

Stagnation often gives professionals in this field anxiety as they try to solve health problems using old and outdated approaches and solutions. Such professionals need to update themselves with relevant information, peruse medical journals, books, science magazines, online medical communities and other related material more often. Reading is also a way of meditating and can help relax the mind (McNutt, 2008). Learning broadens the thinking capacity of a person giving them new approaches and ways of thinking. Getting some air off the normal also helps a great deal.

This may take the form of exercising, while letting the mind relax. Spending the entire lifetime on a problem does not guarantee a solution and therefore, allow your mind to incubate the problem by letting the unconscious mull over the problem while allowing the conscious to relax (McNutt, 2008). New practitioners should however understand that it can be difficult to quiet the mind, and should not be discouraged by lack of immediate results (Harvey, 2009). In the process an individual is able to visualize, a technique of creating what one wants in life.

Visualization is based on the fact that the mind and body are connected and as such, any physical changes in the body imply changes in the mind as well. At the beginning, the skill of conscious visualization may be unfamiliar. It calls active rehearsing, as at first, the visualized images may be uncooperative, flickering off and on or disappearing altogether at the slightest of interruption. Harboring resentments especially in this field could be a perfect recipe for disaster and may act as an ever source of frustrations.

Health environment is a delicate environment and as such, accepting that we live in an imperfect world where people make mistakes is a big step towards eliminating stress. To manage stress, a medical professional needs to learn to forgive and let go of any resentments or anger. Being in a theatre where the patient never gets to walk out alive is no cause for resentment or emotional death. It is important for individuals in such an environment to be free from such negative energy by forgiving and moving on.

Other approaches that a medical practitioner could take include maintaining a sense of humor as well as doing something that they like besides their professional duties and other positive habits (Melinda, Ellen, & Segal, 2008). 4. 0 Conclusion Stress being a body reaction mechanism, is practically impossible to be completely eliminated. This is due to the fact that its sources are just as diverse as its symptoms among different individuals. However, it is possible to control the effect of stress.

By taking relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga and laughing, a person in the health care environment can reduce everyday stress levels and boost their feelings of joy and serenity. This would help them remain calm, collected and productive even under intense pressure. References Harvey, S. (2009). Stress – Lifestyle Changes. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://www. umm. edu/patiented/articles/what_some_specific_stress_reduction_methods_000031_7. htm Henle, C. A. , & Blanchard, A. L. (2008). The Interaction of Work Stressors and Organizational Sanctions on Cyberloafing.

Journal of Managerial Issues , 20. Mcgowan, J. , Dianne, G. , & Fletcher, R. (2006). Positive and Negative Affective Outcomes of Occupational Stress. New Zealand Journal of Psychology , 35. McNutt, B. (2008). The Healthcare Environment – Avoiding Conflict and Stress at Work. Retrieved May 27, 2010, from http://ezinearticles. com/? The-Healthcare-Environment—Avoiding-Conflict-and-Stress-at-Work&id=2279025 Melinda, S. , Ellen, J. G. , & Segal, R. (2008, December). Stress Management. Retrieved May 27, 2010, from http://www. helpguide. org/mental/stress_management_relief_coping. htm

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