As a physio, you're by no means alone if you're feeling stressed at work. What can you do to help yourself and colleagues?
A national stress survey conducted by the CSP several years back found that most physios believe they are suffering from work-related stress. And while stress itself is not an illness, prolonged and excessive exposure can lead to health problems including depression and heart disease.
The CSP survey also found that 37% of members considered their stress levels to be unacceptably high. And 25% considered themselves to have been harmed by their experience of work-related stress.
Occupational stress is a health and safety issue like any other workplace hazard
Our information paper for members on workplace stress explores the issue in more detail. It explains what the effects of stress are and what the law has to say about it. It also has a model stress policy, a survey to help CSP safety reps gauge its extent amongst members, and guidance on how to tackle it.
The CSP also has advice sheets for members on job demands, dealing with change, role conflict and getting support.
Stress case studies
CSP safety rep and clinical specialist physio Julia Smith helped solve a problem where lack of space in her department was causing stress. She lobbied for 'lunar' days to be introduced, whereby staff involved take one day off in every ten.
Julia explains: 'to address the problem we introduced lunar days and four-day weeks, sent staff out to work in local GP's surgeries and installed extra benches to create more workspace. This alleviated stress and made staff feel their concerns had been listened to and acted on'.
CSP safety rep Claire Smith found a solution to the stress levels her members experienced by negotiating protected time for each department. Instead of being expected to see more patients, staff time is protected to:
- address issues that are causing stress such as tidying up the work area
- learn more about processes, and where individuals and departments fit in
- allow for debriefing sessions so staff don't take problems home with them
A quarterly 'stress meeting' also takes place with representatives from each department to discuss particular areas of stress and solutions with management.
Find out more
Download CSP member stress at work briefings. This set of documents covers demands of the job, dealing with change, role conflict, support, bullying, and the work environment.
Other useful guidance on stress can be found on the ACAS and HSE websites: