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Stressed Employees Need HR Resources, Boundaries

Lena J. Weiner, for HealthLeaders Media, March 17, 2014

While most human resource professionals are good listeners and genuinely want to help employees struggling with the stresses of balancing work and life, they cannot take on the role of a mental health provider.

Americans seem to be more stressed out than ever before. Lack of job security, decreased compensation, and increased workloads are pervasive across most industries. But is it the responsibility of human resources professionals to step in and help employees de-stress, and if so, how far should they go?

Healthcare workers are especially vulnerable, in part due to industry consolidation, pressure from eroding reimbursements, and seismic changes 'introduced by the PPACA, including the push for implementation of EHR systems and the transition to ICD-10. All of these stressors come in addition to the already highly emotional nature of helping the sick and injured.

A February 2014 study by MiracleWorkers.com and Career Builder found that healthcare workers are the most stressed workers in America. Seven out of 10 (69%) of employees said they're "stressed" and 17 percent said they're "highly stressed." By contrast, in manufacturing, an industry that has seen many losses in recent decades, only 55 percent of respondents said they were "stressed" and 10 percent "highly stressed."

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2 comments on "Stressed Employees Need HR Resources, Boundaries"


M Burbary (3/20/2014 at 9:43 PM)
I was struck in the face by a surgeon. No one witnessed it. Later that same morning he had a major melt down that everyone saw. When his assault was reported, I was moved to another site and life has gone on as usual for him and I have a long commute. My word against his according to HR. So much for zero tolerance for violence. Nobody cares, don't let anyone kid you.

Michael Cylkowski (3/17/2014 at 5:40 PM)
"Stress can kill you" says O'Keeffe, but then again she says, "HR needs to have healthy boundaries." Eh? Your company's culture is often the stressor so do something about it. Where are all these supposedly wonderful 'wellness programs'? A large part of the ACA is to get patients to adopt healthy behaviors. It seems the healthy behavior here would be for the employee to walk away from the stressor. Surely O'Keeffe realizes that providing professional counseling is cheaper than recruiting and retraining replacements.