Stress Management

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The stress of change
The aim of this reflective assignment is to demonstrate how from my own experience, I have developed an understanding of the various elements associated with and which contribute to the development of stress within a changing workplace environment. There have been many different definitions of what stress is, whether used by psychologists, medics, management consultants or others. Bamber (2011) recognised that there seems to have been something approaching open warfare between competing definitions, views have been passionately held and aggressively defended.  What complicates this according to Toohey (1994) is that intuitively we all feel that we know what stress is, as it is something we have all experienced. A definition should therefore be obvious…except that it is not.   Hall (2004) stated that one problem with a single definition, is that stress is made up of many things: It is a family of related experiences, pathways, responses and outcomes caused by a range of different events or circumstances. Different people experience different aspects and identify with different definitions. For the purpose of this piece i will be focusing on stress experienced as a result of organisational change. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) identified change as one of the six key areas that can contribute to work related stress. Their key areas form the basis of Stress Management policies in many Organisations. Change is a significant factor that impacts on many health care professionals. In the continuous changing and developing world of healthcare, it is a high priority for healthcare providers to restructure and implement improvements with the latest technologies and systems, whilst managing resources carefully to ensure each innovation is cost effective. To achieve crucial savings there are reductions in staff numbers and resources but an expectation that teams will continue to provide the same level of care by finding new and improved ways of working, essentially doing more with less. In our Organisation many staff have faced redeployment due to changes as part of cost improvement initiatives. This has had a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the staff who have been moved to different areas to work. In August 2012 as part of my research I contacted the Trusts Occupational Health Department who confirmed that in the past twelve months there has been a substantial increase in the number of staff being referred to their services for stress related illnesses. From my own experience I understand the difficulties faced on both a personal and professional level when changing role. I learnt that professional confidence takes years to build up but only a very short time to lose. Loss of confidence as a result of change is not easily recognised by the individual according to Hoffman and Scott (2003). This will be the focus for this reflection, on the basis that stress and stress management is directly related to personal well-being and specifically to workplace well-being. The differences in personality types will be explored as part of gaining an understanding about the complexity surrounding the recognition of stress, and the various triggers that can be both internal or external. I will explore the different coping strategies and techniques that I utilised to build my resilience and critically reflect on whether any alternatives would have been more beneficial. Palmer, Cooper and Thomas (2003) recognised that the way in which change is introduced, managed and communicated to staff can impact on levels of stress, as unnecessary or badly planned change results in excess pressure on workers. Bamber (2011) stated that it would be easy to conclude when reading literature about stress, that it has universally negative consequences that should be eradicated from all areas of our lives, yet a certain degree of stress is a natural, normal and...
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