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Medical workers at risk for injury due to stress and overwork

When healthcare workers are exposed to hazardous or otherwise stressful conditions at work, both workers and patients may potentially suffer significant consequences. Unfortunately, a recently released report indicates that rising rates of medical personnel injured at work, increasingly stressful working environments and other dangerous factors are becoming the norm within the medical community.

The National Patient Safety Foundation's Lucian Leape Institute released its report on the link between dangerous and stressful working conditions and quality of patient care last month. The report's findings clearly indicate that hazardous working conditions for healthcare workers directly impact patient safety and patient care.

The roots of this link are numerous. Among them is the simple fact that if healthcare providers are unduly stressed or suffering from occupational illness and injury, they have decreased capacity with which to focus on their patients. In addition, overworking healthcare providers also limits their ability to care for each patient adequately.

The Institute's chair Dr. Leape explained that "One of the ways you show respect for people working health care is by paying attention to the basic safety of the workplace. It's really horrendous that the delivery of health care, in hospitals specifically, is one of the most hazardous places to work in the country." The report highlights the fact that the occupational injury rate for healthcare providers is more than 30 percent higher than the average private industry injury rate in America.

This report underscores the importance of keeping healthcare employees safe for the benefit of both workers and patients. Until more urgent attention is paid to this issue, both groups will suffer needlessly.

Source: amednews, "Warning sounded on demoralized health care work force," Kevin B. O'Reilly, Mar. 18, 2013

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