How can we prevent understaffing and support professional issues in health and social care?
Managing disease and illness is just one facet of effective health and social care practice. Additionally, promoting worker health and well-being is equally important to promoting a health population and supporting its social needs. Examples of contemporary issues face health and social care professionals include ensuring that professional needs are met, meeting staffing needs, ensuring that workers are adequately compensated and satisfied with their positions and that they experience a high enough quality of life to deliver effective health and social care. Recent evidence suggests that strains in the budget and closures of many health care services have led to a heightened demand on existing health and social care professionals. This demand has led to higher levels of stress, reduced job satisfaction and greater levels of attrition amongst these professionals. The UK can scarcely afford to lose quality professionals within its health and social care system, and equal attention will need to be placed on retaining existing professionals as educating and training new ones in order to manage growing modern health and social care issues. Little research attention has been placed on the psychological effects of health and social care work, although professionals in the field have reported increasingly high levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and burnout within their positions as the health and social care crisis pervades. Mental health workers and those involved in palliative or end-of-life care are particularly susceptible to these psychological traumas. Promoting health and social care worker quality of life will require creative solutions by leaders in the field. Collaboration, fostering more effective communication, proper staffing and promotion of new professionals and offering psychological counselling for health and social care workers are all strategies that may be effective in managing this issue.
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