Individuals in the healthcare field are no stranger to stress on the job. It is an everyday occurrence, one that comes with the demands and pressures of a profession filled with urgency and life or death situations. While an abundance of stress can compromise workers' health and mental stability, psychologists say that the right amount of extra pressure can be beneficial.

Stephen Josephson, a New York City psychologist, explained how coaches and sports psychologists have always advised athletes to be alert instead of relaxed right before an event. In fact, it's better if they have a little "juice" in their system to push performance.

However, finding the happy medium is not an easy feat. Nearly 40 million American adults - about 18 percent of the population - suffer from anxiety disorders, and only one-third of them seek treatment, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

A recent Medscape News article suggested instituting a stress management program (SMP), that would include sessions teaching time management and relaxation skills in order to alleviate stress.

"SMPs can rapidly reduce the symptoms of stress, such as anxiety and sleep disturbance, and have the advantage of being inexpensive and easy to implement," the article said.

One downside of these programs, though, is that they don't address the psychosocial stressors of the healthcare environment. Organization-focused interventions are more specific, and can highlight work unit conditions that feed stress.

As previously mentioned in this blog, technology is increasing everyday and becoming more prominent in healthcare fields. For example, the implementation of electronic medical records and the impending meaningful use requirements can cause added stress, as individuals are being pushed to learn and understand new systems.

Instituting pre-employment testing or even just a basic computer skills test can determine if an applicant will be able to properly handle the changing formats in the healthcare industry.

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