Stress can be described as our body’s response to pressure. When work-related, it can cause people to have adverse reactions due to the excessive pressure or demands placed upon them. Everyone deals with stress differently, but long-term stress can have profound effects on our mental wellbeing. Nutrix Personnel are committed to helping our staff cope with stress and overcome the adversities they may face.

According to the 2022 NHS annual survey, 44.8 per cent of staff report feeling unwell because of work-related stress. It emphasises just how essential it is that we, as a healthcare staff provider, ensure all our workers can deliver high-quality patient care in a safe and healthy environment.


How we recognise stress and spot its early signs

There are many factors that can contribute to stress. Bereavement, divorce, or a long-term separation are all considerable causes of stress, but work can also play a major role in our overall stress levels. Individuals affected by work-related stress lose an average of 24 days of work due to ill health.

Intervening at an early stage is therefore vital in preventing illness or perhaps an unimaginable pressure. At Nutrix Personnel, all our consultants are trained to remain and alert and aware so they can look out for any early signs of stress. Listening to all our staff is essential to recognise if they appear out of character. We also look out for the following indicators:

  • Emotional signs – overreacting to situations, appearing overly sensitive or frustrated.
  • Aggressive behaviour – having any outbursts of anger or getting easily irritable.
  • Work performance – characteristic errors within their role or a lack of motivation.
  • Withdrawal – a drop off in contact with their consultant, leaving shifts early and absenteeism.

The human body can also react in strange ways to stress. You may experience nausea or headaches, as well as indigestion, shallow breathing, sweating, or even heart palpitations. Research has also linked long-term stress to gastrointestinal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).


The various forms of stress and how to manage them

Every single one of us can probably relate with some of the feelings mentioned above. Stress is a normal thing to experience but some people are affected considerably more than others. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it’s important to not only recognise that it may become a problem, but also think about the things you may be able to do to make a difference. Here are a few common forms of stress that may have affected you:

Burnout - a typical form of stress that refers to an emotional, mental, and physical state of exhaustion. It can be described as a feeling of ‘not enough’ and is a common health issue among healthcare professionals. Whether it’s a lack of energy, time, or enthusiasm, burnout can result in a poorer physical state and mental health problems.

Trauma – the emotional response we have to a stressful, frightening, or distressing event. The effects can be long-lasting and severely impact an individual’s life. Nutrix Personnel are mindful that some of our staff members may have experienced trauma and it’s our role to recognise this and ensure they have a caring and supportive network around them to support their work.

Moral Injury – Psychological distress which results from actions, or lack of them, that violate someone’s moral or ethical code. It can result in an individual feeling anger, guilt, or shame, which may then lead to PTSD, depression, and possibly suicidal thoughts. Encouraging people to discuss their feelings openly is critical to minimising the risks that come with moral injury.

All the above forms of stress can be associated with the symptoms mentioned earlier in this article. Here at Nutrix Personnel, we always encourage our staff to take control of their stress by taking the small steps towards the things that they can improve. By planning and setting realistic expectations, it can become a lot easier to prioritise the essential commitments and reduce the risk of feeling overwhelmed.

We also encourage all our workers to build supportive relationships outside of the workplace, eat healthily, be aware of the risks associated with smoking and drinking, and exercise regularly. Taking time out to relax and practice self-care is another great way to handle stress, especially if you can find the time to be mindful and meditate. In short, it’s sometimes good to put things into perspective and just be kind to yourself rather than seek out all the answers at once.


Seeking support and getting professional help when required

Nutrix Personnel are a huge advocate for investing in self-care and we’ve delivered a series of blogs related solely to improving your wellbeing. Look out for your colleagues and point them in the direction of wellbeing resources. Alternatively, go back-to-basics and bring acts of self-care into your daily routine. Connecting with loved ones, enjoying food, listening to music, or stroking a pet will all help to deal with rising stress levels.

If, however, you continue to feel overwhelmed by stress, then don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Getting the correct help can help you to start feeling better and a doctor should be able to advise you on the treatment and further help that you require. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CPT) is a form of therapy that helps individuals to think about stressful situations in a different way and can provide the ideal platform for you to talk about what causes you stress and seek out coping strategies.


Find the balance that works best for you

The exceptional team at Nutrix Personnel recognise that life as a healthcare professional can, at times, be extremely stressful and it’s why we actively promote our flexible working environment. As an agency nurse, you can take back control of your work-life balance, choosing the times that suit you most and making space for the other important things in life.

For more information on stress in the workplace, or to help you identify signs of stress, visit the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)’s stress in the workplace factsheet.


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