Nursing Assignment: Policy Brief on Psychosocial Risks for Medical Community
Task: For this nursing assignment, students will be asked to write an evidence-based policy to promote worker health, safety and wellbeing. Students will need to choose from a list of emerging occupational health and wellbeing issues and draw on current evidence, standards and best-practice guidance materials, legislation and regulations to support the workplace policy. In addition, students will need to attach a one-page policy brief. The policy brief should be a stand-alone document and NOT embedded in the policy. The policy brief should include a description of the issue being addressed by the policy, a message clearly indicating why the policy is needed and a summary of key points within the policy.
Well-defined policies and procedural systems are considered to be an important segment of organizations. Impregnable policies are essential to ensure that workers know how to perform tasks with diligence and confidence (Alalmai& Kofi, 2020). This assignment discusses the broad-level spectrum of policies and its implications at the workplace to ensure effective health and safety-mediated programs, particularly in the nursing community. These policies are of supreme importance to address the basic necessities of an organization. By reviewing the efficacy of protocols and organizational policies, a company can take the necessary actions to promote adherence to such systems (Bravo, Martínez& Ruiz, 2017). Policies provide adequate consistency and guidance in practices for registered nurses whose failure to comply places them, the patients, and also the organization at substantial risks. The following part of the assignment will highlight an issue among the nursing community and propose a policy brief to fulfill the needs of this community.
Chosen issue and its rationale
Psychosocial risks are among the most alarming challenges in workplace safety and health. Work-mediated stress is defined as a complex phenomenon that develops over time when numerous psychosocial risks and determinants coexist and interact. Psychosocial risks among the nursing community typically arise from poor work design, corporate management, the feeble social context that leads to negative mental stress and social outcomes including stress, depression, and burnouts. In turn, these challenging issues significantly inflict their effects on individual health, workplace, and also national economies (Badu et al., 2020). The healthcare setting is a continuous work process where all medical professionals including the registered nurses are burdened with tons of service responsibilities. Since promoting health and quality of life is the primary intent of healthcare professionals, they often encounter tremendous workload and conflicting demands from higher management. Besides, nurses often have to be on duty day and night to serve people with ailing health. Often the nursing community faces stress owing to:
- Lack of clarity on their assigned roles and duties.
- Poorly managed corporate system.
- Job insecurities.
- Improper communication and excessive service demand.
- Inadequate support and motivation from authorities.
Nurses experience stress when the job demands are excessive and more than their working capacity. It deteriorates their health and abilities to work productively. This compromises patient care and nurses fail to deliver services to the best of their abilities (Chetty, 2018). More importantly, such stress increases the attrition rate in many organizations. If the organization has a weak policy system, these issues will remain unnoticed and unresolved. While some of these pressures are normal, if it persists and affects an individual consistently, it will wreak havoc of the nurses’ health and well-being causing post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Hence, it is crucial for the management to address such issues via stern policies to maintain workplace productivity and nursing efficiency. This is aligned with the thorough maintenance of workplace health and safety (WHS) across such healthcare settings.
Description of the risks of the chosen issue
While considering psychosocial risks and duty-related stress, it is important to cast light on the range of risk factors that affect the psychological response of the nursing community in the workplace conditions. Firstly, a tremendous workload ceases the nursing ability to demonstrate efficient services. Secondly, the fear of tight and irreversible deadlines creates a humongous internal burden among professionals (Patro& Kumar, 2019). In the case of the registered nurses, such deadlines include a compilation of abundant medical reports and due submission to the physicians at all times. If nurses pursue duties without rest breaks and work towards coping with deadlines, it will enhance internal pressure and causes stress. Sometimes if the nurses are few in numbers, it causes a huge burden on the existing ones that create stress and results in inaccurate reporting.In the field of medicine, inaccurate documentation can have detrimental effects on the patients' life and well-being. Thirdly, improper working methods are another risk factor.
In such cases, even an efficient workforce will have a delay in task completion owing to insufficient facilities and undesirable features (Koval, 2016). Such stress factors are hazards on their own and are capable of making nurses more vulnerable to alarming disorders. Since the purpose of global healthcare is to serve people and promote their well-being, it is primarily important to have strict and impregnable policy systems within the organization that serve to reduce such risk factors. Not only that, a policy must be monitored and revised to ensure its effectiveness within a particular work unit. In this case, strict ongoing monitoring is essentially needed to review if the team adheres to the policies or violate them.
Responsibilities and duties of the concerned authorities
As mentioned earlier, it is the utmost responsibility of the authorities and management bodies to look out for each stakeholder of the healthcare unit (Fathi&Simamora 2019). In this regard, the role of a person conducting business or undertaking commonly abbreviated as PCBUis critical. A PCBU has the sole responsibility to ensure WHS among the professionals while at work. A PCBU has the legal duty to mitigate the risk factors that cause stress among the workers (Horton et al., 2018). His duty of care is also to guarantee that any work to be conducted by a healthcare staff does not have many risks to the safety of others. As per WHS legislation, the judicious role of authorities including PCBU is as follows:
i. They are responsible to maintain safe work systems and designs in healthcare settings.
ii. They are responsible to provide sufficient facilities and also assure thorough access to maintenance.
iii. They identify the risk factors, evaluate and prioritize the hazards, and are responsible to control such risks to eliminate unwanted workplace stress (Fiedler& McGreevy, 2016).
iv. They are responsible to impeccably monitor the medical professionals' health and workplace conditions to ensure consistent safety.
v. They are in charge of ensuring the proper handling and safe usage of all medical appliances within a healthcare setting (Australianbusiness.com.au, 2020).
vi. They review the efficacy of the formulated control measures implemented to reduce such risks.
Apart from this, the higher authorities including the officers also have a profound role to maintain WHS in this context. For example, a medical officer must ensure that the management of the workplace essentials is tightly controlled. Most importantly, an officer can provide effective leadership in case of health emergencies by providing expert suggestions on health promotion particularly in critical situations. If these issues are in place, the workplace condition for the nursing community will be favourable that reduces their psychosocial stress and workplace burden.
Strategies to address the issues at the workplace
Since the challenges pertaining to workplace stress compromises patient care and safety, well-defined strategies are needed to address these intricacies within the workplace through defined policies. Some of the most effective strategies include the following:
i. The management must ensure transparent communication with the nurses so that they can flexibly discuss their concerns and report problems without hesitation (Patro& Kumar, 2019). This releases some of their internal stress.
ii. The management must ensure that registered nurses have reasonable work pressure and deadlines. Unnecessary occupancy with additional burden limits the nursing efficiency which gets reflected in patient care (Fathi&Simamora 2019).
iii. The issue will be addressed through strategic approaches that reduce the monotony of workplace duties wherever appropriate. This might include recruiting more people to distribute the workload among a team and not just a few existing nurses.
iv. Such issues can be taken care of by imparting the best possible training to healthcare professionals. Supportive training will assist them to perform more accurately. The reason is if a registered nurse has sufficient access to education as well as training resources, it will significantly lessen the stressful aspects of the patient care activities (Thomas, Bantz& McIntosh, 2019).
v. The issue can be addressed by streamlining time-taking and stressful tasks. This can be improved by reducing unwanted manual documentation because a considerable portion of the work goes into unwanted paperwork in many rural healthcare settings. Thus, a digitalized system must be incorporated to reduce the burden of manual tasks and the nurses can focus on delivering patient care.
Emergency procedure to manage the issues
An employer requires a resilience attitude for emergency responses to workplace stress management. While the above-mentioned policy-based strategies are important, the procedures to manage the psychosocial risks among the nursing community must be strategized firmly especially during emergencies. These procedures must include strict administrative control and management support to define comprehensive roles among the team members especially during an uncertain or crisis period (Thomas, Bantz& McIntosh, 2019). The administrative team can seek professional advice from the Human resource department in this case.
Besides, stress can occur in many forms; hence if any indicator is present among any registered nurse, the first emergency response would be an informal conversation to acknowledge the challenges. Line managers can request for specialist HR advice to best assist the suffering member. Deploying from one emergency to the immediate next is a frequent happening in emergency activities (van der Riet, Levett-Jones& Aquino-Russell, 2018). Coping strategies including a temporary and manageable work schedule helps to handle unwanted stress during crisis situations. Recognizing the vital signs can be followed by a temporary break that will immensely address such needs.
Ensuring standard patient care denotes efficient work from healthcare professionals. For the medical team and registered nurses to perform well, it is imperative that all healthcare organizations adhere to the implementation of strict workplace policies to maintain the health and safety of the team. since the psychosocial challenges lead to severe deterioration of physical health and capabilities, a healthcare setting must set its priorities to reform its WHS policies to benefit the nurses in the best possible way. Apart from providing patient care, taking care of the professionals' needs is one of the primary responsibilities of healthcare employers. This is because if the healthcare professionals are suffering from unprecedented stress, they will fail to promote patient well-being and facilitate healthcare catastrophe which is not the ultimate goal of a healthcare unit. Considering the above-mentioned challenges, designing and implementing strong and robust healthcare policies is highly solicited to ensure that they best meet the stakeholders’ needs. This, in turn, will also improve the workplace objective to provide effective patient care.
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