The effects of mindfulness-based interventions for health and social care undergraduate students

Health and social care undergraduate students experience stress due to high workloads and pressure to perform | Psychology, Health & Medicine

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Consequences include depression and burnout. Mindfulness may be a suitable way to reduce stress in health and social care degree courses. The objective of this systematic review is to identify and critically appraise the literature on the effects of Mindfulness-Based Interventions for health and social care undergraduate students.

PubMed, EMBASE, Psych Info, CINAHL, The Cochrane Library and Academic Search Complete were searched from inception to 21st November 2016. Studies that delivered Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, or an intervention modelled closely on these, to health or social care undergraduate students were included. Eleven studies, representing medicine, nursing and psychology students met the inclusion criteria. The most commonly used measurement tools were; the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire and the General Health Questionnaire.

Short term benefits relating to stress and mood were reported, despite all but one study condensing the curriculum. Gender and personality emerged as factors likely to affect intervention results. Further research with long-term follow-up is required to definitively conclude that mindfulness is an appropriate intervention to mentally prepare health and social care undergraduate students for their future careers.

Full reference: O’Driscoll, M. et al. (2017) The effects of mindfulness-based interventions for health and social care undergraduate students – a systematic review of the literature. Psychology, Health & Medicine. Vol. 22 (Issue 7) pp. 851-865

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Enhancing Patient Safety Through Physician Health and Well-being Research.

Keeping medical practitioners healthy is an important consideration for workforce satisfaction and retention, as well as public safety | Journal of Patient Safety

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However, there is limited evidence demonstrating how to best care for this group. The absence of data is related to the lack of available funding in this area of research. Supporting investigations that examine physician health often “fall through the cracks” of traditional funding opportunities, landing somewhere between patient safety and workforce development priorities. To address this, funders must extend the scope of current grant opportunities by broadening the scope of patient safety and its relationship to physician health. Other considerations are allocating a portion of doctors’ licensing fees to support physician health research and encourage researchers to collaborate with interested stakeholders who can underwrite the costs of studies. Ultimately, funding studies of physician health benefits not only the community of doctors but also the millions of patients receiving care each year.

Full reference: Brooks, E. et al. (2017) Investing in Physicians Is Investing in Patients: Enhancing Patient Safety Through Physician Health and Well-being Research. Journal of Patient Safety: Published online: July 20, 20.7

NHS staff have become shock absorbers of an NHS under chronic strain

‘Behind Closed Doors’ argues that the hard truths learned through the Francis Inquiry are in danger of being forgotten in the light of unprecedented, continuing, and seemingly endless service pressures | The Point of Care Foundation

The Point of Care Foundation calls on organisations to prioritise staff experience and strengthen efforts to protect staff from stress and burnout, because the way staff feel at work affects the way they care for patients.

The briefing presents evidence on current pressures and staff experience:

  • From 2004-16, the number of attendances at A&E increased by 18%, from 12.7 million to 15 million.
  • Only one in two staff feel their NHS employer values them and their work.
  • 2% for health and social care staff suffer work-related stress anxiety and depression in the NHS compared to around 1.2% of the overall British workforce

The Point of Care Foundation wants to see every patient treated with kindness, dignity and respect all of the time, but in an environment in which staff themselves don’t feel cared about, it is hard to deliver personalised care.  A positive staff experience is fundamental if staff are expected to be at their best with patients.

Read the full report here

Does employees’ subjective well-being affect workplace performance?

This article uses linked employer–employee data to investigate the relationship between employees’ subjective well-being and workplace performance in Britain | Human Relations

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The analyses show a clear, positive and statistically significant relationship between the average level of job satisfaction at the workplace and workplace performance. The relationship is present in both cross-sectional and panel analyses and is robust to various estimation methods and model specifications. In contrast, we find no association between levels of job-related affect and workplace performance. Ours is the first study of its kind for Britain to use nationally representative data and it provides novel findings regarding the importance of worker job satisfaction in explaining workplace performance. The findings suggest that there is a prima facie case for employers to maintain and raise levels of job satisfaction among their employees. They also indicate that initiatives to raise aggregate job satisfaction should feature in policy discussions around how to improve levels of productivity and growth.

Full reference: Bryson, A. et al. (2017) Does employees’ subjective well-being affect workplace performance? Human Relations. Vol. 70 (no.08)

How to manage mental health at work

Speak openly with colleagues about your mental ill-health and try to build a workplace that’s mental health friendly, say the experts | The Guardian

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In recent months, a number of high-profile figures have spoken frankly about their experiences of mental health. Prince Harry has disclosed the anxiety and panic attacks he experienced following the sudden death of his mother, while former England cricketer Freddie Flintoff and rapper Professor Green have also both opened up about their mental health.

Experts welcome such open discussions on mental health, which has been a taboo subject for far too long. “It’s great that more people feel able to talk about their mental health,” says Madeleine McGivern, head of workplace wellbeing programmes at the charity Mind. “There is still a long way to go – especially in many workplaces – but things are definitely moving in the right direction.”

Hilda Burke, a psychotherapist, life coach and couples’ counsellor at her practice Hilda Burke Psychotherapy, agrees. She says there has been more awareness generally. “Several clients have come my way after their managers have offered to fund some short-term therapy.”

This move to more open discussions on the subject comes as two-thirds of British adults have admitted to having experienced mental ill-health at some point in their lives, according to research published by the Mental Health Foundation. In the Queen’s speech last month, the government set out details on how it plans to improve mental health services but failed to provide any further information on the additional 10,000 extra staff for the sector, as outlined in its manifesto.

Read the full news story here

Over half of sessional GPs suffer work-related stress

At least half of sessional GPs suffer from work-related stress, according to a new survey by the BMA | OnMedica

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The BMA reported that work-related stress has led more than one in ten sessional GPs to take time off work in the past year.

The BMA also found that a staggering 70% of locums would consider leaving the profession if a locum cap was introduced in general practice. It warned against anything – such as measures that harm locum pay – that could lead to an ‘exodus’ of locum and salaried doctors, who it said play a key part in solving the NHS’s current problems.

The BMA wanted to understand the issues that sessional GPs face, to ensure that its discussions with government accurately address their needs. So its sessional GP subcommittee conducted a UK-wide survey of salaried and locum GPs from 1st March to 6th April 2017.

Occupational health: the value proposition

Occupational health: the value proposition | Society of Occupational Medicine

This report provides a narrative synthesis of the evidence from the scientific and wider literature to help illustrate and publicise the benefits that occupational health services provide to employees, employers and to the economy.  The report is aimed at policy makers and commissioners of services and will form the basis of summary leaflets for employers and workers and their representatives.

One challenge is to overcome the view that occupational health services are a cost and do not contribute to the bottomline. However, occupational health services should be highly cost-effective provided that there is an effective skills mix; people work to their distinctive competencies and perform work that adds value.

Occupational health services improve the health of the working population, help prevent work-related illnesses, provide early interventions for those who develop a health condition thus preventing avoidable sickness absence and increase the efficiency and productivity of organisations.

Full report available here