Articles Like This Are Depressing Me

Knock me Over with a Feather Department: an article by a “health care executive”.

Depression in nurses is depressing me

[snip]

A study in the May 4 Journal of Clinical Psychiatry looked at the relationship between bed occupancy rates and absenteeism and found that those working in units that were 10 percent more crowded than the optimal rate had twice the rate of depressive illness than their counterparts in less crowded units.

The second study, appearing in the May 19 issue of Health Policy, is based on data from the 2005 National Survey of the Work and Health of Nurses in Canada. While looking at absenteeism in general, the report notes that depression is a “significant determinant” for missed work among RNs and LPNs, and that those who work in a hospital are more likely than those working in other settings to miss work.

[snip]

Who’d’ve thunk? And also:

Healthcare workers are like firefighters: They do dirty jobs, look death in the eye every day and celebrate the joys of life, too–rescuing a kitten or delivering a baby. So why does the firefighter culture thrive? Low attrition? People clamoring to get in? Firefighters face their mortality every day and they have created a culture where they can talk about it, release it, joke about it and move on. The fire house is their community, their home.

Healthcare workers do their job and take it home with them. When they are burned out, they leave. Firefighters are treated like heroes; healthcare workers not so much. So part of it, in my opinion, is building cultures that recognize this and help people release the fear and anxiety. That is not part of any rewards and recognition system. It goes fundamentally deeper.

Nice rhetoric. And maybe even true. Unfortunately the author, having mastered the dark arts of Health Care Administration, doesn’t actually address the obvious fundamental issues like, um, staffing and quality of nursing work life.

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