‘I am struggling’ – how workload, hours and stress were overwhelming OH even before coronavirus

first_img Previous Article Next Article ‘I am struggling’ – how workload, hours and stress were overwhelming OH even before coronavirusBy Nic Paton on 4 Sep 2020 in Blood pressure, Stress, Mental health conditions, Clinical governance, OH service delivery, Occupational Health, Personnel Today According to SOM, many OH professionals feel they have little option but to work late to keep on top on their workload Occupational health practitioners were stressed, overworked and exhausted even before the coronavirus pandemic, a SOM survey has concluded. Nic Paton looks at what is going wrong for the profession in terms of work demands and hours when it comes to appointment, time and report-writing management. Amid fears that occupational health could be overwhelmed during this half of the year by the scale, complexity and sheer multitude of the health, wellbeing and practical operational challenges facing it as we move through the coronavirus pandemic, the pressures, stress and demands being put on practitioners are well and truly in the spotlight.These pressures were brought into sharp relief by a recent survey carried out by SOM (the Society of Occupational Medicine), which concluded that, even before the pandemic, practitioners were feeling under almost constant deadline pressure, were often having to complete work out of hours, were stressed and lacking in work-life balance, and often felt under-valued or exhausted, or both.Looking in more detail at the findings, the survey of approximately 140 SOM members (therefore encompassing both occupational health and occupational medicine practitioners) started off by asking respondents how much time on average they were given for an initial OH referral appointment.More than half (57%) said they got a full hour, with a quarter (25%) getting 45 minutes. The rest were evenly spread, with 3% each saying they got 30 minutes, 75 minutes, and an hour-and-a-half respectively. As to whether people with satisfied with this time allocation, the split was broadly two-thirds satisfied (61%) to one-third not (33%).‘Making up’ in personal timeHowever, despite this positivity overall, when the survey dug a little deeper it was clear many respondents felt under growing time and workload pressure, and were often “making up” in their personal time.As one put it: “Cases are becoming more complex and my view would be a standard appointment is 90 minutes and any mental health case is allocated additional time – two hours.”“Usually cases are multiple co-morbidities/complex and often need 40 minutes to carry out the consult and 20 minutes is just not enough time to complete clinical paperwork and write a good quality report. I usually end up writing reports in my own time, which is not good for work-life balance,” said another.This pressure to take work home or work out of hours was also highlighted by another respondent. “It is impossible to undertake a remote telephone consultation and write the report within the time allocated. I am expected to undertake eight consultations a day over 7.5 hours. On Friday I worked until midnight. I frequently work until 20.00. No paid overtime.”When asked whether the time allocated for the referral also included time for report writing, nearly three quarter (73%) agreed yes it did. However, for those who answered “no”, more than half (52%) said they were not given any allocated time during the day for report writing. A tenth (11%) were allowed 30 minutes and 4% each were given an hour to an hour-and-a-half respectively. This parsimony also taking its toll, as one respondent pointed out.“I always work one to two hours each day outside of my work hours to complete the work required and this is not due to poor time-management skills“I always work one to two hours each day outside of my work hours to complete the work required and this is not due to poor time-management skills, it’s the complexity of the cases and time to assess the employee that is challenging in the timescales given.”Another highlighted how they were normally given just 15-20 minutes to write, check and publish their report and complete any onward referrals, for example to physiotherapy or counselling, adding: “It is unachievable, particularly when having very high audit criteria for reports (and rightly so), but when doing seven/eight cases in a day the pressure is too much and causes stress.”Around half (54%) were provided further time for administration, but, for many again, their allocations were (as one said) “completely inadequate”, with most only getting 30 minutes to an hour (both 38%) at most.One respondent explained, they got just 30 minutes a day to prepare for cases, finish reports, make onward referrals, complete referral forms, undertake general administration and answer emails, adding there was “never enough time to complete everything that is required.”When it came to health surveillance work, three-quarters of hour to an hour was average for about a quarter of respondents (24% and 23% respectively), although 18% got half an hour and 3% were allocated just 15 minutes.The most common tasks undertaken in this context were taking blood pressure and heart rate (70%), measuring height and weight (80%), BMI (63%), blood sugar (10%), urine analysis (40%), vision assessments (70%), review of health questionnaires (80%), musculoskeletal assessment (50%), HAVS (up to tier 2) (43%), skin checks (60%), audiometry (73%), and spirometry (83%).Again, the consensus was broadly dissatisfied with the amount of time allocated for this work (69% dissatisfied to 24% satisfied). A common complaint was there was often little, if any, leeway given for, if example, repeat checks had to be carried out because of a concern being flagged or someone presenting with a more complex issue. Or, as one respondent also simply highlighted: “There seems to be a belief that it’s best to push as many through as possible and often people are late.”Box-ticking and pushing people throughTo conclude, the survey painted a picture of practitioners working under intense time and cost pressure and, to an extent, often under pressure just to be ticking boxes and pushing people through.The knock-on effect was not just the impact this was having on the quality of care and intervention practitioners felt they were able to deliver, but also practitioners’ own health and wellbeing.As one respondent put it: “We need to practice what we preach to clients and make workloads manageable, with a focus on job satisfaction and quality service rather than churning out numbers to continually exceed/increase profits at the expense of dedicated staff.”“Our own health and safety is at risk from not having time to take a postural break or use the bathroom. No time for support after a tough case and no time to support colleagues,” added another.Or, as one rather plaintively concluded: “Exhausted and overworked. I am 67 almost 68 so struggling.” Related posts: Mable Chiwaridzo 9 Sep 2020 at 7:12 pm # One Response to ‘I am struggling’ – how workload, hours and stress were overwhelming OH even before coronavirus CPD: How to build and embed resilience within your workplaceIn the final article of her three-part series, Catherine D’Arcy-Jones examines some tools and resources OH practitioners can use to… Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Comment Name (required) Email (will not be published) (required) Website The article outlines real issues that are prevalent within our area of work. I also wonder how many stress related cases can be considered as the maximum number per day a practitioner can take. Surely this should be looked into before we get a generation of OH fatalities Reply Together alone: staying well as OH practitioners in challenging timesDr Nerina Ramlakhan explains how occupational health professionals can balance supporting the health needs of employers and employees while, at…last_img read more

Engineers Without Borders builds well for town in Cameroon

first_imgOver winter break, six students from the Notre Dame chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-ND) traveled to Sangmélima, Cameroon, to complete construction of a sanitary hand-pumped well, giving the village access to a reliable source of clean water for the first time. The completion of the well marks the culmination of over four years of fundraising, research and planning by the students in EWB-ND, whose chapter was started six years ago.Sarah Drumm, junior and co-president of EWB-ND, said a rural women’s association in Sangmélima applied to the national Engineers Without Borders organization for a group of students to help with a water project.“There are other wells in the area, but I’ve been there, and most of the water is contaminated with bacteria that are incredibly harmful,” Drumm said. “It’s very visible — people there get sick all the time from water-related diseases.”According to the EWB-ND website, this is the third time students have traveled to Sangmélima. In 2014 and 2016, students visited the village on assessment trips, allowing them “to sample local water sources to gauge need, survey potential sites for the well, interview contractors, teach hygiene and women’s health programs, and build relationships with community leaders,” the website said. All funds for the project were raised by the EWB members. Prior to the most recent two-week trip over winter break, EWB selected and hired a Cameroonian contractor to begin construction.“It was about 90 percent done when we came,” Drumm said. “… We built the pad that goes around the well and a cinder-block wall. When we left, we had assisted in that part, and the well was done. Before we had even finished with the construction, people were coming in the morning to draw water.”In addition to the implementation aspect of the trip, the students also continued their assessment mission in Sangmélima.“We did a lot of education, and we had a meeting with the community to present the well to them, to show them how to operate it, to explain why it was clean water and why it is important to drink clean water, as well as a lot of interaction with the school there,” Drumm said.“The well is actually located on the school campus of Alfred and Sarah Bilingual Academy, which has students from grade 3 to age 25, and we did hygiene programs with them to teach them the importance of hand-washing and using a latrine and drinking clean water. We also did some interviews with people in the community to figure out what other needs they have beyond this water well that [EWB-ND] can address in the future.”Junior and fellow EWB-ND co-president Claire Nauman said the club’s goal is to make sure its projects are sustainable.“Part of the way Engineers Without Borders makes sure that that happens is, they require that the community contribute at least 5 percent of the funding for whatever the project is,” she said. “In addition, you’re required to have several community members helping with the construction or somehow involved in the implementation. That’s a way that Engineers Without Borders ensures that there’s commitment on all sides.”The students did not encounter any difficulties with the residents of Sangmélima, who were enthusiastic about the project, Drumm said.“We were incredibly fortunate that the community we found was extremely welcoming and accepting of the project, which is really hard to find in a lot of development projects,” said Drumm. “Most development projects don’t last because of some kind of miscommunication between the engineers and the community that lives there. “This community understands the need. They really wanted this well, and they were so willing and eager to learn how to use and maintain it. We worked with them to set up a water committee in charge of the upkeep and maintenance of the well, which is a big accomplishment. The fact that they are so willing to work with us means that we are likely to stay with them.”Nauman said the group already has plans for additional construction projects in Sangmélima.“I think our activity for how new we are definitely stands out — that we’ve actually implemented an entire project,” Nauman said. “We have big plans for the future. On this trip, we implemented a well with a hand pump. We’re hoping we can integrate in that an electrical pump in the same community. That’s part of EWB’s model—you stay with the same community for as long as there’s a need.”Tags: Cameroon, Engineers Without Borders, EWB-ND, Sangmélimalast_img read more

Newly found ape-man lived alongside Lucy, 3 million years ago

first_imgThey call it Australopithecus deyiremeda, a name derived from “close relative” in a language from the Afar region of Ethiopia. This brand new and previously unsuspected ape-man species, discovered in Ethiopia, lived in the same time and place as one of our potential ancestors: Lucy, or Australopithecus afarensis. A still from a video comparing Australopith skeletons with those of chimpanzees and modern humans. See below. (Image: California Academy of Sciences) • World heritage in South Africa • Cradle of Humankind is our human heritage • Women cavers on underground fossil hunt • Cape bones add new chapter to human history • Gallery: South Africa’s new ape-man speciesJohn McNabb, University of SouthamptonThere are few things more exciting to a palaeontologist than the discovery of a new species. Work will now begin to try to figure out exactly how this hominin relates to our own species.The discovery was made from a number of fossils, dating back 3.3- to 3.5-million years ago. They comprise part of an upper jaw bone with some of the teeth as well as most of a lower jaw bone with a few of its teeth. There are also a couple of other fragments of jaws and teeth.A cast of the upper teeth and lower jawbone of Australopithecus deyiremeda, the newly found species of Australopith. (Photo: Laura Dempsey)Out of the trees yet?The fossils raise many questions that are hard to answer. For instance we can’t know whether the hominin actually walked upright, as there are no bones apart from the skull bones available. The researchers, who report their findings in the journal Nature, have previously found fragments of a foot bone in the same area which dated to 3.4-million years ago. The owner of this foot may not yet have completely left the trees.As there are specimens of Lucy’s species A afarensis not far away, it is likely that the two were contemporary. We know that Lucy and her kind were bipeds as we have their foot bones. There is also an amazingly preserved footprint trail in Laetoli, Tanzania.A representation of the Lucy specimen of Australopithecus afarensis in the Natural History Museum in Washington DC. Lucy was 1.1 metres (3′ 7″) tall and weighed 29 kilograms (64 pounds). The worldwide average height of modern adult humans is 1.6 metres (5′ 3″) for women and 1.73 metres (5′ 8″) for men. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)The foot of A deyiremeda – if that earlier discovery of a partial foot does turn out to belong to this species – is quite different from Lucy’s.There are other Australopiths around at the same time too. In Chad there is the enigmatic A bahrelghazali, only a little older. In South Africa, there’s the Little Foot skeleton from Sterkfontein, recently re-dated to 3.7-million years ago. Some paleoanthropologists want to interpret Little Foot as a new species of Australopith, A prometheus, but others are reluctant to identify it as a new species yet.But the case the discoverers of A deyiremeda have put forward supports their fossils being a new species. There are numerous differences in the jaws and teeth between these remains and those of other species of Australopith. Further south in Kenya there is another hominin around at the same time, not only a different species, but one belonging to a wholly different genus – Kenyanthropus platyops. But A deyiremeda is not like this either.An astonishingly successful genusExactly where A deyiremeda fits in among our ancestors is, however, hard to know. We are Homo sapiens sapiens. Our genus, Homo, is the family we belong to along with our extinct cousins like Homo neanderthalensis and possible ancestors like Homo erectus. Our species is sapiens, meaning wise, and we add another sapiens on to our name to distinguish ourselves from the earliest members of our species. But here is the thing: we are the only species in our genus. From an evolutionary perspective, that is not a healthy sign.Up until today, genus Australopithecus had six, maybe seven species in it depending on who you believe. That is an astonishingly successful genus as far as evolution goes. The oldest yet found is A anamensis, which is more than 4-million years old. The youngest is A sediba which is about 1.9-million years old. That’s a life span of nearly 2-million years between these species. The reason so many species can emerge is because natural selection experiments with different adaptations and different ecological niches.The upper jaw of Australopithecus deyiremeda, the newly found species of Australopith. (Photo: Yohannes Haile-Selassie)The newly discovered A deyiremeda comes from the earlier phase in Australopith evolution. Exactly how it relates to our own species is hard to know. However, many of the features of its jaws and teeth are seen in later hominins, particularly a group of flat-faced ape-men called Paranthropus. These are not on our evolutionary line. The researchers also describe some similarities between A deyiremeda and early Homo, but in the paper they also point out some important differences between the new discoveries and the earliest known member of our own genus, currently dated to 2.8-million years old. So for the moment this is an open question.But there is a last twist to the tale here. For a long time we believed that members of our own genus were the only toolmakers in the hominin record. Now we know that’s not true. Recent reports have established the oldest yet discovered stone tools date to 3.3-million years ago – that’s half a million years older than the earliest member of genus Homo.Tool-making may even go back a bit further. There are contested cut marks from stone tools on bones dated at 3.4-million years ago at Dikika in Ethiopia. Guess which species are around at that time in East Africa? You guessed it: A afarensis, K. platyops and A deyiremeda. Up until today it was K. platyops that was the favoured candidate for this early toolmaker, but today’s announcement of A deyiremeda puts a new player in the game.John McNabb is Senior Lecturer in Palaeolithic Archaeology at University of Southampton.This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.last_img read more

Wheat management for 2017

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Wheat helps reduce problems associated with the continuous planting of soybean and corn and provides an ideal time to apply fertilizer in July/August after harvest. With soybean harvest around the corner, we would like to remind farmers of a few management decisions that are important for a successful crop.1.) Optimum seeding rates are between 1.2 and 1.6 million seeds per acre. For drills with 7.5-inch row spacing this is about 18 to 24 seeds per foot of row with normal sized seed. When wheat is planted on time, actual seeding rate has little effect on yield, but high seeding rates (above 30 seeds per foot of row) increase lodging and the risk of severe powdery mildew development next spring.2.) Select high-yielding varieties with high test weight, good straw strength, and adequate disease resistance. Do not jeopardize your investment by planting anything but the best yielding varieties that also have resistance to the important diseases in your area. Depending on your area of the state, you may need good resistance to powdery mildew, Stagonospora leaf blotch, and/or leaf rust. Avoid varieties with susceptibility to Fusarium head scab. Plant seed that has been properly cleaned to remove shriveled kernels and treated with a fungicide seed treatment to control seed-borne diseases. The 2017 Ohio Wheat Performance Test results can be found at: http://oardc.osu.edu/wheattrials/3.) Plant after the Hessian Fly Safe Date for your county. This date varies between September 22 for northern counties and October 5 for southern-most counties. Planting before the Fly Safe Date, increases the risk of insect and diseases problems including Hessian Fly and aphids carrying Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus. The best time to plant is within 10 days after the Fly Safe Date (click here for fly safe map). Fall wheat growth is reduced when planting is delayed resulting in reduced winter hardiness.4.) Planting depth is critical for tiller development and winter survival. Plant seed 1.5 inches deep and make sure planting depth is uniform across the field. No-till wheat into soybean stubble is ideal, but make sure the soybean residue is uniformly spread over the surface of the ground. Shallow planting is the main cause of low tiller numbers and poor over-winter survival due to heaving and freezing injury. Remember, you cannot compensate for a poor planting job by planting more seeds; it just costs more money.5.) Apply 20 to 30 lb of actual nitrogen per acre at planting to promote fall tiller development. A soil test should be completed to determine phosphorus and potassium needs. Wheat requires more phosphorus than corn or soybean, and soil test levels should be maintained between 25-40 ppm for optimum production. If the soil test indicates less than 25 ppm, then apply 80 to 100 pounds of P2O5 at planting, depending on yield potential. Do not add any phosphorus if soil test levels are higher than 50 ppm. Soil potassium should be maintained at levels of 100, 120, and 140 ppm for soils with cation exchange capacities of 10, 20, or 30 meq, respectively. If potassium levels are low, apply 100-200 pounds of K2O at planting, depending on soil CEC and yield potential. In Ohio, limed soils usually have adequate calcium, magnesium, and sulfur for wheat. Soil pH should be between 6.3 and 7.0. The key to a successful wheat crop is adequate and timely management.last_img read more

Connect with Geocachers from Around the World

first_imgYour guide to finding #Geocaching inspirationThe best way to find geocaching inspiration is by getting out and finding geocaches. The second best way is by following Geocaching on social media. You’ll connect with geocachers from around the world, see awesome photos and videos, read amazing stories and more.The Geocaching Pinterest boards are the perfect place to get ideas for hiding spots, containers and adventures. Our Instagram is full of photos that will inspire you to take your geocaching to the next level—or the next continent.We’re on pretty much every social network, so follow us on your favorite (or all of them):Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and FacebookAnd don’t forget to tag your posts with #geocaching!(Hier kannst Du den Artikel auf Deutsch lesen)Share with your Friends:More SharePrint Relatedlast_img read more

Maria Sharapova Dominates Sara Errani to win French Open

Sharapova tops Errani to win French Open, completes career Grand SlamAs they gazed at each other across the net before their French Open final, 24 cms in height separated Maria Sharapova from Sara Errani – when the action began it was a country mile as the Russian won the title and completed the career grand slam.The statuesque Sharapova is tennis royalty and her 6-3 6-2 win on Saturday over the 21st seed, who is diminutive in stature and in status, was less a contest and more a coronation.It was all over in a flash: 89 minutes, five breaks of serve followed by a victory speech in four different languages.Congratulations Maria Sharapova!

Kane believes he can eclipse Rooneys record

first_imgHarry Kane believes it’s possible to eclipse Wayne Rooney’s record to become England’s all-time record goalscorer but admitted that is not his current focus.The former United talisman who notched in 53 goals for England tipped Kane to overtake his record after making his 120th and final appearance at international level.Kane, who has 19 goals for England, told ESPN: “It’s definitely possible but it’s still a fair bit away.“I don’t like to set my targets that far ahead in the future because a lot of things can happen.“We’ll see over the next few years how many goals I’ve got and hopefully I’m still fit and healthy and still getting picked by the manager.“It’s definitely something that’s achievable but not something I’m thinking about too much right now.”wayne rooney, harry kane, englandReport: Rooney talks Engalnd Kane and Guardiola George Patchias – September 12, 2019 Wayne Rooney has spoken of his England record, Harry Kane smashing it and Pep Guardiola for England.In an interview on his Wayne Rooney podcast…Meanwhile, England manager Gareth Southgate said his side had improved since losing to Croatia in the World Cup semifinals.“I think we’ve learned with every experience that we’ve had,” he said. “We’ve added more depth to the squad in terms of some more young players emerging, more competition for places.“We’ve had a slight change of system which has also added something different, so we’ve got some flexibility in how we can play.“So we’re always improving and I think in those five matches that you’ve seen since the summer what we haven’t done is sat on our laurels and said ‘OK, we’re happy with what we did at the World Cup — that’s it for the year, we’ll look forward to the European Championship.’“We’ve wanted to keep improving and I think the players have shown that mentality as well.”last_img read more