Psychosocial factors and health status of employees at the Poznan University of Medical Sciences

Beata Ziemska 1,  
Occupational Medicine, Clinic Private Health Care, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
Chair of Social Medicine, Department of Hygiene, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2013;20(3):539–543
Introduction: New opportunities in the labour market, competition in services and globalization have contributed to the increase in load factors in the psychosocial work environment. Availability, readiness to help, work with the sick, the suffering patient – night shifts, overtime, workaholic (as a new form of addiction), and bullying – are becoming more pronounced causes of stress, fatigue and burnout in medicine. Thus, difficult working conditions are largely the cause of unhealthy lifestyles in the medical professions and foster the development of various types of addiction and physical illness. The negative effects of psychosocial factors – in the form of immune disorders, increased incidence of mental and somatic diseases, and metabolic and hormonal disorders – more often cause increase absence through sickness and the shortening of working life. Objective: The main aim of the presented study was to provide results concerning the health state of employees of the Poznan University of Medical Sciences (PUMS), and also to analyze relations between selected psychosocial risks factors and the state of health of PUMS employees. Material and methods: The results of research conducted in 2009–2010 which covered 2,468 employees of the PUMS and the results of studies using an anonymous own questionnaire survey, evaluating exposure to psychosocial factors, which included the 1,096th members of staff of the PUMS. Results: There was a clear effect of psychosocial risk factors for health workers. The greatest burden of these factors was observed among workers with higher education, mostly doctors. This occupational group also worked in several places of work more often than other employees of the university. These workers often complained of chronic fatigue, recurrent respiratory infections, hypertension, sleep disorders, neurotic disorders and depression. The complaints quite often diagnosed were immune disease, allergies, skin diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, and disorders of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, which clearly intensified under stress. The clearest negative impact of psychosocial factors on the health of the workers were observed in those a with higher education, employed at several jobs, and complained about poor work organization. Conclusions: 1) It is necessary to implement prevention programs for the staff of the PUMS, aimed at the primary and secondary negative impact of psychosocial factors. 2) Psychological counseling is advisable for employees. 3) It is essential that the issue of voice training, and interpersonal communication techniques to teach and control the schedule of classes, in order to reduce the workload, and encourage physical activity and other forms of relaxation. 4) It is advisable to periodically check on the work conditions and organization of work to help eliminate stressors in the work environment.