Tips to Better Manage Your Stress
Are You a Stressed out Case Manager? Fact is, a lot of our health problems stem from stress — and we are in the health field! Like many industries, the highly competitive and ever-changing field of health care can be stressful.
In a 2014 nationwide survey of 3,211 workers across various industries, CareerBuilder found that health care industry employees had the highest rates of stress, with 69 percent of health care workers saying they feel stressed in their current jobs, and 17 percent feeling “highly stressed.” Further, more than half of health care workers said their workloads had increased over the past year.
To add to the stress, health plan workers, in particular, have taken on greater caseloads.
According to research findings in a recent needs assessment by the funders supporting the Care Excellence initiative, care coordinators have an average caseload of 100 cases. Registered nurse care managers and social work care managers have an average caseload of 25‐35 cases. Finally, care managers who function in a supervisory role of other care managers and/or care coordinators can be responsible for supervising upwards of 150 cases.
From nurses to social workers, most, if not all, in the industry chose their career because they want to help others. Dealing with high levels of stress, however, can be challenging.
If this article gives you just one small tip to help reduce your stress, take it! Your health just might improve and thank us.
Case Managers: Try These Eight Tips to Help Alleviate a Stressful Caseload!
- Identify Care Manager Overload Triggers.
Try to identify your triggers. Once you identify what is causing you stress at work, try to reduce stress by being aware. When you feel your stress rising, take a moment to breathe. Take a short break, if possible.
- Be an organized Care Manager.
Make and maintain a list of your priorities and deadlines. If helpful, use an electronic or physical scheduler.
- Procrastination is Detrimental to Case Managers.
Do not wait until the last minute to start a project that has a looming deadline. If the task at hand seems overwhelming, break a large project into small steps.
- Focus on Your Caseload.
Do one thing at a time. Jumping from project to project — or case to case — can be overwhelming. With the added stress, you will waste time instead of getting things done.
- Breathe on the Job.
Practice breathing and relaxation techniques. Find a quiet place at home or at work to take a moment for yourself every day.
- Eat on the Job.
Do not skip your lunch — and try to avoid “working lunches” whenever possible. Think of lunch as your daily time to unwind.
- Unplug When Your Off the Clock.
The 9-5 job is a thing of the past. With easily accessible technology, every job has turned into an around-the-clock position. Do not check your work email when you are not at work. If possible, turn off your cell phone.
- Consider additional case management training.
Believe it or not, additional training can help alleviate stress and build your confidence.
What are the Causes of Occupational Stress for Case Managers
According to a 2015 study called “Preventing Occupational Stress in Healthcare Workers,” health care workers “can suffer from occupational stress as a result of lack of skills, organizational factors and low social support at work.” Published by Cochrane Work Group, the report, which looked at 58 studies that included 7,188 participants, found that occupational stress “may lead to distress, burnout and psychosomatic problems, and deterioration in quality of life and service provision.”
While finding a consistent and reliable resource for quality education that is easily accessible and affordable can be a challenge, there is a new resource for training all levels of health plan case managers to prepare them in all phases of their career for success: Care Excellence.
From those new to care management to care management leaders, Care Excellence provides a flexible online source of continuing education for care coordinators and care managers, as well as supervisors, managers and others in leadership roles. Crafted by experts in the field with significant care management real-world experience, courses are delivered online with highly interactive activities and testing to assure deeper integration.