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1.  A human factors framework and study of the effect of nursing workload on patient safety and employee quality of working life 
BMJ quality & safety  2011;20(1):15-24.
Nursing workload is increasingly thought to contribute to both nurses’ quality of working life and quality/safety of care. Prior studies lack a coherent model for conceptualizing and measuring the effects of workload in health care. In contrast, we conceptualized a human factors model for workload specifying workload at three distinct levels of analysis and having multiple nurse and patient outcomes.
To test this model, we analyzed results from a cross-sectional survey of a volunteer sample of nurses in six units of two academic tertiary care pediatric hospitals.
Workload measures were generally correlated with outcomes of interest. A multivariate structural model revealed that: the unit-level measure of staffing adequacy was significantly related to job dissatisfaction (path loading = .31) and burnout (path loading = .45); the task-level measure of mental workload related to interruptions, divided attention, and being rushed was associated with burnout (path loading = .25) and medication error likelihood (path loading = 1.04). Job-level workload was not uniquely and significantly associated with any outcomes.
The human factors engineering model of nursing workload was supported by data from two pediatric hospitals. The findings provided a novel insight into specific ways that different types of workload could affect nurse and patient outcomes. These findings suggest further research and yield a number of human factors design suggestions.
PMCID: PMC3058823  PMID: 21228071
workload; mental workload; patient safety; medication error; quality of working life
2.  Implementing the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommendations on resident physician work hours, supervision, and safety 
Long working hours and sleep deprivation have been a facet of physician training in the US since the advent of the modern residency system. However, the scientific evidence linking fatigue with deficits in human performance, accidents and errors in industries from aeronautics to medicine, nuclear power, and transportation has mounted over the last 40 years. This evidence has also spawned regulations to help ensure public safety across safety-sensitive industries, with the notable exception of medicine.
In late 2007, at the behest of the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine embarked on a year-long examination of the scientific evidence linking resident physician sleep deprivation with clinical performance deficits and medical errors. The Institute of Medicine’s report, entitled “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety”, published in January 2009, recommended new limits on resident physician work hours and workload, increased supervision, a heightened focus on resident physician safety, training in structured handovers and quality improvement, more rigorous external oversight of work hours and other aspects of residency training, and the identification of expanded funding sources necessary to implement the recommended reforms successfully and protect the public and resident physicians themselves from preventable harm.
Given that resident physicians comprise almost a quarter of all physicians who work in hospitals, and that taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid, fund graduate medical education, the public has a deep investment in physician training. Patients expect to receive safe, high-quality care in the nation’s teaching hospitals. Because it is their safety that is at issue, their voices should be central in policy decisions affecting patient safety. It is likewise important to integrate the perspectives of resident physicians, policy makers, and other constituencies in designing new policies. However, since its release, discussion of the Institute of Medicine report has been largely confined to the medical education community, led by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
To begin gathering these perspectives and developing a plan to implement safer work hours for resident physicians, a conference entitled “Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety: What will it take to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations?” was held at Harvard Medical School on June 17–18, 2010. This White Paper is a product of a diverse group of 26 representative stakeholders bringing relevant new information and innovative practices to bear on a critical patient safety problem. Given that our conference included experts from across disciplines with diverse perspectives and interests, not every recommendation was endorsed by each invited conference participant. However, every recommendation made here was endorsed by the majority of the group, and many were endorsed unanimously. Conference members participated in the process, reviewed the final product, and provided input before publication. Participants provided their individual perspectives, which do not necessarily represent the formal views of any organization.
In September 2010 the ACGME issued new rules to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Unfortunately, they stop considerably short of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations and those endorsed by this conference. In particular, the ACGME only applied the limitation of 16 hours to first-year resident physicans. Thus, it is clear that policymakers, hospital administrators, and residency program directors who wish to implement safer health care systems must go far beyond what the ACGME will require. We hope this White Paper will serve as a guide and provide encouragement for that effort.
Resident physician workload and supervision
By the end of training, a resident physician should be able to practice independently. Yet much of resident physicians’ time is dominated by tasks with little educational value. The caseload can be so great that inadequate reflective time is left for learning based on clinical experiences. In addition, supervision is often vaguely defined and discontinuous. Medical malpractice data indicate that resident physicians are frequently named in lawsuits, most often for lack of supervision. The recommendations are: The ACGME should adjust resident physicians workload requirements to optimize educational value. Resident physicians as well as faculty should be involved in work redesign that eliminates nonessential and noneducational activity from resident physician dutiesMechanisms should be developed for identifying in real time when a resident physician’s workload is excessive, and processes developed to activate additional providersTeamwork should be actively encouraged in delivery of patient care. Historically, much of medical training has focused on individual knowledge, skills, and responsibility. As health care delivery has become more complex, it will be essential to train resident and attending physicians in effective teamwork that emphasizes collective responsibility for patient care and recognizes the signs, both individual and systemic, of a schedule and working conditions that are too demanding to be safeHospitals should embrace the opportunities that resident physician training redesign offers. Hospitals should recognize and act on the potential benefits of work redesign, eg, increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality of care, and resident physician and attending job satisfactionAttending physicians should supervise all hospital admissions. Resident physicians should directly discuss all admissions with attending physicians. Attending physicians should be both cognizant of and have input into the care patients are to receive upon admission to the hospitalInhouse supervision should be required for all critical care services, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, and trauma services. Resident physicians should not be left unsupervised to care for critically ill patients. In settings in which the acuity is high, physicians who have completed residency should provide direct supervision for resident physicians. Supervising physicians should always be physically in the hospital for supervision of resident physicians who care for critically ill patientsThe ACGME should explicitly define “good” supervision by specialty and by year of training. Explicit requirements for intensity and level of training for supervision of specific clinical scenarios should be providedCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should use graduate medical education funding to provide incentives to programs with proven, effective levels of supervision. Although this action would require federal legislation, reimbursement rules would help to ensure that hospitals pay attention to the importance of good supervision and require it from their training programs
Resident physician work hours
Although the IOM “Sleep, supervision and safety” report provides a comprehensive review and discussion of all aspects of graduate medical education training, the report’s focal point is its recommendations regarding the hours that resident physicians are currently required to work. A considerable body of scientific evidence, much of it cited by the Institute of Medicine report, describes deteriorating performance in fatigued humans, as well as specific studies on resident physician fatigue and preventable medical errors.
The question before this conference was what work redesign and cultural changes are needed to reform work hours as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s evidence-based report? Extensive scientific data demonstrate that shifts exceeding 12–16 hours without sleep are unsafe. Several principles should be followed in efforts to reduce consecutive hours below this level and achieve safer work schedules. The recommendations are: Limit resident physician work hours to 12–16 hour maximum shiftsA minimum of 10 hours off duty should be scheduled between shiftsResident physician input into work redesign should be actively solicitedSchedules should be designed that adhere to principles of sleep and circadian science; this includes careful consideration of the effects of multiple consecutive night shifts, and provision of adequate time off after night work, as specified in the IOM reportResident physicians should not be scheduled up to the maximum permissible limits; emergencies frequently occur that require resident physicians to stay longer than their scheduled shifts, and this should be anticipated in scheduling resident physicians’ work shiftsHospitals should anticipate the need for iterative improvement as new schedules are initiated; be prepared to learn from the initial phase-in, and change the plan as neededAs resident physician work hours are redesigned, attending physicians should also be considered; a potential consequence of resident physician work hour reduction and increased supervisory requirements may be an increase in work for attending physicians; this should be carefully monitored, and adjustments to attending physician work schedules made as needed to prevent unsafe work hours or working conditions for this group“Home call” should be brought under the overall limits of working hours; work load and hours should be monitored in each residency program to ensure that resident physicians and fellows on home call are getting sufficient sleepMedicare funding for graduate medical education in each hospital should be linked with adherence to the Institute of Medicine limits on resident physician work hours
Moonlighting by resident physicians
The Institute of Medicine report recommended including external as well as internal moonlighting in working hour limits. The recommendation is: All moonlighting work hours should be included in the ACGME working hour limits and actively monitored. Hospitals should formalize a moonlighting policy and establish systems for actively monitoring resident physician moonlighting
Safety of resident physicians
The “Sleep, supervision and safety” report also addresses fatigue-related harm done to resident physicians themselves. The report focuses on two main sources of physical injury to resident physicians impaired by fatigue, ie, needle-stick exposure to blood-borne pathogens and motor vehicle crashes. Providing safe transportation home for resident physicians is a logistical and financial challenge for hospitals. Educating physicians at all levels on the dangers of fatigue is clearly required to change driving behavior so that safe hospital-funded transport home is used effectively. Fatigue-related injury prevention (including not driving while drowsy) should be taught in medical school and during residency, and reinforced with attending physicians; hospitals and residency programs must be informed that resident physicians’ ability to judge their own level of impairment is impaired when they are sleep deprived; hence, leaving decisions about the capacity to drive to impaired resident physicians is not recommendedHospitals should provide transportation to all resident physicians who report feeling too tired to drive safely; in addition, although consecutive work should not exceed 16 hours, hospitals should provide transportation for all resident physicians who, because of unforeseen reasons or emergencies, work for longer than consecutive 24 hours; transportation under these circumstances should be automatically provided to house staff, and should not rely on self-identification or request
Training in effective handovers and quality improvement
Handover practice for resident physicians, attendings, and other health care providers has long been identified as a weak link in patient safety throughout health care settings. Policies to improve handovers of care must be tailored to fit the appropriate clinical scenario, recognizing that information overload can also be a problem. At the heart of improving handovers is the organizational effort to improve quality, an effort in which resident physicians have typically been insufficiently engaged. The recommendations are: Hospitals should train attending and resident physicians in effective handovers of careHospitals should create uniform processes for handovers that are tailored to meet each clinical setting; all handovers should be done verbally and face-to-face, but should also utilize written toolsWhen possible, hospitals should integrate hand-over tools into their electronic medical records (EMR) systems; these systems should be standardized to the extent possible across residency programs in a hospital, but may be tailored to the needs of specific programs and services; federal government should help subsidize adoption of electronic medical records by hospitals to improve signoutWhen feasible, handovers should be a team effort including nurses, patients, and familiesHospitals should include residents in their quality improvement and patient safety efforts; the ACGME should specify in their core competency requirements that resident physicians work on quality improvement projects; likewise, the Joint Commission should require that resident physicians be included in quality improvement and patient safety programs at teaching hospitals; hospital administrators and residency program directors should create opportunities for resident physicians to become involved in ongoing quality improvement projects and root cause analysis teams; feedback on successful quality improvement interventions should be shared with resident physicians and broadly disseminatedQuality improvement/patient safety concepts should be integral to the medical school curriculum; medical school deans should elevate the topics of patient safety, quality improvement, and teamwork; these concepts should be integrated throughout the medical school curriculum and reinforced throughout residency; mastery of these concepts by medical students should be tested on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) stepsFederal government should support involvement of resident physicians in quality improvement efforts; initiatives to improve quality by including resident physicians in quality improvement projects should be financially supported by the Department of Health and Human Services
Monitoring and oversight of the ACGME
While the ACGME is a key stakeholder in residency training, external voices are essential to ensure that public interests are heard in the development and monitoring of standards. Consequently, the Institute of Medicine report recommended external oversight and monitoring through the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The recommendations are: Make comprehensive fatigue management a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal; fatigue is a safety concern not only for resident physicians, but also for nurses, attending physicians, and other health care workers; the Joint Commission should seek to ensure that all health care workers, not just resident physicians, are working as safely as possibleFederal government, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, should encourage development of comprehensive fatigue management programs which all health systems would eventually be required to implementMake ACGME compliance with working hours a “ condition of participation” for reimbursement of direct and indirect graduate medical education costs; financial incentives will greatly increase the adoption of and compliance with ACGME standards
Future financial support for implementation
The Institute of Medicine’s report estimates that $1.7 billion (in 2008 dollars) would be needed to implement its recommendations. Twenty-five percent of that amount ($376 million) will be required just to bring hospitals into compliance with the existing 2003 ACGME rules. Downstream savings to the health care system could potentially result from safer care, but these benefits typically do not accrue to hospitals and residency programs, who have been asked historically to bear the burden of residency reform costs. The recommendations are: The Institute of Medicine should convene a panel of stakeholders, including private and public funders of health care and graduate medical education, to lay down the concrete steps necessary to identify and allocate the resources needed to implement the recommendations contained in the IOM “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety” report. Conference participants suggested several approaches to engage public and private support for this initiativeEfforts to find additional funding to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations should focus more broadly on patient safety and health care delivery reform; policy efforts focused narrowly upon resident physician work hours are less likely to succeed than broad patient safety initiatives that include residency redesign as a key componentHospitals should view the Institute of Medicine recommendations as an opportunity to begin resident physician work redesign projects as the core of a business model that embraces safety and ultimately saves resourcesBoth the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should take the Institute of Medicine recommendations into consideration when promulgating rules for innovation grantsThe National Health Care Workforce Commission should consider the Institute of Medicine recommendations when analyzing the nation’s physician workforce needs
Recommendations for future research
Conference participants concurred that convening the stakeholders and agreeing on a research agenda was key. Some observed that some sectors within the medical education community have been reluctant to act on the data. Several logical funders for future research were identified. But above all agencies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the only stakeholder that funds graduate medical education upstream and will reap savings downstream if preventable medical errors are reduced as a result of reform of resident physician work hours.
PMCID: PMC3630963  PMID: 23616719
resident; hospital; working hours; safety
3.  Workflow interruptions and mental workload in hospital pediatricians: an observational study 
Pediatricians’ workload is increasingly thought to affect pediatricians’ quality of work life and patient safety. Workflow interruptions are a frequent stressor in clinical work, impeding clinicians’ attention and contributing to clinical malpractice. We aimed to investigate prospective associations of workflow interruptions with multiple dimensions of mental workload in pediatricians during clinical day shifts.
In an Academic Children’s Hospital a prospective study of 28 full shift observations was conducted among pediatricians providing ward coverage. The prevalence of workflow interruptions was based on expert observation using a validated observation instrument. Concurrently, Pediatricians’ workload ratings were assessed with three workload dimensions of the well-validated NASA-Task Load Index: mental demands, effort, and frustration.
Observed pediatricians were, on average, disrupted 4.7 times per hour. Most frequent were interruptions by colleagues (30.2%), nursing staff (29.7%), and by telephone/beeper calls (16.3%). Interruption measures were correlated with two workload outcomes of interest: frequent workflow interruptions were related to less cognitive demands, but frequent interruptions were associated with increased frustration. With regard to single sources, interruptions by colleagues showed the strongest associations to workload.
The findings provide insights into specific pathways between different types of interruptions and pediatricians’ mental workload. These findings suggest further research and yield a number of work and organization re-design suggestions for pediatric care.
PMCID: PMC4263126  PMID: 25253542
Workflow interruptions; Workload; Hospital pediatricians; Observation; Work life
4.  The Gutenberg Health Study: measuring psychosocial factors at work and predicting health and work-related outcomes with the ERI and the COPSOQ questionnaire 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:538.
Several instruments have been developed to assess psychosocial workload. We compared two of these instruments, the Effort-Reward Imbalance (ERI) model and the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) with regard to congruent validity and internal validity.
This analysis is based on a population-based sample of the baseline examination of 2,783 employees from the Gutenberg Health Study (GHS). About half of the participants completed the ERI questionnaire (n = 1,342), the other half completed the COPSOQ (n = 1,441). First, the two samples were compared and descriptive analyses were carried out calculating mean values for both instruments in general, then separately for age, gender and main occupational groups. Second, we analyzed the relationship between ERI and COPSOQ scales on the workplace situation and on the workplace outcomes: job satisfaction, general health, burnout, satisfaction with life, by applying stepwise logistic regression analysis.
Results and discussion
For the majority of occupations, high effort as reflected by the ERI corresponded with high demands as reflected by the COPSOQ. Comparably, high reward (according to ERI) yielded a good agreement with high “influence and development” (according to COPSOQ). However, we could also find differences between ERI and COPSOQ concerning the intensity of psychosocial workload in some occupations (e.g., physicians/pharmacists or warehouse managers/warehousemen/transport workers). These differences point to differing theoretical concepts of ERI and COPSOQ. When the ability of ERI and COPSOQ was examined to determine the associations with health and work outcomes, burnout could be better predicted by the COPSOQ; this might be due to the fact that COPSOQ comprises the constructs “work-privacy conflict” and “emotional demand”, which are closely related to burnout. However, methodological differences between these instruments limit their direct comparability.
The ERI and COPSOQ instrument yielded similar results for most occupational groups. The slightly stronger association between psychosocial workload as assessed by COPSOQ and burnout might be explained by its broader approach. The ability of the ERI and COPSOQ instrument to reflect relevant risk factors for clinically manifest disorders (e.g., coronary heart disease) will be derived from subsequent prospective analyses of the GHS with the follow-up data.
PMCID: PMC3707767  PMID: 23734632
Psychosocial factors; Stress; Strain; COPSOQ; ERI
5.  Exploring the relationship between safety culture and reported dispensing errors in a large sample of Swedish community pharmacies 
The potential for unsafe acts to result in harm to patients is constant risks to be managed in any health care delivery system including pharmacies. The number of reported errors is influenced by a various elements including safety culture. The aim of this study is to investigate a possible relationship between reported dispensing errors and safety culture, taking into account demographic and pharmacy variables, in Swedish community pharmacies.
A cross-sectional study was performed, encompassing 546 (62.8%) of the 870 Swedish community pharmacies. All staff in the pharmacies on December 1st, 2007 were included in the study. To assess safety culture domains in the pharmacies, the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ) was used. Numbers of dispensed prescription items as well as dispensing errors for each pharmacy across the first half year of 2008 were summarised. Intercorrelations among a number of variables including SAQ survey domains, general properties of the pharmacy, demographic characteristics, and dispensing errors were calculated. A negative binomial regression model was used to further examine the relationship between the variables and dispensing errors.
The first analysis demonstrated a number of significant correlations between reported dispensing errors and the variables examined. Negative correlations were found with SAQ domains Teamwork Climate, Safety Climate, Job Satisfaction as well as mean age and response rates. Positive relationships were demonstrated with Stress Recognition (SAQ), number of employees, educational diversity, birth country diversity, education country diversity and number of dispensed prescription items. Variables displaying a significant relationship to errors in this analysis were included in the regression analysis. When controlling for demographic variables, only Stress Recognition, mean age, educational diversity and number of dispensed prescription items and employees, were still associated with dispensing errors.
This study replicated previous work linking safety to errors, but went one step further and controlled for a variety of variables. Controlling rendered the relationship between Safety Climate and dispensing insignificant, while the relationship to Stress Recognition remained significant. Variables such as age and education country diversity were found also to correlate with reporting behaviour. Further studies on the demographic variables might generate interesting results.
PMCID: PMC3506269  PMID: 22947078
6.  Burnout and Workload Among Health Care Workers: The Moderating Role of Job Control 
Safety and Health at Work  2014;5(3):152-157.
As health care workers face a wide range of psychosocial stressors, they are at a high risk of developing burnout syndrome, which in turn may affect hospital outcomes such as the quality and safety of provided care. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the moderating effect of job control on the relationship between workload and burnout.
A total of 352 hospital workers from five Italian public hospitals completed a self-administered questionnaire that was used to measure exhaustion, cynicism, job control, and workload. Data were collected in 2013.
In contrast to previous studies, the results of this study supported the moderation effect of job control on the relationship between workload and exhaustion. Furthermore, the results found support for the sequential link from exhaustion to cynicism.
This study showed the importance for hospital managers to carry out management practices that promote job control and provide employees with job resources, in order to reduce the burnout risk.
PMCID: PMC4213899  PMID: 25379330
burnout; cynicism; exhaustion; job control; workload
7.  Job strain among blue-collar and white-collar employees as a determinant of total mortality: a 28-year population-based follow-up 
BMJ Open  2012;2(2):e000860.
To investigate the effect of job demand, job control and job strain on total mortality among white-collar and blue-collar employees working in the public sector.
28-year prospective population-based follow-up.
Several municipals in Finland.
5731 public sector employees from the Finnish Longitudinal Study on Municipal Employees Study aged 44–58 years at baseline.
Total mortality from 1981 to 2009 among individuals with complete data on job strain in midlife, categorised according to job demand and job control: high job strain (high job demands and low job control), active job (high job demand and high job control), passive job (low job demand and low job control) and low job strain (low job demand and high job control).
1836 persons died during the follow-up. Low job control among men increased (age-adjusted HR 1.26, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.42) and high job demand among women decreased the risk for total mortality HR 0.82 (95% CI 0.71 to 0.95). Adjustment for occupational group, lifestyle and health factors attenuated the association for men. In the analyses stratified by occupational group, high job strain increased the risk of mortality among white-collar men (HR 1.52, 95% CI 1.09 to 2.13) and passive job among blue-collar men (HR 1.28, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.47) compared with men with low job strain. Adjustment for lifestyle and health factors attenuated the risks. Among white-collar women having an active job decreased the risk for mortality (HR 0.78, 95% CI 0.60 to 1.00).
The impact of job strain on mortality was different according to gender and occupational group among middle-aged public sector employees.
Article summary
Article focus
High job strain and its components, high job demand and low job control, predict cardiovascular and total mortality.
Although lower socioeconomic position is a risk factor for premature total mortality, few studies have explored the effect of job strain on mortality within socioeconomic groups and the ones that exist, report conflicting findings.
Key messages
In a population-based cohort of middle-aged public sector employees, low job control among men increased and high job demand among women decreased the risk of mortality during a 28-year follow-up.
High job strain increased the risk of mortality among white-collar men and passive job among blue-collar men compared with men with low job strain.
Active job among white-collar women decreased the risk for mortality compared with those with low job strain.
Strengths and limitations of this study
A major strength was the representative large sample of public sector employees working both in white-collar and blue-collar professions and the long follow-up time on mortality collected from the national mortality register.
A limitation is the self-reported job strain, however, high correlations between subjective and expert ratings on work conditions have been reported. The assessment of job strain was measured at a single time point in midlife which might imperfectly reflect long-term job strain, however, the municipal employees in our cohort had stable work histories indicating stability probably also for job strain during their earlier working life.
PMCID: PMC3307125  PMID: 22422919
8.  Burnout During Residency Training: A Literature Review 
Burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion related to work or care giving activities. Burnout during residency training has gained significant attention secondary to concerns regarding job performance and patient care. This article reviews the relevant literature on burnout in order to provide information to educators about its prevalence, features, impact, and potential interventions.
Studies were identified through a Medline and PsychInfo search from 1974 to 2009. Fifty-one studies were identified. Definition and description of burnout and measurement methods are presented followed by a thorough review of the studies.
An examination of the burnout literature reveals that it is prevalent in medical students (28%–45%), residents (27%–75%, depending on specialty), as well as practicing physicians. Psychological distress and physical symptoms can impact work performance and patient safety. Distress during medical school can lead to burnout, which in turn can result in negative consequences as a working physician. Burnout also poses significant challenges during early training years in residency. Time demands, lack of control, work planning, work organization, inherently difficult job situations, and interpersonal relationships, are considered factors contributing to residents' burnout. Potential interventions include workplace-driven and individual-driven measures. Workplace interventions include education about burnout, workload modifications, increasing the diversity of work duties, stress management training, mentoring, emotional intelligence training, and wellness workshops. Individual-driven behavioral, social, and physical activities include promoting interpersonal professional relations, meditation, counseling, and exercise.
Educators need to develop an active awareness of burnout and ought to consider incorporating relevant instruction and interventions during the process of training resident physicians.
PMCID: PMC2931238  PMID: 21975985
9.  Subjective Health Complaints and Self-Rated Health: Are Expectancies More Important Than Socioeconomic Status and Workload? 
The associations between socioeconomic status (SES), physical and psychosocial workload and health are well documented. According to The Cognitive Activation Theory of Stress (CATS), learned response outcome expectancies (coping, helplessness, and hopelessness) are also important contributors to health. This is in part as independent factors for health, but coping may also function as a buffer against the impact different demands have on health.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relative effect of SES (as measured by level of education), physical workload, and response outcome expectancies on subjective health complaints (SHC) and self-rated health, and if response outcome expectancies mediate the effects of education and physical workload on SHC and self-rated health.
A survey was carried out among 1,746 Norwegian municipal employees (mean age 44.2, 81 % females). Structural Equation Models with SHC and self-rated health as outcomes were conducted. Education, physical workload, and response outcome expectancies, were the independent 28 variables in the model.
Helplessness/hopelessness had a stronger direct effect on self-rated health and SHC than education and physical workload, for both men and women. Helplessness/hopelessness fully mediated the effect of physical workload on SHC for men (0.121), and mediated 30 % of a total effect of 0.247 for women. For women, education had a small but significant indirect effect through helplessness/hopelessness on self-rated health (0.040) and SHC (−0.040), but no direct effects were found. For men, there was no effect of education on SHC, and only a direct effect on self-rated health (0.134).
The results indicated that helplessness/hopelessness is more important for SHC and health than well-established measures on SES such as years of education and perceived physical workload in this sample. Helplessness/hopelessness seems to function as a mechanism between physical workload and health.
PMCID: PMC4008781  PMID: 23868103
Subjective health complaints; Coping; Helplessness; Hopelessness; Socioeconomic status; TomCats; Physical workload
10.  An investigation into the effects of vacations on the health status in male white-collar workers 
There are many stress factors in occupational settings, and the lack of vacations could be one of factors in the context of work stress. The authors have been studying the relationship between workload and employee health. This time, an investigation into the effects of leisure vacations on worker health status using male white-collar employees aged 20–60 years engaged in a manufacturing company was conducted. The subjects were questioned on work stress factors including vacations and modifiers in their occupational settings, and on psychological and physiological stress reactions; that is, how often they were able to take leisure vacations every year, their average working hours a day and work stress factors from the Demand-Control-Support model. The questions also examined other factors concerning the employees such as type-A behavior and lifestyles as modifiers, diseases of the employees, physical complaints, feelings about sleep, perceived stress, job and life satisfaction, and stress reactions as measured by physiological examination. Correlation and logistic regression analysis were conducted with the 551 eligible subjects. The results were as follows: Leisure vacation was decreasingly related to some of psychological stress reactions after adjustment was made for working hours and for modifiers. Less vacation was increasingly related to the workers’ diseases especially among the employees aged 20–34, though the association was not statistically significant. Vacations did not show obvious association with physiological measures. These findings demonstrate the effectiveness and possibility of leisure vacation in controlling fatigue and maintaining the health of workers. Vacation should always be taken into consideration as a stress factor in a survey of the health problems of white-collar workers.
PMCID: PMC2723268  PMID: 21432504
Vacation; Leisure; Stress; Working hours; Lifestyle
11.  The social gradient in work and health: a cross-sectional study exploring the relationship between working conditions and health inequalities 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1170.
Social inequalities in health are widely examined. But the reasons behind this phenomenon still remain unclear in parts. It is undisputed that the work environment plays a crucial role in this regard. However, the contribution of psychosocial factors at work is unclear and inconsistent, and most studies are limited with regard to work factors and health outcomes. This study, therefore, aimed to explore the role and contribution of various physical and psychosocial working conditions to explaining social inequalities in different self-reported health outcomes.
Data from a postal survey among the workforces of four medium-sized and large companies from diverse industries of the secondary sector in Switzerland were used and analysed. The study sample covered 1,846 employees aged 20 and 64 and included significant proportions of unskilled manual workers and highly qualified non-manual workers. Cross tabulations and logistic regression analyses were performed to study multiple associations between social status, work factors and health outcomes. Combinations of educational level and occupational position wee used as a measure of social status or class.
Clear social gradients were observed for almost all adverse working conditions and poor health outcomes studied, but in different directions. While physical workloads and other typical blue-collar job characteristics not suprisingly, were found to be much more common among the lower classes, most psychosocial work demands and job resources were more prevalent in the higher classes. Furthermore, workers in lower classes, i.e. with lower educational and occupational status, were more likely to report poor self-rated health, limited physical functioning and long sickness absence, but at the same time were less likely to experience increased stress feelings and burnout symptoms showing a reversed health gradient. Finally, blue-collar job characteristics contributed substantially to the social gradient found in general and physical health outcomes. In contrast, white-collar job characteristics made no contribution to explaining the gradient in these health outcomes, but instead largely explained the reversed social gradient observed for the mental health outcomes.
The findings suggest a more differentiated pattern of the commonly found social gradient in health and the differential role of work in this respect.
PMCID: PMC4028882  PMID: 24330543
Health inequalities; Social gradient; Educational status; Occupational status; Physical working conditions; Psychosocial working conditions; Blue-collar job characteristics; White-collar job characteristics; Switzerland
12.  Concurrent Validity of Single-Item Measures of Emotional Exhaustion and Depersonalization in Burnout Assessment 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2012;27(11):1445-1452.
Burnout is a common problem among physicians and physicians-in-training. The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) is the gold standard for burnout assessment, but the length of this well-validated 22-item instrument can limit its feasibility for survey research.
To evaluate the concurrent validity of two questions relative to the full MBI for measuring the association of burnout with published outcomes.
The single questions “I feel burned out from my work” and “I have become more callous toward people since I took this job,” representing the emotional exhaustion and depersonalization domains of burnout, respectively, were evaluated in published studies of medical students, internal medicine residents, and practicing surgeons. We compared predictive models for the association of each question, versus the full MBI, using longitudinal data on burnout and suicidality from 2006 and 2007 for 858 medical students at five United States medical schools, cross-sectional data on burnout and serious thoughts of dropping out of medical school from 2007 for 2222 medical students at seven United States medical schools, and cross-sectional data on burnout and unprofessional attitudes and behaviors from 2009 for 2566 medical students at seven United States medical schools. We also assessed results for longitudinal data on burnout and perceived major medical errors from 2003 to 2009 for 321 Mayo Clinic Rochester internal medicine residents and cross-sectional data on burnout and both perceived major medical errors and suicidality from 2008 for 7,905 respondents to a national survey of members of the American College of Surgeons.
Point estimates of effect for models based on the single-item measures were uniformly consistent with those reported for models based on the full MBI. The single-item measures of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization exhibited strong associations with each published outcome (all p ≤0.008). No conclusion regarding the relationship between burnout and any outcome variable was altered by the use of the single-item measures rather than the full MBI.
Relative to the full MBI, single-item measures of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization exhibit strong and consistent associations with key outcomes in medical students, internal medicine residents, and practicing surgeons.
PMCID: PMC3475833  PMID: 22362127
burnout; well-being; measurement; graduate medical education; medical practice
13.  Moderating effects of leader-member exchange (LMX) on job burnout in dietitians and chefs of institutional foodservice 
The objectives of the study were to investigate job burnout and leader-member exchange (LMX) levels as well as to evaluate buffering effects of LMX on burnout among dietitians and chefs at institutional foodservices. Hypotheses were proposed based on the Job Demands-Resources model and LMX theory. The study population consisted of dietitians and chefs who were in charge of managing unit operations in a nationwide contract management company. Positive/negative affectivity, workload, job burnout, and LMX scales that had been validated in previous research were adopted. A total of 552 questionnaires were distributed and 154 responses were returned. Results indicated that respondents' burnout levels were moderate and emotional exhaustion was greater than cynicism. In terms of LMX, the surveyed dietitians and chefs showed higher respect toward their supervisors than loyalty. When positive affectivity and negative affectivity were controlled, workload influenced emotional exhaustion and professional efficacy significantly. With affectivity and workload controlled, however, LMX did not influence any dimensions of burnout. The moderating effect of LMX on the relationship between workload and cynicism was significant. That is, the effect of workload on cynicism was weak if the dietitians and chefs perceived the relationship with their supervisor positively. Based on the findings and literature reviewed, how to mitigate job burnout among foodservice managers is discussed.
PMCID: PMC3061275  PMID: 21487501
Job burnout; LMX (leader-member exchange); workload; dietitians; chefs
14.  E-prescribing: Characterization of Patient Safety Hazards in Community Pharmacies Using a Sociotechnical Systems Approach 
BMJ quality & safety  2013;22(10):816-825.
To characterize safety hazards related to e-prescribing in community pharmacies.
The Sociotechnical Systems (STS) framework was used to investigate the e-prescribing technology interface in community pharmacies by taking into consideration the social, technical and environmental work elements of a user’s interaction with technology. This study focused specifically on aspects of the social subsystem.
Study Design and Setting
The study employed a cross-sectional qualitative design and was conducted in seven community pharmacies in Wisconsin. Direct observations, think aloud protocols, and group interviews were conducted with 14 pharmacists and 16 technicians, and audio-recorded. Recordings were transcribed and subjected to thematic content analysis guided by the sociotechnical systems theoretical framework.
Three major themes that may increase the potential for medication errors with e-prescribing were identified and described. The three themes included: (1) increased cognitive burden on pharmacy staff, such as having to memorize parts of e-prescriptions or having to perform dosage calculations mentally; (2) interruptions during the e-prescription dispensing process; and (3) communication issues with prescribers, patients, and among pharmacy staff. Pharmacy staff reported these consequences of e-prescribing increased the likelihood of medication errors.
This study is the first of its kind to identify patient safety risks related to e-prescribing in community pharmacies using a sociotechnical systems framework. The findings shed light on potential interventions that may enhance patient safety in pharmacies and facilitate improved e-prescribing use. Future studies should confirm patient safety hazards reported and identify ways to utilize e-prescribing effectively and safely in community pharmacies.
PMCID: PMC3966066  PMID: 23708439
Electronic Prescribing; Pharmacy; Health Information Technology; Patient Safety; Sociotechnical Systems
15.  From insecure to secure employment: changes in work, health, health related behaviours, and sickness absence 
Aims: To determine whether change in employment status (from fixed term to permanent employment) is followed by changes in work, health, health related behaviours, and sickness absence.
Methods: Prospective cohort study with four year follow up. Data from 4851 (710 male, 4141 female) hospital employees having a fixed term or permanent job contract on entry to the study were collected at baseline and follow up.
Results: At baseline, compared to permanent employees, fixed term employees reported lower levels of workload, job security, and job satisfaction. They also reported greater work ability. All fixed term employees had a lower rate of medically certified sickness absence at baseline. Baseline rate ratios for those who remained fixed term were 0.64 (95% CI 0.55 to 0.75), and were 0.50 (95% CI 0.34 to 0.75) for those who later became permanent. Continuous fixed term employment was not associated with changes in the outcome measures. Change from fixed term to permanent employment was followed by an increase in job security, enduring job satisfaction, and increased medically certified sickness absence (compared to permanent workers rate ratio 0.96 (95% CI 0.80 to 1.16)). Other indicators of work, health, and health related behaviours remained unchanged.
Conclusion: Receiving a permanent job contract after fixed term employment is associated with favourable changes in job security and job satisfaction. The corresponding increase in sickness absence might be due to a reduction in presenteeism and the wearing off of health related selection.
PMCID: PMC1740437  PMID: 14634187
16.  Association of Job Demands with Work Engagement of Japanese Employees: Comparison of Challenges with Hindrances (J-HOPE) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91583.
Recent epidemiological research in Europe has reported that two groups of job demands, i.e., challenges and hindrances, are differently associated with work engagement. The purpose of the present study was to replicate the cross-sectional association of workload and time pressure (as a challenge) and role ambiguity (as a hindrance) with work engagement among Japanese employees.
Between October 2010 and December 2011, a total of 9,134 employees (7,101 men and 1,673 women) from 12 companies in Japan were surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire comprising the Job Content Questionnaire, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Generic Job Stress Questionnaire, short 10-item version of the Effort-Reward Imbalance Questionnaire, short nine-item version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, and demographic characteristics. Multilevel regression analyses with a random intercept model were conducted.
After adjusting for demographic characteristics, workload and time pressure showed a positive association with work engagement with a small effect size (standardized coefficient [β] = 0.102, Cohen’s d [d] = 0.240) while role ambiguity showed a negative association with a large effect size (β = −0.429, d = 1.011). After additionally adjusting for job resources (i.e., decision latitude, supervisor support, co-worker support, and extrinsic reward), the effect size of workload and time pressure was not attenuated (β = 0.093, d = 0.234) while that of role ambiguity was attenuated but still medium (β = −0.242, d = 0.609).
Among Japanese employees, challenges such as having higher levels of workload and time pressure may enhance work engagement but hindrances, such as role ambiguity, may reduce it.
PMCID: PMC3948913  PMID: 24614682
17.  Self-Reported Subjective Workload of On-Call Interns 
Workload has traditionally been measured by using surrogates, such as number of patients admitted or census, but these may not fully represent the complex concept of workload.
We measured self-reported subjective workload of interns and explored the relationship between subjective workload and possible predictors of it.
Trained research assistants observed internal medicine interns on call on a general medicine service. Approximately once an hour, the research assistants recorded the self-reported subjective workload of the interns by using Borg's Self-Perceived Exertion Scale, a 6 to 20 scale, and also recorded their own perceptions of the intern's workload. Research assistants continuously recorded the tasks performed by the interns. Interns were surveyed before and after the observation to obtain demographic and census data.
Our sample included 25 interns, with a mean age of 28.6 years (SD, 2.4 years). Mean self-reported subjective workload was 12.0 (SD, 2.4). Mean self-reported subjective workload was significantly correlated with intern age (r  =  0.49, P < .05), but not with team or intern census, number of admissions, or number of patients cross-covered. Self-reported subjective workload in the period after sign-out was significantly higher than in the period before and during sign-out (P < .001).
Self-reported subjective workload was not associated with traditional measures of workload. However, receiving sign-out and assuming the care of cross-coverage patients may be related to higher subjective workload in interns. Given the patient safety implications of workload, it is important that the medical education community have tools to evaluate workload and identify contributors to it.
PMCID: PMC3771172  PMID: 24404306
18.  Burnout, Job Satisfaction, and Medical Malpractice among Physicians 
Objectives: Our objective was to estimate the incidence of recent burnout in a large sample of Taiwanese physicians and analyze associations with job related satisfaction and medical malpractice experience.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional survey. Physicians were asked to fill out a questionnaire that included demographic information, practice characteristics, burnout, medical malpractice experience, job satisfaction, and medical error experience. There are about 2% of total physicians. Physicians who were members of the Taiwan Society of Emergency Medicine, Taiwan Surgical Association, Taiwan Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Taiwan Pediatric Association, and Taiwan Stroke Association, and physicians of two medical centers, three metropolitan hospitals, and two local community hospitals were recruited.
Results: There is high incidence of burnout among Taiwan physicians. In our research, Visiting staff (VS) and residents were more likely to have higher level of burnout of the emotional exhaustion (EE) and depersonalization (DP), and personal accomplishment (PA). There was no difference in burnout types in gender. Married had higher-level burnout in EE. Physicians who were 20~30 years old had higher burnout levels in EE, those 31~40 years old had higher burnout levels in DP, and PA. Physicians who worked in medical centers had a higher rate in EE, DP, and who worked in metropolitan had higher burnout in PA. With specialty-in-training, physicians had higher-level burnout in EE and DP, but lower burnout in PA. Physicians who worked 13-17hr continuously had higher-level burnout in EE. Those with ≥41 times/week of being on call had higher-level burnout in EE and DP. Physicians who had medical malpractice experience had higher-level burnout in EE, DP, and PA. Physicians who were not satisfied with physician-patient relationships had higher-level burnout than those who were satisfied.
Conclusion: Physicians in Taiwan face both burnout and a high risk in medical malpractice. There is high incidence of burnout among Taiwan physicians. This can cause shortages in medical care human resources and affect patient safety. We believe that high burnout in physicians was due to long working hours and several other factors, like mental depression, the evaluation assessment system, hospital culture, patient-physician relationships, and the environment. This is a very important issue on public health that Taiwanese authorities need to deal with.
PMCID: PMC3775103  PMID: 24046520
Physician burnout; Medical malpractice; Job Satisfaction; Duty hour limitation.
19.  Empowering employees with chronic diseases; development of an intervention aimed at job retention and design of a randomised controlled trial 
Persons with a chronic disease are less often employed than healthy persons. If employed, many of them experience problems at work. Therefore, we developed a training programme aimed at job retention. The objective of this paper is to describe this intervention and to present the design of a study to evaluate its effectiveness.
Development and description of intervention
A systematic review, a needs assessment and discussions with Dutch experts led to a pilot group training, tested in a pilot study. The evaluation resulted in the development of a seven-session group training combined with three individual counselling sessions. The training is based on an empowerment perspective that aims to help individuals enhance knowledge, skills and self-awareness. These advances are deemed necessary for problem solving in three stages: exploration and clarification of work related problems, communication at the workplace, and development and implementation of solutions. Seven themes are discussed and practised in the group sessions: 1) Consequences of a chronic disease in the workplace, 2) Insight into feelings and thoughts about having a chronic disease, 3) Communication in daily work situations, 4) Facilities for disabled employees and work disability legislation, 5) How to stand up for oneself, 6) A plan to solve problems, 7) Follow-up.
Participants are recruited via occupational health services, patient organisations, employers, and a yearly national conference on chronic diseases. They are eligible when they have a chronic physical medical condition, have a paid job, and experience problems at work. Workers on long-term, 100% sick leave that is expected to continue during the training are excluded. After filling in the baseline questionnaire, the participants are randomised to either the control or the intervention group. The control group will receive no care or care as usual. Post-test mail questionnaires will be sent after 4, 8, 12 and 24 months. Primary outcome measures are job retention, self efficacy, fatigue and work pleasure. Secondary outcome measures are work-related problems, sick leave, quality of life, acquired work accommodations, burnout, and several quality of work measures. A process evaluation will be conducted and satisfaction with the training, its components and the training methods will be assessed.
Many employees with a chronic condition experience problems in performing tasks and in managing social relations at work. We developed an innovative intervention that addresses practical as well as psychosocial problems. The results of the study will be relevant for employees, employers, occupational health professionals and human resource professionals (HRM).
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC2614990  PMID: 18983652
20.  The Moderating Role of Power Distance on the Relationship between Employee Participation and Outcome Variables  
Background: Many organisations have realised the importance of human resource for their competitive advantage. Empowering employees is therefore essential for organisational effectiveness. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between employee participation with outcome variables such as organisational commitment, job satisfaction, perception of justice in an organisation and readiness to accept job responsibilities. It further examined the impact of power distance on the relationship between participation and four outcome variables.
Methods: This was a cross sectional study with a descriptive research design conducted among employees and managers of hospitals affiliated with Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. A questionnaire as a main procedure to gather data was developed, distributed and collected. Descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficient and moderated multiple regression were used to analyse the study data.
Results: Findings of the study showed that the level of power distance perceived by employees had a significant relationship with employee participation, organisational commitment, job satisfaction, perception of justice and readiness to accept job responsibilities. There was also a significant relationship between employee participation and four outcome variables. The moderated multiple regression results supported the hypothesis that power distance had a significant effect on the relationship between employee participation and four outcome variables.
Conclusion: Organisations in which employee empowerment is practiced through diverse means such as participating them in decision making related to their field of work, appear to have more committed and satisfied employees with positive perception toward justice in the organisational interactions and readiness to accept job responsibilities.
PMCID: PMC3937939  PMID: 24596840
Job Satisfaction; Organisational Justice; Organisational Readiness; Organisational Commitment; Power Distance Culture
21.  Burnout in Medical Residents: A Study Based on the Job Demands-Resources Model 
The Scientific World Journal  2014;2014:673279.
Purpose. Burnout is a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job. The purpose of our cross-sectional study was to estimate the burnout rates among medical residents in the largest Greek hospital in 2012 and identify factors associated with it, based on the job demands-resources model (JD-R). Method. Job demands were examined via a 17-item questionnaire assessing 4 characteristics (emotional demands, intellectual demands, workload, and home-work demands' interface) and job resources were measured via a 14-item questionnaire assessing 4 characteristics (autonomy, opportunities for professional development, support from colleagues, and supervisor's support). The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) was used to measure burnout. Results. Of the 290 eligible residents, 90.7% responded. In total 14.4% of the residents were found to experience burnout. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that each increased point in the JD-R questionnaire score regarding home-work interface was associated with an increase in the odds of burnout by 25.5%. Conversely, each increased point for autonomy, opportunities in professional development, and each extra resident per specialist were associated with a decrease in the odds of burnout by 37.1%, 39.4%, and 59.0%, respectively. Conclusions. Burnout among medical residents is associated with home-work interface, autonomy, professional development, and resident to specialist ratio.
PMCID: PMC4230205  PMID: 25531003
22.  Health problems and psychosocial work environment as predictors of long term sickness absence in employees who visited the occupational physician and/or general practitioner in relation to work: a prospective study 
Aims: To determine whether psychosocial work environment and indicators of health problems are prospectively related to incident long term sickness absence in employees who visited the occupational physician (OP) and/or general practitioner (GP) in relation to work.
Methods: The baseline measurement (May 1998) of the Maastricht Cohort Study, a prospective cohort study among 45 companies and organisations, was used to select employees at work who indicated having visited the OP and/or GP in relation to work. Self report questionnaires were used to measure indicators of health problems (presence of at least one long term disease, likeliness of having a mental illness, fatigue) and psychosocial work environment (job demands, decision latitude, social support, job satisfaction) as predictors of subsequent sickness absence. Sickness absence data regarding total numbers of sickness absence days were obtained from the companies and occupational health services during an 18 month period (between 1 July 1998 and 31 December 1999). Complete data were available from 1271 employees.
Results: After adjustment for demographics and the other predictors, presence of at least one long term disease (OR 2.36; 95% CI 1.29 to 4.29) and lower level of decision latitude (OR 1.69; 95% CI 1.22 to 2.38) were the strongest predictors for sickness absence of at least one month. A higher likelihood of having a mental illness, a higher level of fatigue, a lower level of social support at work, and low job satisfaction were also significant predictors for long term sickness absence, but their effect was less strong.
Conclusion: In detecting employees at work but at risk for long term sickness absence, OPs and GPs should take into account not only influence of the psychosocial work environment in general and level of decision latitude in particular, but also influence of indicators of health problems, especially in the form of long term diseases.
PMCID: PMC1740517  PMID: 12660378
23.  The global pharmacy workforce: a systematic review of the literature 
The importance of health workforce provision has gained significance and is now considered one of the most pressing issues worldwide, across all health professions. Against this background, the objectives of the work presented here were to systematically explore and identify contemporary issues surrounding expansion of the global pharmacy workforce in order to assist the International Pharmaceutical Federation working group on the workforce.
International peer and non-peer-reviewed literature published between January 1998 and February 2008 was analysed. Articles were collated by performing searches of appropriate databases and reference lists of relevant articles; in addition, key informants were contacted. Information that met specific quality standards and pertained to the pharmacy workforce was extracted to matrices and assigned an evidence grade.
Sixty-nine papers were identified for inclusion (48 peer reviewed and 21 non-peer-reviewed). Evaluation of evidence revealed the global pharmacy workforce to be composed of increasing numbers of females who were working fewer hours; this decreased their overall full-time equivalent contribution to the workforce, compared to male pharmacists. Distribution of pharmacists was uneven with respect to location (urban/rural, less-developed/more-developed countries) and work sector (private/public). Graduates showed a preference for completing pre-registration training near where they studied as an undergraduate; this was of considerable importance to rural areas. Increases in the number of pharmacy student enrolments and pharmacy schools occurred alongside an expansion in the number and roles of pharmacy technicians. Increased international awareness and support existed for the certification, registration and regulation of pharmacy technicians and accreditation of training courses. The most common factors adding to the demand for pharmacists were increased feminization, clinical governance measures, complexity of medication therapy and increased prescriptions.
To maintain and expand the future pharmacy workforce, increases in recruitment and retention will be essential, as will decreases in attrition, where possible. However, scaling up the global pharmacy workforce is a complex, multifactorial responsibility that requires coordinated action. Further research by means of prospective and comparative methods, not only surveys, is needed into feminization; decreasing demand for postgraduate training; graduate trends; job satisfaction and the impact of pharmacy technicians; and how effective existing interventions are at expanding the pharmacy workforce. More coordinated monitoring and modelling of the pharmacy workforce worldwide (particularly in developing countries) is required.
PMCID: PMC2706790  PMID: 19545377
24.  Cost-effectiveness of a vocational enablement protocol for employees with hearing impairment; design of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:151.
Hearing impairment at the workplace, and the resulting psychosocial problems are a major health problem with substantial costs for employees, companies, and society. Therefore, it is important to develop interventions to support hearing impaired employees. The objective of this article is to describe the design of a randomized controlled trial evaluating the (cost-) effectiveness of a Vocational Enablement Protocol (VEP) compared with usual care.
Participants will be selected with the 'Hearing and Distress Screener'. The study population will consist of 160 hearing impaired employees. The VEP intervention group will be compared with usual care. The VEP integrated care programme consists of a multidisciplinary assessment of auditory function, work demands, and personal characteristics. The goal of the intervention is to facilitate participation in work. The primary outcome measure of the study is 'need for recovery after work'. Secondary outcome measures are coping with hearing impairment, distress, self-efficacy, psychosocial workload, job control, general health status, sick leave, work productivity, and health care use. Outcome measures will be assessed by questionnaires at baseline, and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after baseline. The economic evaluation will be performed from both a societal and a company perspective. A process evaluation will also be performed.
Interventions addressing occupational difficulties of hearing impaired employees are rare but highly needed. If the VEP integrated care programme proves to be (cost-) effective, the intervention can have an impact on the well-being of hearing impaired employees, and thereby, on the costs for the company as well for the society.
Trial registration
Netherlands Trial Register (NTR): NTR2782
PMCID: PMC3306742  PMID: 22380920
Hearing loss; 'Need for recovery after work'; Economic evaluation; Psychosocial problems; Occupational physician; Integrated care; Intervention
25.  Job stress, fatigue, and job dissatisfaction in Dutch lorry drivers: towards an occupation specific model of job demands and control 
Objectives: Building on Karasek's model of job demands and control (JD-C model), this study examined the effects of job control, quantitative workload, and two occupation specific job demands (physical demands and supervisor demands) on fatigue and job dissatisfaction in Dutch lorry drivers.
Methods: From 1181 lorry drivers (adjusted response 63%) self reported information was gathered by questionnaire on the independent variables (job control, quantitative workload, physical demands, and supervisor demands) and the dependent variables (fatigue and job dissatisfaction). Stepwise multiple regression analyses were performed to examine the main effects of job demands and job control and the interaction effect between job control and job demands on fatigue and job dissatisfaction.
Results: The inclusion of physical and supervisor demands in the JD-C model explained a significant amount of variance in fatigue (3%) and job dissatisfaction (7%) over and above job control and quantitative workload. Moreover, in accordance with Karasek's interaction hypothesis, job control buffered the positive relation between quantitative workload and job dissatisfaction.
Conclusions: Despite methodological limitations, the results suggest that the inclusion of (occupation) specific job control and job demand measures is a fruitful elaboration of the JD-C model. The occupation specific JD-C model gives occupational stress researchers better insight into the relation between the psychosocial work environment and wellbeing. Moreover, the occupation specific JD-C model may give practitioners more concrete and useful information about risk factors in the psychosocial work environment. Therefore, this model may provide points of departure for effective stress reducing interventions at work.
PMCID: PMC1740302  PMID: 12040108

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