The following list provides examples of the social determinants of health, which influence health equity in positive and negative ways: Income and social protection, Education, Unemployment, and job insecurity, Working life conditions, Food insecurity, Housing, basic amenities and the environment, Early childhood development, social inclusion, and non-discrimination, Structural conflict, Access to affordable health services of decent quality.
Working life conditions refers to the working environment and aspects of an employee’s terms and conditions of employment. This covers such matters as the organization of work and work activities; training, skills, and employability; health, safety, and well-being; and working time and work-life balance.
Working conditions can be stressful and may lead to emotional exhaustion, or burnout. The prevalence of burnout among healthcare workers is stunning. While physician burnout is not new, the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly accelerating the many negative repercussions of uncertainty and inadequate support, and the consequences are being felt by patients, physicians, and healthcare systems. According to Forbes, there are “15 Major Issues in Healthcare Employment.”
More than 1000 allied health professionals reported the same reoccurring issues unique to the healthcare industry that comprise of their job satisfaction. Some of these issues include Staff Shortage, Lack of Mentoring, Poor Organizational Culture, Burnout, Work Overload (Under-resourced), High Turnover Rate, Lack of Technology Resources, Outdated Systems, etc.
Burnout has been defined as a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a sense of low personal accomplishment that leads to decreased effectiveness at work. Within healthcare, burnout may affect bias, individual well-being, patient safety, quality of care, healthcare employee satisfaction and retention, erosion in the healthcare human capital national pool among other key performance indicators. Meaning the list grows. Now the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified workplace burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” that may warrant medical attention. While not classified as a disease or medical condition, workplace burnout is nonetheless a well-defined syndrome, according to WHO. In other words, addressing the work-life condition social determinant of the healthcare professional is a serious matter.
There is “a mass healthcare exodus according to recent studies, between 20% and 30% of frontline U.S. health-care workers say they are now considering leaving the profession. Notably, one April 2021 study by health care jobs marketplace found that four in 10 (43%) nurses are considering leaving their role in 2021 — a figure that is higher among ICU workers (48%).”In the final analysis, addressing the Work-Life Condition social determinant of the healthcare professional is a matter of national and global healthcare urgency. Many healthcare professionals are gravely wounded as a result of their work-life conditions.
Ultimately, one may survey, screen, identify, track, address, measure, and so-called close the loop on social determinants of health of patients beyond the hospital walls, as is proper, yet, if the workplace social determinant of the healthcare professional, namely emotional exhaustion – burnout, is not addressed in kind with bold and courageous urgency the social determinants of health loop beyond our hospital walls, contrary to popular opinion, may remain open and health equity and access to good health and well-being, i.e., healthcare, at perpetual risk. Therefore, if the aim is to “fundamentally restructure the healthcare delivery system (DSRIP et al)” then we can no longer wait to confront, address, and close the loop on social determinants of the healthcare professional (Work-Life Condition)
JohnMatthew Douglas is the President and Founder of iPressForward LLC and has over 20 years of diverse US healthcare sector experience. During the span of his healthcare career, JohnMatthew has evolved to more greatly serve the community, population, and public health, most notably Social Determinants of Health. JohnMatthew’s passion to serve community and US healthcare delivery fuels his tireless career commitment.
In recent years under the company name iPressForward, LLC Doughlas has consulted venture capital investment firms, marketing agencies, and global startups sharing his passion, wisdom, and subject matter expertise understanding of social determinants of health, healthcare group purchasing, community health, and US healthcare delivery and systems.