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The caring manager in health and social care
The caring manager in health and social care

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1.1 Stress in the context of health and social care settings

Being in a health and social care setting, while rewarding, is potentially stressful and sometimes emotionally overwhelming, especially when decisions have to be made under time pressures, with limited resources available and within the seemingly constant process of change – often on a large scale. The dual imperatives behind this change have been the needs to cut costs and improve services, increasingly in the face of competition for scarce resources from the independent and not-for-profit sectors. Managing change is not only challenging in itself but also in terms of supporting others, individually and collectively, when they might be facing uncertain personal futures because of organisational changes (Harvey, Liddell and McMahon, 2009).

This free course has an implicit dimension of personal awareness raising – awareness of others’ stress and how this might impact on both them and potentially ourselves in the context of health and social care. While different people have different ways of responding to change, the very process of change itself is likely to increase symptoms of stress and anxiety for many. Therefore, particular attention will be paid to stress and change, the relationship between stress and organisational change, and ways in which management can lead with a caring face in the context of ongoing organisational change in health and social care.