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

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1.2 Understanding stress and anxiety

Caring management and leadership require a comprehensive understanding of stress and its effects. This first activity will help you gain this understanding.

Activity 1 What causes stress and anxiety?

Timing: Allow about 1 hour 30 minutes

Read Sections 1–3 (from the start up to the heading ‘4 Approaching change’ on p. 12) of the following reading: Caring through stress, anxiety and change [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . This covers many potential sources of stress for those in health and social care. As you read:

  • make a note of these sources in the box below
  • go through this list of sources and identify which ones you think you have experienced.
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The sections that you read in the reading talk about the effects of stress, how stress is universal and how it is caused by a range of stressors in people’s private and working lives. It is often unforeseen and can also involve an intersection between our private and public lives. You may have noticed that you can also experience stress from things that are perceived as positive, such as moving to a new house, becoming a grandparent or starting a job that you really wanted.

All the sources of stress in the reading revolve around change – whether it is change in our personal lives or changes at an organisational and even global level. Management is yet another critical factor to take into consideration in any discussion of stress; poor management of stress can compound its effects.

While many of those working in health and social care are vulnerable to stress, as discussed in the reading, some groups are more vulnerable than others. Compassion fatigue was mentioned in relation to people in these roles. You will explore this in more depth in the next section.