I was reading an article today (printed below) on “How Stressed Out are IT People?” A new study from healthITjobs.com is finding out that over half the healthcare IT workers are stressed because of deadlines, meeting, unrealistic workloads and too little time to balance work, family and exercise.

This may come as a shock, but to me, this is nothing new! IT people have always carried the stress load no matter what industry they are in. Think if the level of responsibility. Down systems, phones not working, printer issues, a power outage just caused major disruption, someone can’t work from home, someone can’t log in, etc.etc.etc. It’s really never ending. Because i have been in the industry so long, and I have carried the load of stress for my entire career, I can tell you this is not healthcare only. Still, when you have to throw in HIPAA, and the latest influx of virus, cybercrime and malware, it’s amazing an IT person can sleep at night.

How do we off-load this stress? Believe it or not, there are ways. The first way is to take care of YOURSELF. Make sure you have a healthy balance of family, entertainment and exercise. The stress will be there after your 30 minute cardio. The other way, is to work with your team. I find that sharing the stress, helps alleviate it. I know the buck always stops with one person, but when you have a team, and you are all in it together, it really does lift some of the stress. That’s why outsourcing is such a good thing. Gone are the days of everything falling on the one IT person in your practice.

The Study

How Stressed Out are IT People? Reposted from Healthcare IT News

Fifty five percent of healthcare IT professionals are frequently or constantly stressed, and 38 percent said the intensity of their stress is high or extremely high, according to the new HealthITJobs.com Stress Survey.

Among the 470 health IT professionals who completed the survey, managers are more likely to report higher levels of stress than participants with other job titles. Beyond that, the survey did not find any single job title particularly more stressful than others. Other factors – such as time in meetings, workload, control over deadlines and hours worked per week – have a greater impact on stress levels.

Health IT professionals who reported being frequently stressed are more likely than those who are only occasionally or rarely stressed hold management positions, have little control over deadlines, spend at least 11 hours a week in meetings, face unrealistic workloads, spend 51 or more hours on the job and either don’t exercise or only do so once a week.

Despite the fact that managers often dictate workload and expectations, only 15 percent of survey respondents said their managers were among the top three sources of stress. In fact, the top three adjectives used to describe managers were all positive: supportive, smart and trusts me.

For the few survey respondents who cited their managers as a source of stress, however, two-thirds ranked them as the number one cause.

More than one-third of respondents get six or fewer hours of sleep per night, and nearly half report exercising just once a week or not at all. One-third rated their physical health as OK, and a quarter rated it as less than ideal or even poor.

Another reason health IT jobs are stressful: the high stakes of working in a hospital or care scenario.

“Health IT jobs are stressful, no doubt,” HealthITJobs.com explained. “Health IT professionals may not be directly responsible for saving lives, but their projects and tasks impact the ability of healthcare providers to care for patients.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com