"I have no doubt that all of us have been under stress at some point in our careers. We conducted a survey of the causes of stress among UK gastroenterologists. Our findings are published in Frontline Gastroenterology, with free text comments from respondents accessible below. The most common cause is excessive workload; other causes include unsatisfactory working conditions, inadequate IT systems, workspace, lack of secretarial staff and conflict. 

Suggested solutions include relief from some duties and mentoring. Understanding the issues will help us to try to come up with some proposals. The BSG have started a successful mentoring program and the Clinical Services and Standards Committee will be looking at the workload issue."

Dr Tony Tham Chair, Clinical Services & Standards Committee

Abstract

Aim Evaluation of stress and its causes in UK gastroenterologists,
Design Questionnaire emailed to all 1932 medical members of the British Society of Gastroenterology.

Results Of 567 respondents (29%), 107 (20%) graded their stress level as 4 or 5 out of 5. Stress levels correlated inversely with self- reported happiness levels (r=−0.60; p<0.001) and with hours slept per night (r=−0.23; p<0.01) and correlated directly with % time off-duty thinking about work (r=0.46; p<0001) and with proportion of nights with broken sleep (r=0.30; p<0.01). Due to stress over the past year, 21% of respondents reported one of the following: consulting their general practitioner (7%), attending occupational health (5%), taking planned time off (7%), taking anxiolytics/antidepressants (6%) and considering suicide (5.5%). These respondents had higher stress and lower happiness levels than the remainder. Stress levels were higher in women and in those working full time but had no other demographic associations.

The main causes of stress were excessive clinical work (ranked highest by 47% and most commonly patient-related administration), working conditions beyond control (ranked highest by 15% and most commonly inadequate information technology systems, workspace and secretarial staff) and conflict (ranked highest by 9%). Of eight potential factors, happiness with work showed the closest associations with overall happiness (positive) and overall stress (negative) levels. Talking to someone at work about stress was ranked difficult or impossible by 35%. The highest ranked suggested solutions were relief from some duties and mentoring.

Conclusions: Stress is common and has objective correlates in UK gastroenterologists. The main cause is excessive workload.


Access the full paper here.
Acess the BSG 2017 Stress Survey: Free Text Statements here.

 

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Authors

Professor Dermot Gleeson
Dr Tony Tham
Chair, Clinical Services & Standards Committee
Dr Andrew Douds
Deputy Chair, Clinical Services & Standards Committee
Dr Andrew Goddard
Howard Ellison
Christopher O'Shea