Different occupations present a wide variety of different risks and benefits associated with them. Some of these risks are very obvious with clear cut solutions that can be implemented, while other risks are very less obvious that require a more complex process of solving them. Here I will highlight 3 very closely related occupations with closely related risks that the general population might not think are associated with these occupations. Those occupations in focus will include Nurses, EMS workers and Military infantry soldiers.
One of the much overlooked hazards of working as an LPN or RN is the mental strain they have to endure as a result of different contributing factors. Of many, these factors can include “burnouts” from long and harsh working hours, mental emotional strain from working with patients and workplace violence that is more commonplace than what people might think. Statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration report that in 2013, “the broad “healthcare and social assistance” sector had 7.8 cases of serious workplace violence per 10,000 full-time employees”. This statistic might not seem like all that much but given that the national average for healthcare workers in relation to workplace violence is four times higher than that of any other public service occupations listed not including police officers and EMS workers it becomes clear that there is a clear occupational hazard we might be overlooking. As of today there is no clear guidelines or pre written scripture that outlines steps to take when presented with workplace violence from patients. As a solution I think more formal training should be implemented to the workers on how to deal with a violent patient. This training should include conflict resolution skills, evade and rescue skills and some basic self defense skills to hold off attackers until authorities arrive on the scene. There are many 3rd party companies that offer such services many of these organizations ran by ex-military, police and veteran community members so this service would be a mutually beneficial arrangement.
EMS is a wide encompassing acronym that includes any and all ambulance and paramedic related services. This includes and is not limited to emergency medical personnel in land, sea or air. We’ll skip the obvious physical dangers these men and women have to endure and speak on a not so often spoken about problem amongst these emergency care providers. That is the mental strain and emotional anguish that they sustain from constant interactions with the ill and the dying. A study published in the national libray of medicine sited a studied that shows “In 2016, nearly 45,000 deaths in the United States were attributed to suicide making this the 10th leading cause of death for all ages. National survey data suggest that among Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), including firefighters and Paramedics, rates of suicide are significantly higher than among the general public. EMTs face high levels of acute and chronic stress as well as high rates of depression and substance abuse, which increase their risk of suicide.” This increase rate of suicide suggests that proper grieving techniques and outreach programs are needed. My suggestion to the establishments that run these oragnizations are to impliment a mental health awareness and suicide intervention programs. These programs would include some agreement with local hospitals to provide psychiatric and therapeutic resources to EMS workers for little to no cost. As well as have quarterly mental evaluations in group sessions amongst colleagues and one on one sessions with a mental health provider.
Lastly one of the more well known issues but still an epidemic among the veteren communities is the issue of the occupational transition difficulties from military to civilian life that still plagues veterans both in and out of combat roles. 23 veterens a day on average commit suicide. As a military man myself I understand the large differences that military life and civilian life present. The differences are night and day and it is in fact difficult to adapt to the older you leave active duty life. From the inside I can say there are no programs established to help exiting soldiers transition into civilian life not just in the workforce but mentally. From personal experience, the depression and loneliness that follows separation is very overbearing without the right outlets to bring forth your issues. Similar to EMS workers proper transition programs and emotional outreach programs with cities should be implemented to help veterans exiting military life transitioning into regular civilian life. Relationships with hospitals and public servant occupations should be established along with government incentives to hire veterans and provide mental and transitional guidance for them. One of the main issues I feel is the lack of occupational significance most Vets feel leaving prestiges active duty life to regular civilian work. Proper guidance must be provided to help exiting soldiers rediscover the significance and purpose in their work.
All the issues presented are things that affect thousands of people daily and should not be taken likely. But we can do our part to help contribute to the solutions by coming together as a community and raise awareness for these causes.