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3rd June 2011

Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs

Job-related stress is a major cause of work absence in the UK, due to employees being given tasks that are beyond their capability. Being under too much stress can compromise an employee’s health and safety and make them more susceptible to illness and diseases.

Nearly everyone experiences some levels of stress at work due to managers applying some degree of pressure on employees, but which industries carry the most stressful roles? The University of Manchester’s Institute of Science and Technology concluded the most stressful jobs in the UK are as follows:

1.    Prison Officer

Dealing with difficult prisoners and witnessing distressing situations, results in prison officers experiencing high levels of stress. Many prison officers are also anxious about or have been attacked by vicious inmates.

2.    Police Officer

There are many different reasons for a police officer to experience work-related stress: lack of support from colleagues and bosses; witnessing a violent scene; attacks on themselves and colleagues; and dealing with difficult individuals can cause all result in stress for a police officer. Also, shift patterns can restrict a police officer’s time spent at home with their family, leading to a consequence of an imbalance between work and home life.

3.    Social worker

Social workers can often experience work-related stress due to their emotional connection with some patients. It’s important for social workers to retain emotive resilience towards their patients and remain emotionally detached, although as humans, this can be extremely difficult. Dealing with difficult patients can also accumulate frustration and anger within a social worker.

4.    Teacher

Devising work plans and dealing with difficult students can leave some teachers feeling extremely strained. Students with a lack of motivation, or teaching large mixed-ability classes can lead to teachers feeling tense.

5.    Ambulance Service

Working within the ambulance service can be particularly pressurising, due to having people’s wellbeing and lives at risk. Driving at high speeds and resuscitating patients produce heightened senses of danger to themselves and patients, resulting in stress.

6.    Nursing

Understaffing is a major issue for nurses, particularly following job cuts in the health sector. Their emotional attachment to patients can initiate feelings of physical and emotional responsibility for the patients in their care.

7.    Medicine

Practicing medicine can also be stressful due to the practitioner’s responsibility for people’s health and wellbeing. Wrongly prescribing medicine can be fatal; resulting in medicine being a stressful occupation.

8.    Fire Fighting

Firefighters are constantly risking their own lives to save others who may be trapped in burning buildings. Firefighters often witness distressing scenes and situations which can stick in their mind and produce feelings of anxiety and distress.

9.    Dentistry

Many dentists experience physical exhaustion due to their demanding role, and stress due to lack of self-esteem and underuse of skills.

10.    Mining

The combination of working in dark and hot conditions is allegedly the main cause of work-related stress within the mining industry.

Reflecting on the 10 most stressful jobs, it appears the most stressful jobs involve some form of responsibility for other people’s health and safety. It’s important for employees in any job to keep a healthy balance of life and work to reduce stress levels. Employers should also try to help anyone who they believe is struggling with their role; to reduce the employee’s stress levels and improve self-esteem.

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