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Research Seminars

Virtual seminar: Prof Jill Maben - University of Surrey, Prof Jackie Bridges - University of Southampton and Dr. Barbara Bechter - Durham University

Wednesday, 30 June 2021
12:30 to 14:00
Prof Jill Maben, Prof Jackie Bridges, Doctor Barbara Bechter
Virtual event

Topic: Well-being in the health and social care sectors during the COVID-19 Pandemic

As part of The Centre for Organisations and Society (COS)'s monthly online seminar series.

Presentation one:

Paper title: “Covid‐19: Supporting nurses' psychological and mental health”

Presenters: Prof. Jill Maben, University of Surrey and Prof. Jackie Bridges, University of Southampton

Abstract:

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic takes hold, nurses are on the front line of health and social care in the most extreme of circumstances. We reflect during a moment in time (week three of lockdown in the UK and week 5/6 across Europe) to highlight the issues facing nurses at this unprecedented time. At the bedside 24 hr a day seven days a week, in similar outbreaks, nurses have had the highest levels of occupational stress and resulting distress compared with other groups (Cheong & Lee, 2004; Maunder et al., 2006; Nickell et al., 2004). Nurses are already a high‐risk group, with the suicide rate among nurses 23% higher than the national average (ONS, 2017). Despite this, the RCN (Royal College of Nursing in the UK) has reported that nurses feel “repeatedly” ignored by their employers when they raise concerns about their mental health (Mitchell, 2019). A focus on personal responsibility for psychological health and well‐being and an overemphasis on nurses being “resilient” in the face of under‐staffing and often intense emotional work is consistently challenged by nurses and nurse academics (Traynor, 2018). Treating resilience as an individual trait is seen to “let organisations off the hook” (Traynor, 2018), yet has often been the focus of organisational strategies to date. This does not work at the best of times and certainly is not appropriate now in these most difficult of circumstances. Here, we discuss the stressors and challenges and present evidence‐informed guidance to address the physical and psychological needs of nurses during the COVID‐19 pandemic. We stress the importance of peer and team support to enable positive recovery after acutely stressful and emotionally draining experiences, and outline what managers, organisations and leaders can do to support nurses at this most critical of times.

To read their paper click here.

Presentation two

Paper title: “Health Risk Outlooks by Social Partners – HEROS. A multi-level analysis of health and safety policy interventions by social partners to identify effective ways to ensure better protection of employees at work.”

Presenter: Dr. Barbara Bechter, Durham University

Abstract:

The current Covid-19 pandemic highlights the importance of greater policy coordination to protect and promote healthy, safe and well-adapted work environments. The European Framework Directive on Occupational Safety and Health at Work guarantees minimum health and safety requirements for employees throughout Europe while member states are allowed to maintain or establish measures that are more stringent. The pandemic however has revealed gaps in the provision of health and safety at work in almost all member states. Although knowledge about emerging risks in occupational health and safety has increased, the rise in non-standard employment and new forms of work organisation associated with organisational change have added to the complexity of health and safety risk management. Generally, the growth of more flexible work arrangements, subcontracting, casual and home‐based work and the decline in union membership has undermined both coverage and the effectiveness of health and safety provisions.

In this study, we investigate health and safety policy interventions by social partners in six countries (Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and the UK) in the hospitals and social services sectors. Health workers in hospital and social care have been on the frontline of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and as such are exposed to hazards to their psychological and physical well-being. Health workers in both sectors are carrying out physically demanding work and are exposed to occupational risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and psychosocial risks. Social services, however, are usually associated with precarious employment practices, which, in turn, are linked to adverse occupational health and safety outcomes. The provision of health and safety policy interventions involves multiple actors at multiple levels. At the company level, health and safety representatives together with management are responsible for health and safety at work. In union workplaces, trade unions provide assistance and services to their local union representatives too. The analytical framework draws on the actor-centered institutional perspective that takes account of institutional structures and policy intervention processes in six countries, including contextual and employment factors that affect the work environment and processes, and occupational health and safety risks.

Click here to join the seminar.

Biographies:

Prof. Jill Maben is a nurse and social scientist and her research focuses on supporting staff to care well for patients. Jill qualified as a Registered nurse at Addenbrookes in Cambridge and studied History at UCL, before undertaking her Masters in Nursing at King's College London and completing her PhD at the University of Southampton. She completed her PGCE at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2007. Jill was awarded an OBE in June 2014 for services to nursing and healthcare. In 2013 she was in the Health Services Journal ‘Top 100 leaders’ and was also included on Health Service Journal’s inaugural list of Most Inspirational Women in Healthcare the same year.

Prof. Jackie Bridges programme of work focuses on the organisation and delivery of health care to older people with complex needs. She leads a major programme of research focused on professional work and organisational change related to older people's care, and steers the development and delivery of associated educational provision within Health Sciences. Jackie leads the Ageing and Dementia research group and is an investigator for NIHR ARC Wessex, helping to lead the ARC Ageing and Dementia work in Wessex and nationally.

Dr Barbara Bechter is Associate Professor in Human Resource Management at Durham University. She holds a PhD in Social and Economic Sciences from the University of Vienna. Prior to joining Durham University Business School in June 2015, she taught at the York Management School. She is an Academic Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). She is interested in international and interdisciplinary research at the intersection between work organizations, society and economy. The scope of her research activities covers research on comparative Human Resource Management, including the international level, and issues concerning individual and collective aspects of the employment relationship.

Virtual seminar: Prof Jill Maben - University of Surrey, Prof Jackie Bridges - University of Southampton and Dr. Barbara Bechter - Durham University

Wednesday, 30 June 2021
12:30 to 14:00
Prof Jill Maben, Prof Jackie Bridges, Doctor Barbara Bechter
Virtual event

Topic: Well-being in the health and social care sectors during the COVID-19 Pandemic

As part of The Centre for Organisations and Society (COS)'s monthly online seminar series.

Presentation one:

Paper title: “Covid‐19: Supporting nurses' psychological and mental health”

Presenters: Prof. Jill Maben, University of Surrey and Prof. Jackie Bridges, University of Southampton

Abstract:

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic takes hold, nurses are on the front line of health and social care in the most extreme of circumstances. We reflect during a moment in time (week three of lockdown in the UK and week 5/6 across Europe) to highlight the issues facing nurses at this unprecedented time. At the bedside 24 hr a day seven days a week, in similar outbreaks, nurses have had the highest levels of occupational stress and resulting distress compared with other groups (Cheong & Lee, 2004; Maunder et al., 2006; Nickell et al., 2004). Nurses are already a high‐risk group, with the suicide rate among nurses 23% higher than the national average (ONS, 2017). Despite this, the RCN (Royal College of Nursing in the UK) has reported that nurses feel “repeatedly” ignored by their employers when they raise concerns about their mental health (Mitchell, 2019). A focus on personal responsibility for psychological health and well‐being and an overemphasis on nurses being “resilient” in the face of under‐staffing and often intense emotional work is consistently challenged by nurses and nurse academics (Traynor, 2018). Treating resilience as an individual trait is seen to “let organisations off the hook” (Traynor, 2018), yet has often been the focus of organisational strategies to date. This does not work at the best of times and certainly is not appropriate now in these most difficult of circumstances. Here, we discuss the stressors and challenges and present evidence‐informed guidance to address the physical and psychological needs of nurses during the COVID‐19 pandemic. We stress the importance of peer and team support to enable positive recovery after acutely stressful and emotionally draining experiences, and outline what managers, organisations and leaders can do to support nurses at this most critical of times.

To read their paper click here.

Presentation two

Paper title: “Health Risk Outlooks by Social Partners – HEROS. A multi-level analysis of health and safety policy interventions by social partners to identify effective ways to ensure better protection of employees at work.”

Presenter: Dr. Barbara Bechter, Durham University

Abstract:

The current Covid-19 pandemic highlights the importance of greater policy coordination to protect and promote healthy, safe and well-adapted work environments. The European Framework Directive on Occupational Safety and Health at Work guarantees minimum health and safety requirements for employees throughout Europe while member states are allowed to maintain or establish measures that are more stringent. The pandemic however has revealed gaps in the provision of health and safety at work in almost all member states. Although knowledge about emerging risks in occupational health and safety has increased, the rise in non-standard employment and new forms of work organisation associated with organisational change have added to the complexity of health and safety risk management. Generally, the growth of more flexible work arrangements, subcontracting, casual and home‐based work and the decline in union membership has undermined both coverage and the effectiveness of health and safety provisions.

In this study, we investigate health and safety policy interventions by social partners in six countries (Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and the UK) in the hospitals and social services sectors. Health workers in hospital and social care have been on the frontline of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and as such are exposed to hazards to their psychological and physical well-being. Health workers in both sectors are carrying out physically demanding work and are exposed to occupational risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and psychosocial risks. Social services, however, are usually associated with precarious employment practices, which, in turn, are linked to adverse occupational health and safety outcomes. The provision of health and safety policy interventions involves multiple actors at multiple levels. At the company level, health and safety representatives together with management are responsible for health and safety at work. In union workplaces, trade unions provide assistance and services to their local union representatives too. The analytical framework draws on the actor-centered institutional perspective that takes account of institutional structures and policy intervention processes in six countries, including contextual and employment factors that affect the work environment and processes, and occupational health and safety risks.

Click here to join the seminar.

Biographies:

Prof. Jill Maben is a nurse and social scientist and her research focuses on supporting staff to care well for patients. Jill qualified as a Registered nurse at Addenbrookes in Cambridge and studied History at UCL, before undertaking her Masters in Nursing at King's College London and completing her PhD at the University of Southampton. She completed her PGCE at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2007. Jill was awarded an OBE in June 2014 for services to nursing and healthcare. In 2013 she was in the Health Services Journal ‘Top 100 leaders’ and was also included on Health Service Journal’s inaugural list of Most Inspirational Women in Healthcare the same year.

Prof. Jackie Bridges programme of work focuses on the organisation and delivery of health care to older people with complex needs. She leads a major programme of research focused on professional work and organisational change related to older people's care, and steers the development and delivery of associated educational provision within Health Sciences. Jackie leads the Ageing and Dementia research group and is an investigator for NIHR ARC Wessex, helping to lead the ARC Ageing and Dementia work in Wessex and nationally.

Dr Barbara Bechter is Associate Professor in Human Resource Management at Durham University. She holds a PhD in Social and Economic Sciences from the University of Vienna. Prior to joining Durham University Business School in June 2015, she taught at the York Management School. She is an Academic Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). She is interested in international and interdisciplinary research at the intersection between work organizations, society and economy. The scope of her research activities covers research on comparative Human Resource Management, including the international level, and issues concerning individual and collective aspects of the employment relationship.