Professional doesn’t mean a slave to excessive workloads

If you thought working through excessive workloads with insufficient staff is being professional, think again.

Being a medical scientist, a psychologist or a pharmacist, by the very nature of the professions and the work, of course means being a professional.  It is an issue that often comes up when discussing workplace issues like increasing workloads and insufficient staff available to cover workloads.

Unfortunately when the work keeps piling up without the staff supported needed, it can create significant pressure. It can create situations where people get over-worked and neglect their own health because they have to plough through the work. Indeed whenever these sorts of issues are raised, without doubt there are some that insist people should be ‘professionals’; that excessive workloads go with being a ‘professional’.

It’s not clear to us as to why raising issues about workloads is not being ‘professional’.

What we can say about being ‘professional’ is that there is nothing professional in allowing your health to deteriorate because managements are refusing to manage staffing levels and workloads appropriately. There is nothing ‘professional’ about having excessive workloads because managements refuse to employ sufficient staff to do the work. And there is nothing ‘professional’ about working unpaid through meal breaks and before rostered starts or longer hours in order to get normal work done.

In fact, excessive workloads rob you of your ability to be professional.

When you are stressed and overworked errors can occur and mistakes can be amplified. Stress and being overworked can lead to serious health problems leading to increased time away from work. As you will know, errors and mistakes can make a major difference in a diagnosis or treatment; or critically delay a diagnosis for urgent treatments to be established.

It’s when you’re stressed and overworked that you’re most at risk of being unprofessional.

Excessive workloads are not about you and your level of professionalism; it’s increasingly clear excessive workloads are about management refusing to properly manage staffing levels and workloads and ensuring the availability of sufficient staff to undertake the workload.

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