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Durham e-Theses
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The contribution of counselling to stress reduction at work: the case of the national health service

Brown, Janet Ann (1996) The contribution of counselling to stress reduction at work: the case of the national health service. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This study was undertaken as a means to explore whether or not a counselling service had a role to play in the reduction of stress in the National Health Service (NHS). Current literature and anecdotal evidence would suggest that stress has increased in the NHS: particularly following; the Governments health reforms. The thesis considers how far this is the case and whether stress has increased following the changes in organisational structure and practice. There is now a substantial and well established literature on stress at work which relates to the NHS. This suggests that stress interferes with performance and that in turn can affect the performance of the organisation. The cost of this stress both on the individual and the organisation was examined. Strategies that the individual may initiate to reduce stress and strategies the organisation could initiate to reduce stress in the work force were also examined. This examination included the role of a counselling service. These issues were explored through the literature and by means of a small qualitative study involving nurses working in a middle management role in a NHS Trust. From these sources conclusions were drawn regarding the causes and effects of stress for that particular group and ways in which stress could be managed both individually and organisationally. What was clear from the data was that a counselling service alone may not assist in the reduction of stress. There seemed two main reasons for this. Firstly counselling addresses individual symptoms rather than organisational causes unless some system of feed back to the organisation is built into the process. Secondly there was a reluctance of employees to use a counselling service. This reluctance to use the service was due to a resistance to admit to feelings of stress particularly associated with work. The organisational culture somehow perceived this as a weakness. It is this aspect that warrants further examination and exploration if indeed the NHS wishes to create a healthy work environment.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1996
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 Oct 2012 15:11

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