Satisfaction for patient and provider: A survey in 2013 reported that: “An alarming 70% of those surveyed in a recent Gallup poll either hate their jobs or are completely disengaged, and not even incentives and extras can extricate them from the working man’s blues.”
There has been a trend for some time in which workers stay with their job solely for income and/or a path toward retirement.
This is also present among the professions in which the work has become so stressful that time away from work has become a higher priority. among the professions in which the work has become so stressful that time away from work has become a higher priority. Higher suicide rates than average exist for physicians, dentists, veterinarians and chiropractors.
Among those not in health care, higher than average suicide rates are found among heavy equipment operators, lathe operators and electricians.
When a worker is injured, we often see a confounding problem in which they were burning-out on their career, are grateful for the break and are agitated at the thought of returning to their pre-injury employment. For many, the injury is an unintended opportunity to look at career change or avoidance of work entirely.
Within the professional community, this should not be a surprising finding since careers may have begun with an arbitrary choice of an educational path in the late teens, education then spanning a decade, student debt to be repaid, a family formed along the way, and shame associated with admitting that the career had not been an appropriate choice. Merely because someone is knowledgeable and skilled does not assure that s/he has satisfaction and fulfillment.
Although it is too rarely done, an important series of questions regarding satisfaction should be addressed with the injured worker:
- How well did you enjoy the work you were doing?
- Is this the type of work you felt you wanted as a career?
- Have you often felt that you were working for income rather than satisfaction?
- Do you feel appreciated for the work that you do?
- Do you find yourself thinking of new and different ways of earning a living in your future?
- Do you feel that family would be disappointed if you wanted to change careers?
- Do you feel trapped by the career decisions you made when you were much younger?
- If you could begin again, what type of career would you chose?
- Is there an honorable way to keep from returning to this job?
- Is being released to return to work relieving or distressing?
It is not the responsibility of those working within the workers’ compensation system to examine employee content and fulfillment. However, these factors may well determine outcome when an injured worker appears resistant to return to the job.