The impacts of working conditions on the quality of the healthcare system


(Credit, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Gabriele Montipó, a second-year medical student at the State University of Western
Paraná, in Francisco Beltrão, Brazil. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

One of the great challenges of the medical community nowadays is to achieve improvements in working conditions, that are currently precarious in a large part of the service network and which are making it increasingly difficult for professionals to do their work properly. Besides, there is not only one factor responsible for this critical scenario, but a network of processes that add up, generating difficult situations.

In their daily work, health professionals are exposed to multiple risk factors: physical, chemical, biological and mainly of a psychosocial nature. There is a lack of adequate instruments available, due to the lack of resources for the purchase of these materials, such as medicines; but even those well-equipped units can suffer from the overload of demand. A current example of this misfortune is the massive international demand for N-95 personal respirator masks, face shields and eye protection equipments due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Health professionals must come into close physical contact with patients during examinations and, without the correct equipment, they expose themselves to diseases on a daily basis. Furthermore, in Italy, doctors are even being forced to decide not to treat patients, because of the lack of resources.

Excluding physical fatigue due to the long night shifts, the doctor has to ‘try’ to overcome social problems, precarious working conditions, a patient who is unable to acquire medication, difficulty in hospitalization, lack of vacancies and difficulty in investigating with complementary expensive exams. To the young workforce that has just been introduced to this environment is even harder to adapt and to overcome these complicated conditions.

Consequently, these difficult situations translate into multiple and varied health problems, like sleep disorders, with sleep deprivation being considered an important factor for the increase wear and error. Also, anxiety produced at and by work contributes to the onset of psychiatric conditions, such as depression, burnout, panic syndrome, among others. It causes physical, cognitive and emotional overload, sometimes unbearable for professionals, causing illness, suffering and low job satisfaction. And all of these interact synergistically, enhancing health effects and damage.

But the solutions for this cruel reality are here, they just need to be put in practice. For example, implementing certain items of equipment better suited to difficult care would help improving the security of the health workers. Also, extending emotion-focused work discussion groups with management involvement could help smooth the emotional burden of the job. In addition, we need government agencies to contribute to a quality public health system through the expansion of their investments in infrastructure, remuneration of health professionals, combined with the participation of new technological mechanisms, supplying a shortage of doctors in the countryside and a better health process. After all, to make sure we can give our patients a good service, we need good material resources, with adequate human and working conditions.


WEERDT, Corinne Van De; BARATTA, René. Changes in working conditions for home healthcare workers and impacts on their work activity and on their emotions. Prod., São Paulo, v. 25, n. 2, p. 344-353, June 2015.

Machado MH (Coord.) Os médicos no Brasil: um retrato da realidade. Rio de Janeiro: Editora FIOCRUZ; 1997. 244 p.

About the author

Gabriele Montipó is a second-year medical student at the State University of Western
Paraná, in Francisco Beltrão, Brazil. She is a member of the International Federation of
Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) and participates in the Standing Committee On
Medical Education (SCOME). She wants to be part of the chance for a better medical
workplace and believes in the evolution of medical science. She has big hopes for the
future, as to become a surgeon and one day be part of the Doctors Without Borders
movement, helping to give medical care to those that most need it.


the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Conditions deteriorating alarmingly in Yemen, warns senior UN official

Young health workforce – a core of effective primary healthcare?

4 key steps to support cross-border payments and digital trade growth

MEPs choose Wiewiórowski to be the EU’s data protection watchdog

EU-wide rules for safety of drones approved by European Parliament

UN spotlights ‘explosive’ obesity rates, hunger in Latin America and Caribbean

Estonian Prime Minister Ratas: Europe is a thought that must become a feeling

UN Mission in Haiti calls on protestors, authorities, to refrain from violence

A Sting Exclusive: “Stronger Cybersecurity for a safer EU against cybercrime and cyber threats”, by MEP Dalli

Protests, violence in Haiti prompts international call for ‘realistic and lasting solutions’ to crisis

Boosting adult learning essential to help people adapt to future of work

How India’s new consumers can contribute to a $6 trillion opportunity

How has tech been used for good in civil society? We asked the experts

Italy’s M.Renzi and Germany’s S. Gabriel veto austerity, ask EU leaders to endorse growth measures

‘The clock is ticking’ on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, says UN deputy chief

Commission reviews relations with China, proposes 10 actions

‘Deeply concerned.’ WHO officials stress the need for continued vigilance – WHO briefing

Can Pakistan make its energy sector greener, cheaper and more reliable? The government thinks so

How to help companies become global defenders of LGBTI rights

Family-friendly policies benefit all of us. Here are 4 ways to boost them

Can China deal with climate change without the U.S.?

G20 LIVE: “International communities and leaders have great expectations for 2016 G20 summit in Hangzhou China”, Mr Wang Xiaolong, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s special envoy stresses live from G20 in Antalya Turkey

The ethics of the Medical Technology Civilisation era

2019 ‘a critical year’ for Somali politics and development says Security Council

Eurozone banks are unable to support real economy’s dawning growth

China in My Suburbs

Millions at risk if Syria’s war moves to last redoubt of Idlib, warns senior aid official

Brazil’s hopeless future of science

Eurozone: Negative statistics bring deflation and recession closer

UN makes ‘declaration of digital interdependence’, with release of tech report

Cyber-Risk Assessments: the vaccine for companies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

EU budget 2020: Commission focuses its proposal on jobs, growth and security

How China’s sponge cities are preparing for sea-level rise

‘Forgotten crisis’ in Cameroon, with attacks on the rise, millions in need of ‘lifesaving assistance’

Paradise islands of Pacific increasingly vulnerable to climate change, as UN boosts resilience

This Brooklyn farm company is training a new generation of urban farmers

Somalia: UN Security Council condemns terrorist attack in which dozens were killed or injured

Mechanism to protect democracy in the EU needed more than ever, says the EP

6 charts that show how Japan’s economy stacks up as it enters a new era

A 550 km-long mass of rotting seaweed is heading for Mexico’s pristine beaches

Everybody against Japan over yen’s devaluation

The Impact of climates changes in health: a problem for all of us

The community and a decent working conditions for the young health workforce

EU to host international donors’ conference for Albania to help with reconstruction after earthquake

DR Congo Ebola outbreak still an international public health concern

Guterres censures terrorist attacks in Nigeria, pledges UN ‘solidarity’

Commission approves emergency measures to protect eastern Baltic cod

What can the private sector do to alleviate the refugee crisis?

The EU’s outermost regions: strengthened partnership bears fruit

TTIP wins Merkel’s endorsement ahead of 2016 tough deadline

Parliament gives green light to EU-Singapore trade and investment protection deals

‘InvestEU’ programme: big boost for jobs, growth and investment

Tax crimes: MEPs want EU financial police force and financial intelligence unit

Why the most important tool in healthcare is trust

Afghanistan: UN mission welcomes new polling dates following election delays

We need to talk about mental health at work, say employees

How universities can become a platform for social change

Migration surge leaves children stranded, begging on Djibouti’s streets

Commission’s action plan: financial world mandatory links to environmental targets

What the future of trust looks like

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s