In a post I made at the beginning of November, I said that there is a lot of evidence that stressed employees do not deliver good products and services.
I was therefore interested to read the other day that scientists at Columbia University have recently shown that during stressful times in operating theatres, surgeons make up to 66 percent more mistakes than at other times.
I don’t expect that the methodology of the Columbia study - which involved the wearing of special clothing which monitored the electrical activity of a surgeon’s heart while operating - could be easily adapted to social workers and other child protection practitioners, working as they do in community settings. However, some research into the relationship between stress and error in child protection work would be a very good idea. And I think it should also look at the impact of both long-term and short-term stress.
Surely such a study is possible. There must be academics out there who could undertake it. And there must be sources of funding that could be found. Understanding the impact of stress on error in child protection work should be a priority.