Emotional effort

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This factor measures the nature, level, frequency and duration demands of the emotional effort required to undertake clinical or non-clinical duties that are generally considered to be distressing and/or emotionally demanding.

Level 1:     (a) Exposure to distressing or emotional circumstances is rare, or
(b) occasional indirect exposure to distressing or emotional circumstances. 
Level 2:   (a) Occasional exposure to distressing or emotional circumstances, or
(b) frequent indirect exposure to distressing or emotional circumstances, or
(c) occasional indirect exposure to highly distressing or highly emotional circumstances.
Level 3:   (a) Frequent exposure to distressing or emotional circumstances, or
(b) occasional exposure to highly distressing or highly emotional circumstances, or
(c) frequent indirect exposure to highly distressing or highly emotional circumstances.
Level 4:   (a) Occasional exposure to traumatic circumstances, or
(b) frequent exposure to highly distressing or highly emotional circumstances.

Definitions and notes

Exposure relates to actual incidents but the extent of the emotional impact can be either direct, where the jobholder is directly exposed to a situation/patient/client with emotional demands, or indirect where the jobholder is exposed to information about the situation and circumstances but is not directly exposed to the situation/patient/ client. 

Indirect exposure will generally reduce the level of intensity, so, for example, indirect exposure to highly distressing or emotional circumstances (for example word processing reports of child abuse) – levels 3b or 4b – is treated as equivalent to the levels below i.e. levels 2a or 3a. 

Distressing or emotional circumstances (levels 1 to 3) for example:

  • Imparting unwelcome news to staff, patients/clients or relatives. This includes disciplinary or grievance matters, or redeployment/redundancy situations.
  • Care of the terminally ill.
  • Dealing with difficult family situations or circumstances.
  • Exposure to severely injured bodies/corpses.

Indirect exposure to highly distressing (levels 2c and 3c) for example, taking minutes or typing reports concerning child abuse. 

Highly distressing or emotional circumstances (levels 3b and 4b)

  • This includes imparting news of terminal illness or unexpected death to patients and relatives; personal involvement with child abuse or family breakdown.
  • Dealing with people with severely challenging behaviour.

Traumatic incidents (level 4a) for example:

  • Arriving at scene of, or dealing with patients/relatives as a result of, a serious incident.

Rare means less than once a month on average. 

Occasional means once a month or more on average. This level is also appropriate where the circumstances in which the jobholder is involved are very serious, such as a major accident or incident, but occur less than once a month.

Frequent means on average, once a week or more.

Fear of violence is measured under working conditions.

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