Work-Related Stressors Among Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Home Visitors: A Qualitative Study
Home visitation, Burnout, Work-related stress, Coping mechanisms, Social support
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Background The Florida Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program delivers evidence-based home visiting services to over 1400 families each year. Home visitors are integral in providing resources for families to promote healthy pregnancy, child development, family wellness, and self-sufficiency. Due to the nature of this work, home visitors experience work-related pressures and stressors that can impact staff well-being and retention. Objectives The purpose of this study was to understand primary sources of work-related stress experienced by home visitors, subsequent effects on their engagement with program participants, and to learn of coping mechanisms used to manage stress. Methods In 2015, Florida MIECHV program evaluators conducted ten focus groups with 49 home visitors during which they ranked and discussed their top sources of work-related stress. Qualitative analysis was conducted to identify emergent themes in work-related stressors and coping/supports. Results Across all sites, the burden of paperwork and data entry were the highest ranked work-related stressors perceived as interfering with home visitors’ engagement with participants. The second-highest ranked stressors included caseload management, followed by a lack of resources for families, and dangerous environments. Home visitors reported gratification in their helping relationships families, and relied on coworkers or supervisors as primary sources of workplace support along with self-care (e.g. mini-vacations, recreation, and counseling). Conclusions for practice Florida MIECHV home visitors across all ten focus groups shared similar work-related stressors that they felt diminished engagement with program participants and could impact participant and staff retention. In response, Florida MIECHV increased resources to support home visitor compensation and reduce caseloads, and obtained a competitive award from HRSA to implement a mindfulness-based stress reduction training statewide.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Maternal and Child Health Journal, v. 22, p. 62-69
Scholar Commons Citation
Alitz, Paige J.; Geary, Shana; Birriel, Pamela C.; Sayi, Takudzwa; Ramakrishnan, Rema; Balogun, Omotola; Salloum, Alison; and Marshall, Jennifer T., "Work-Related Stressors Among Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Home Visitors: A Qualitative Study" (2018). Community and Family Health Faculty Publications. 26.
Erratum for this article: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-018-2622-y