The term “health promotion in the workplace’ is a multidimensional concept. Two major philosophies about health and how it is affected are embraced by this concept. The first philosophy takes individual behavior and responsibility as the determinants of health.
As much as it may acknowledge the role of environments and genetics to some degree, this philosophy arises from individual behavior. As a result, the workplace is seen mainly as a venue delivering of various programs is carried out. Examples of programs are; fitness, smoking cessation, stress management, back care, nutrition, weight reduction and medication. (Shain, Kramer 2004)
The second philosophy sees health as being influenced by forces which are not within the individual’s control. Together with acknowledging the responsibility of the individual, the role of the environment is focused on by this set of beliefs. As a result, the workplace in its own right is seen as an influence. The attention here tends to be on the design of work and organization in both its psychosocial and physical dimensions. (Shain, Kramer 2004)
The main objective of this research paper was to explore and find out the problems and challenges that are found in a health setting with regard to health promotion.
It also sought to come up with a hypothetical plan outline to address the problems and also obstacles and pitfalls involved. Above all it is hoped that this paper has shed light on the concept of health promotion at the work place. This paper looked at the topic in context of the present situation in the health sector. As such, it is hoped that the results are relevant.
The research for the material was done through various means. The main method was through research in the library and the internet. There was keen interest on the internet because it has relevant and current material. The books were particularly useful in getting the past perspective, data and facts on the topic.
This enabled more understanding and easier relation to the current state of health promotion at the work place. The main search phrase was “health promotion in the work place”. I was able to get good and useful material through its use as it was the main topic. The peer review journal articles were useful because they enabled me to get the perspective of the workers and employees in the hospital.
The growth of managed health care in health institutions in the 1990s seemed to hold up the promise of substantial growth for health promotion at the work place. It also held up the potential to bring health promotion at the workplace into the medical mainstream.
One of main beliefs of health promotion at the workplace was to keep workers healthy, thereby reducing medical costs and preventing the need for medical care. Indeed, a number of health institutions developed substantial health promotion units and encouraged their employers to implement and expand programs of health promotion. They sometimes provided free health promotion services to their employees. (O’Donnell P, 2001)
Unfortunately, most health institutions did not develop sufficient internal skills to implement high-quality programs or sufficiently large staff to serve more than a small portion of the employees. Many of these programs were never established linkages within the medical leadership of the organizations as they were seen as vehicles of marketing.
When profit margins in the health care industry dropped, many managed institutions severely reduced or cut their health promotion programs. Ironically, many employers still see their organizations as having primary responsibility for their health promotion programs. (O’Donnell P, 2001)
With the exception of a few programs in Australia, Europe, Japan, and South America, workplace health promotion has been primarily a North American phenomenon. The United States leads the world in terms of the number and sophistication of health promotion in workplace programs. (O’Donnell P, 2001)