A study to identify stressors perceived by health science lecturing staff within a school at a South African university.
This study aimed to describe the stressors perceived by a group of Health Science lecturers in a School in a South African University, and to describe the coping strategies these lecturers used. The sample consisted of thirty, full-time lecturers in the three Disciplines that constituted the School. Three focus groups, one in each of the Disciplines, were held to gather the research material. The study reveaied that change in Tertiary Education and organisational issues such as the image of the institution, lecturing to a diverse student group, curriculum transformation and leadership issues were perceived as enduring stressors. An increased workload, brought about through the training of future health professionals, trying to stay abreast both professionally and as an academic and the nature of their academic appointments were further identified as potential stressors. Role conflicts in terms of juggling home and work responsibililies and role ambiguity with respect to being both a teacher and researcher were presented as additional stressors, as were certain day-to-day occurrences. Lastly, the lecturers identified a number of personal issues that were perceived as stressors. The study failed to highlight meaningful differences in the three Disciplines within the School, which is in keeping with other published research. The study also showed that the lecturers in each of the Disciplines had access to, and knowledge of, a wide range of coping mechanisms, both problem-based and emotion-focused. The lecturers in the three Disciplines used very similar coping strategies, and once again meaningful differences were not reported.