Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline healthcare workers had already experienced burnout. Burnout can cause medical errors that may cost patients their lives.
There are steps you can take to prevent burnout in healthcare professionals. Offering resources that will enable them to better manage their stress can make an enormous difference in outcomes.
1. Create a Support System
Burnout can lead to chronic stress, energy drain and cynicism which erode job performance; in healthcare fields this could have serious and life-changing repercussions for patients.
Healthcare institutions must offer staff members a network of support from supervisors and HR representatives; but it’s also critical for individuals to develop individual coping strategies such as counseling sessions, peer groups and mindfulness practices.
People suffering from burnout may exhibit symptoms including emotional exhaustion, reduced personal accomplishment, and reduced job meaning, according to Rhiza. They may become irritable, less engaged and experience difficulty sleeping. They might also show physical signs such as jaw clenching or tension muscles – yet, Rhiza asserts, the key thing for people experiencing burnout is simply to remain aware and seek assistance if necessary – this way people can prioritize their health and wellness while remaining effective workers in the workplace.
2. Set Boundaries
Healthcare workers tend to strive for perfection when it comes to pleasing, being empathic and working as part of a team, which can create an unwelcoming work environment. Many healthcare workers also feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be accomplished and the associated stress.
Healthcare executives can aid employees in combatting burnout by offering resources like support groups and wellness programs, or encouraging healthy habits like regular exercise and mindfulness, which have proven to significantly decrease stress levels.
Physicians can utilize professional development and mentorship programs to learn to effectively set boundaries with their patients. Effective boundaries should be short, unjustified decisions that reflect underlying values – for instance limiting length of visits with each patient or referring them out for procedures not covered within their area of expertise, or not answering calls or emails after hours or on weekends.
3. Take Time Off
Although burnout may feel like an inevitable part of healthcare work, healthcare workers can get too caught up in their work to realize they’re suffering. That is why administrators and HR professionals need to de-stigmatize it so healthcare workers feel free to discuss their stressors without fear of judgment or reprisals from management or co-workers.
Not only can this alleviate burnout for individuals, but it’s also good for the entire system as an overall goal when employees are healthy and happy. Employees suffering from burnout may be less productive as well as have difficulty working as part of a team; their negativity could spread and impact morale at an organizational or departmental level.
Take time off is essential to health workers of all stripes, but particularly crucial if your career involves healthcare. That could mean scheduling a vacation or simply setting aside one day here or there for self-care activities. If your organization doesn’t already encourage taking breaks, now may be the time to create one!
4. Take Care of Yourself
Hospitals and other medical centers are increasingly instituting stress-reduction programs; it’s just as essential that healthcare professionals take care to look after themselves by setting boundaries, scheduling time off, and prioritizing self-care.
Healthcare workers should keep an eye out for warning signs of emotional exhaustion, such as decreased sense of accomplishment or meaning in their work and feelings of cynicism. Furthermore, they should take notice if they become more irritable and frustrated than usual, are experiencing difficulty sleeping, or are grinding their teeth and clenching their jaws frequently.
If you’re feeling burned out by healthcare, changing up your job or specialty area could be just the thing to revive your enthusiasm for the field and make you look forward to coming in each day. Nucleus Healthcare can assist in finding just the right position – with everything from telehealth jobs to hospital positions available and all necessary training/certification provided as part of our services.