Many clinicians have had enough, and they're leaving the profession, or taking some time off. This has the effect of causing additional stress in the workplace as duties shift and workloads increase. Stressed administrators, who must deal with the costs and frustrations of staffing open positions, has risen along with frontline burnout. It's a vicious circle.
The causes of burnoutBurnout is a state of severe mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion typically experienced by those working in high stress environments. It can manifest itself due to an increase in workload, insufficient pay for workload, long hours and lack of rest or breaks, taking on an unmanageable patient load, or excessive amounts of mandated paperwork. All these factors can lead to feelings of extreme fatigue, cynicism about the job and its outcomes, and difficulty concentrating on tasks. If left unchecked and unaddressed, burnout can worsen over time and lead to depression or other health issues. Identifying the underlying causes behind burnout is essential in order to find ways of resolving them and reducing the negative externalities associated with this phenomenon.
The effects of burnout on patients and healthcare providersBurnout among healthcare providers has a cascading effect on patients, leading to missed diagnoses or inadequate care. This is especially relevant in today’s world, where there is often a lack of physicians and significant nurse shortages. These issues can further compound patients’ suffering since they lead to long waits in waiting rooms with longer wait times for appointments. Burnout presents physical and psychological signs that require attention from both patients and healthcare providers; however, without sufficient numbers of providers and funding, burnout will continue to be a problem for the foreseeable future.
Steps that can be taken to prevent or reduce burnoutIt's important for medical organizations to recognize these issues and take steps to reduce demands on frontline workers. Ultimately, we must find new ways to strike balance between improved workloads, accurate data usage, and the safety of patients.
To combat the effects of burnout, companies should take proactive measures to reduce stress among employees. Improved workflow can help by ensuring that processes are efficient and simple, so employees don't have to complete unnecessary tasks. Better equipment, such as faster computers with a quick response time can help employees work faster and with more confidence.
If a shorter work week is possible, consider allowing workers to come in for fewer hours, giving them a break from the hectic day-to-day schedule and allowing them to spend more time on leisure activities that can help to reduce overall stress levels. Finally, providing regular breaks throughout the day also helps reset focus and boost energy levels.
Staff up! Medical staffing is an art best practiced with the help of professional staffing companies, and offloading this part of the work can relieve some of the pressure on administrators, who keep their frontline staff informed about the staffing effort. This communication can relieve some of the concerns that the bosses aren't listening.
Coping with the burnout you feel right nowWhen you're already feeling the toll of burnout, it can be hard to take a step back. Self-care should be the first priority when it comes to handling burnout. Start by talking to your co-workers about how they are dealing with their workloads. Do not hesitate to ask for help and take some extra time for yourself during the day. Schedule some activities outside of work that allow you to re-energize and connect with others like social events or exercise classes. If possible, formally demand better equipment and systems so that everyone can manage their workloads more easily without sacrificing their well-being in the process. Self-care is essential when it comes to coping with burnout before it takes an even stronger hold on your life and job performance.
CarePrecise is interested in hearing from companies whose products or services can help alleviate burnout in the medical profession. Please contact us!
References• Zhang, J., Grobler, L., & Saayman, A. (2017). Burnout: An Occupational Hazard in the Health Care Sector? Frontiers in Psychology, 8.
• Yirmiya-Rimmerman, N., & Yerushalmi Bar-Lavie, E. (2018). Conditions for preventing burnout among healthcare workers. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 84, 40-50.
• Harrison, C., Lobo, M., & Lambert, T. (2018). Staffing Strategies to Reduce Burnout and Increase Job Satisfaction among Healthcare Professionals: A Review of the Literature. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 45(6), 867–876.
• Gill, T., Lippel, K., & Gallagher, D. (2018). Work-Life Balance for Healthcare Professionals: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Interventions for Burnout Prevention. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(3), 466.