Healthcare professionals deal with life-or-death situations and many patients who need varying medical needs every day. This work setting is physically and emotionally exhausting and can cause weariness and demotivation, which are common symptoms of burnout.
The consequences of burnout are sometimes so severe that some healthcare workers choose to eventually leave their medical careers, reducing the skilled human resources available. While those who stay without getting proper treatment for their burnout experience a decrease in work quality and mental consequences.
Burnout among healthcare professionals might seem inevitable. However, if you understand what leads to burnout and what you can do to fight it, you and your employees can stay motivated and relatively stress-free.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is the feeling of exhaustion and apathy when dealing with prolonged work-related stress. Burnout is a serious problem for productivity in any industry, including healthcare. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), burnout has three dimensions:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from the job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to the job
- Decreased professional efficacy
Individuals who suffer burnout tend to treat people around them harshly. Burned-out healthcare workers may transmit their cynical attitude to their co-workers and patients.
Burnout can be difficult to notice at first, and many people continue to show up at work despite the physical and mental exhaustion. However, burnout has serious detrimental effects on one’s well-being when unmanaged.
What Are The Warning Signs of Burnout?
While burnout and stress are related, they are not the same. Stress is usually temporary or situational. For example, a physician feels stressed because of an error in the medical record.
On the other hand, burnout has a more long-term effect mentally that won’t ease up unless you take active steps to resolve it. Burnout causes physical and emotional symptoms, including:
- Feeling tired and drained all the time
- Frequent illnesses
- Sense of failure or self-doubt
- Decreased motivation
- Increased cynicism
- Poor work attendance
What Causes Burnout?
Burnout is a serious problem that makes talented professionals suffer and threatens the quality of patient care. Burnout among healthcare workers is increasing probably because of the following reasons:
- Unrealistic schedules and overwhelming clerical work
- The burden to treat large volumes of patients and make no errors
- Frustration with requirements related to keeping electronic records
- Unpredictable nature of work and have no control over situations
- Lack of support in the workplace
- Poor work organization
- Negative work-life balance
The Top 7 Ways to Fight Burnout
Confronting mental difficulties is hard, especially for healthcare workers who feel pressure to care for patients even when they don’t feel well themselves. Overcoming burnout is not something you can do instantly. But here are seven simple yet effective strategies to fight burnout:
1. Take Some Time Off
When you notice early signs of burnout, it’s time for self-care. Sometimes taking just a day or two for yourself can make a difference. Use this free time to do some self-reflection and organize your thoughts to better view your career and life goals. You’ll also find that rest, exercise, or other leisure activities that help you manage stress can help adjust your mindset.
2. Practice Better Self Care
Keep up with essential self-care such as exercising, eating nutritious food, practicing good sleep hygiene, etc. Avoid unhealthy habits that would only add more stress to your mind and body. Many people turn to alcohol, unhealthy food, or other vices when stressed. While these tactics might provide immediate relief, they contribute to reduced physical and mental health over time.
3. Interact More with Colleagues
Connecting colleagues to create a healthy workplace where everyone can grow, and excel can help reduce burnout. Making time for peer connections increases harmony in the office, creating a sense of unity and togetherness, which reduces feelings of isolation and emotional exhaustion.
4. Check in with Staff Regularly
You won’t know what’s going on with your employees unless you check in. Identify gaps in your workflow that may contribute to employee burnout, such as poor working schedules or conflict. Talk to your staff, ask for their opinions on improving workflow, and then work with them to achieve this. Provide employee assistance programs and informal staff gatherings to maintain your connection with your team. And don’t forget to say thank you. Recognizing effort and hard work can help increase employee satisfaction.
5. Re-connect with Family and Friends
While you may be tempted to isolate yourself when stressed and exhausted, you should make time to catch up with your family and friends, even just virtually. Socializing with loved ones can take your mind off work and help restore your work-life balance.
6. Practice Stress Management Techniques
Introduce stress reduction strategies like deep breathing, yoga, or meditation into your regular schedule. Take a nap to help your mind and body relax a bit. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, such as a walk in the morning or after dinner.
7. Embrace Telemedicine
A considerable part of a healthcare professional’s burnout is their work. On top of meeting and treating different patients every day, they also need to do a lot of paperwork and keep up with health trends to provide the best service available. More medical practices are switching to telemedicine to simplify and automate specific tasks.
As an innovative form of healthcare, telemedicine lets physicians see more patients through video and other virtual connections. It also integrates automation, reducing repetitive tasks and transforming paper forms into secure digital forms.
Telemedicine creates efficiencies, reducing time-consuming and burdensome administrative tasks. For example, some telemedicine solutions include 2-way texting solutions with automated systems, reducing inbound phone calls and patient no-shows.
Know that an exceptional staff is part of a practice's most valued assets. Therefore, each person plays a vital role in patient engagement and satisfaction and your practice’s reputation. Helping yourself and your team through challenging times will ensure your practice continues to deliver optimal services, which promote success and growth.
Get rid of burnout with Curogram
Many medical professionals incorporate telemedicine into their existing workflows, from small practices to major institutions, to help ease tension and make staff more relaxed and productive. Telemedicine aims to improve access to high-quality care while enhancing the workflow for your practice and driving your team to success. Healthcare workers recognize the importance and benefits of telemedicine as a long-term approach to minimizing burnout in their practice. Ready to get started? Contact Curogram.