If you’ve ever experienced an overwhelming sense or amount of stress and exhaustion from work, you wouldn’t be alone. These extreme negative feelings are often considered to be burnout, which can be categorized through a drop in physical, emotional, and psychological energy as a result of stress stemming from work. This is an issue faced by employees spanning through many facets of the professional world but is particularly prominent in the healthcare industry.
The question becomes: how can you truly tell if an employee is experiencing burnout rather than just working through a tough day or being in a bad mood? Research has indicated that there are three aspects of burnout that are used to differentiate between just a bad day and serious stress levels related to work. The first of the three is emotional exhaustion. Many may think that they experience this on a daily basis but are incorrect. Emotional exhaustion is a culmination of the feelings of immense stress and pressure on employees that have lasting effects on their emotional and physical health, even after concluding their shift.
This emotional turmoil only amplifies the second aspect of burnout in medical professionals: depersonalization. Depersonalization is a form of detachment that reduces the amount of empathy a medical professional is capable of expending toward the patients they care for and their colleagues. This raises red flags regarding the quality of care that professionals are able to provide while they’re experiencing these feelings of burnout and detachment from their professional lives.
Finally, the last aspect of burnout is said to be feelings of low accomplishment or pride toward an employee’s work. Despite their well-established skills and professionalism, medical professionals will feel worthless and decrease the amount of effort they’re willing to contribute to their position. This can have an incredible number of implications depending on the patients being cared for and what they expect their quality of care to be.
What can be done about these immense feelings of burnout in many medical professionals though? As common as these feelings have become, not many organizations feel they have an effective set of tools or programs needed to address these issues. However, below you’ll find a number of strategies that can likely benefit a number of struggling professionals.
- The Creation of Wellness Programs: many organizations can look to create programs that are designed to educate medical professionals on stress reduction and wellness strategies that are effective both in the workplace and at home. This is a great start in providing ways for these employees to incorporate ways to combat their stress levels during their shifts.
- Collaborative and Respectful Work Environments: all employees deserve to feel that their voices and opinions are being heard and considered when discussing issues they’re experiencing during their shifts. Creating an inclusive environment where these employees feel engaged and valued should be a high-ranking priority. These types of environments are where medical professionals can thrive.
- Utilization of Scheduling Software: organizations electing to utilize an integrated scheduling tool can provide a great deal of relief to those struggling with feelings of burnout. In addition, these tools provide clear information to employees and can lead to an increase in the quality of care their patients receive.
- Establishing Health-Conscious Habits: even if it seems obvious, many medical professionals will overlook how important the basics are in maintaining positive mental, physical, and physiological health. A nutritious diet, a good night’s sleep, and even maintaining an exercise routine can provide a great deal of benefit.
- Management Interaction and Involvement: building off of an inclusive work environment, management staff should be all ears when employees bring attention to various workplace issues or feelings of burnout they may be experiencing. This will allow for a clearer sense of understanding and allow management staff the best chance at solving issues as they arise.
So, while it isn’t necessarily an easy task, there are a number of prevention and coping strategies for medical professionals to combat these feelings of burnout that they experience throughout their careers. Most importantly, however, it is imperative that these individuals are being honest with themselves on how they’re feeling and to seek the help they need when they’re experiencing the many hardships they’ll encounter throughout their careers. For more information regarding employee burnout and prevention strategies, take some time to review the accompanying infographic, courtesy of ScheduleAnywhere.