4 Ways To Prevent Healthcare Worker Burnout

January 17, 2023

The expectation placed on healthcare workers is hero-like because their ultimate responsibility is to save lives. They carry out duties like; tending to diseases, treating injuries, and designing treatment plans to give their patient the best healthcare possible.

The physical and mental stress involved in the daily activities of healthcare workers often leads to burnout. There has been an increasing number of practitioners reporting feelings of burnout in recent years, particularly since the advent of COVID-19, where an increase in demand coincided with a shortage in the supply of healthcare workers.

Medscape notes in their 2019 report that "44% of physicians have feelings of burnout, and many of them state long hours and lack of respect as a cause of the feeling". Having burnt-out healthcare workers in your facility affects the practitioner's ability to work. It also hurts patient care.

Healthcare Worker Burnout: What Is It?

It is usual for your health workers to have fatigue from the rigors of the day's work, but burnout is more intense. Burnout is a condition of stress sustained over a long period. It refers to a state of emotional, physical, and mental stress due to ongoing difficulties.

Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine has found that healthcare workers experiencing burnout are twice as likely to be involved in incidents that threaten patients' safety, such as; wrong diagnosis, unprofessionalism while communicating with patients. Little wonder why physician burnout directly relates to low patient retention rates.

The effects of burnout on your healthcare facility are detrimental to your staff and the organization as a whole. Therefore, you should implement structures to help reduce burnout amongst your healthcare workers.

Symptoms Of Healthcare Worker Burnout

It is essential to create systems and cultures that enable you to detect burnout in your healthcare workers. While the signs of healthcare worker burnout might vary from one caregiver to the next, the general symptoms of burnout include;

  • Fatigue
  • Detachment from patients
  • Dreading going to work
  • Crying easily
  • Reduced focus span
  • Anxiety
  • Poor memory
  • Short temper 

Ways To Prevent Healthcare Worker Burnout

In most cases, healthcare worker burnout problems are unique to the workplace-therefore your healthcare organization has a huge role to play in resolving it. Your healthcare organization needs to start making changes that can cause employee burnout. 

Here are four ways to prevent healthcare worker burnout in your healthcare organization;

1. Make Worker Wellness A Part Of Your Culture

Making your healthcare workers' wellness a priority is an excellent place to start. Be proactive in finding out the problems they face and create a friendly atmosphere to air their concerns quickly. Then, prioritize addressing them and managing the situation.

Insist that every health worker takes routine breaks during hectic days. Sponsor workout classes. Create a physical environment where your workers can relax, meditate or sit in silence. You could also do something as simple as keeping water, coffee, and healthy snacks in the break room.

2. Invest In Leadership Development

Research shows that every point increase in the leadership ability of a physician's immediate superior is associated with a corresponding 3.3 percent decrease in the likelihood of burnout for the physician.

The quality of leadership provided within your healthcare organization directly impacts your workers' stress levels and burnouts. To apply this to your advantage, you need to hire or develop leaders who will listen to, create, engage and lead your physicians.

The leaders should identify factors that lead to burnout and proffer solutions to such threats.

3. Reduce Administrative Burdens

The US policies, laws, and regulations can be complex as many entities impose them. The administrative responsibility involved in complying with the requirements of so many entities is a leading cause of burnout for healthcare professionals.

Employing medical administrators to handle this responsibility and allowing the physicians to focus on their patients will go a long way to curb burnouts.  

Also, automating several administrative tasks like credentialing will help your healthcare workers focus more on patient care

4. Use Healthcare Workforce Management Technology

And finally, you can prevent healthcare worker burnout in your facility by embracing the different technologies available.

EHRs, for example, ensue thatl your patients' medical records are stored electronically for easy sharing across various health care settings.. To ensure proper and secure communication among staff, invest in secure messaging systems.

Problems with scheduling lead to burnout, so it is imperative to develop an automated scheduling solution that helps reduce the workload.

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