Being a healthcare professional is an honor, but it’s not without its challenges. Most providers are required to work long hours with few breaks to provide adequate coverage to their patients. The fluctuating workload and constant exposure to life, death and everything in between essentially takes a toll both physically and psychological on healthcare professionals. Working in such a fast-paced, high-demand atmosphere almost non-stop can lead to employee burnout.
When doctors, nurses, or supporting staff becomes physically and emotionally exhausted as a result of work-related stress and pressures, it’s only a matter of time before there is a decline in their performance. Healthcare providers become overwhelmed and are unable to provide the high-quality of care and treatment their patients deserve. This puts the organization, provider, and patient at risk. Some, even become so consumed that they quit, leaving medical practices and hospitals understaffed (which creates higher risks for burnout in other staff who have to pick up the slack).
To minimize the risk of burnout in your healthcare organization, it is imperative to develop a workplace environment that supports the well-being of your staff. First, knowing when an employee is on the verge of a breakdown or burnout is vital. Some signs might include:
- Emotional or physical fatigue
- Overly sensitive or insensitive to emotional information
- Lack of empathy or sympathy for their patients
- Mood swings
- Withdrawal or isolation
- Lack of concentration
- Careless or increased mistakes
- Poor decision making
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Frequent call outs
- Disheveled appearance
Get them help
The idea here is preventative measures but in the event that you notice a staff member struggling or experiencing the above-mentioned destructive behaviors like substance abuse, knowing where to send them for help is ideal. This includes recommending an addiction treatment center in Los Angeles or some other city where they can get affordable, confidential help with their addiction or dependency issues.
Other ways to help your providers
Healthcare organizations have a responsibility to ensure their providers are physically and mentally capable of providing adequate services to their patients. A major part of this means providing a working environment where staff members well-being is a priority and they feel supported, heard, and encouraged. Here are some things you can do:
Offer solutions to their problems
Your employees need to know that they have someone they can turn to if there are problems in the workplace. Upper management and/or the HR department need to not only make themselves available to listen but must be willing and ready to provide assistance where they can. Whether that’s helping them to resolve a conflict with a coworker, looking into more advanced technology to improve productivity and decrease their workload, or updating breakrooms to make them more accommodating, it is the responsibility of the organization to make sure that they are meeting the needs of their providers.
Though it can be tough to keep a medical practice fully staffed to provide everyone with enough time off, your employees’ state of mind depends on their ability to take a break. Along with ensuring break rooms are accommodating, encourage your providers to take frequent breaks. Whether it’s a fifteen-minute walk around the building, a 30-minute lunch break, or a few days working from home on back end office work, giving them time to unwind and de-stress improves their performance and well-being.
Support healthy habits
As healthcare providers, you would think they’d be the healthiest people on earth. However, they’re so busy caring about the well-being of others, they often don’t have the time. You can support your staff by encouraging healthy habits while at work. Swap out the vending machine for healthy snacks, give discounts to gym memberships, hold nutrition or exercise classes, or perhaps encourage healthy downtime activities like team sports.
The professional life of a healthcare provider is often stressful and challenging. Though some of it comes with the territory, too much of a fast-paced, high-demand and a highly-emotional job can get the best of them. This can lead to a decline in their mental well-being and their ability to provide outstanding service to their patients. In order to prevent this, it is imperative for organizations to create a work environment that supports their provider’s physical and mental health on a daily basis. The above-mentioned tips will help make that possible.