Healthcare professionals always give their kindness, care, and compassion to their patients. They always want to provide the best care possible for them. But more and more professionals are experiencing stress and burnout. This is a serious problem as it affects their patients as well as their own well-being. Burnout can get bad enough that someone will become so depressed they’ll lose their focus, quit their job, and leave the career they used to love.
Severe Burnout Syndrome leads to clinical depression and even Suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among medical residents( doctors in training), after cancer.
Here are a few things that can be done to help reduce stress and burnout in healthcare workers.
Why Reducing Burnout and Stress is Important
Everyone knows that healthcare professionals have a high-stress job. But along with that, they report a high rate of stress and burnout. This problem affects the quality of care for their patients.
Burnout shows itself with exhaustion, feeling detached, overworked, and even depression. How can a healthcare worker deliver excellent care when they feel like that?
There’s also an increase in people leaving their workplace which means a high turnover for organizations. Employees who are stressed are more likely to take an abnormal amount of sick days and experience a loss of productivity.
How Burnout and Stress Affects Healthcare Professionals
Stress and burnout can affect healthcare professionals in several ways. They feel emotionally overextended and exhausted by work. They may start to feel negative and have cynical attitudes.
Patients are concerned about their own safety when they start to see their healthcare workers experiencing burnout. They recognize that their caregivers have an increased workload.
There is also a concern of having increased malpractice lawsuits because of mistakes a care provider made due to stress and burnout.
What is The True Cost of Not Solving This Problem?
Stress and burnout over time can cause very serious problems. After being exhausted and drained all the time for a few years a healthcare provider can start having serious illnesses like autoimmune conditions and adrenal fatigue. They also suffer from clinical depression and anxiety disorders.
Because they are overworked the stress causes them to have a poor work-life balance and their home and social life may start to suffer. There’s no time for friendships or relationships and they start to feel lonely and socially withdrawn.
Here is a list of common things that affect healthcare workers who suffer from stress and burnout:
- High levels of frustration that the healthcare systems is preventing them from doing the job they took an oath to do. Their hands can feel tied.
- Decreased optimism and hope
- Decreased productivity
- Decrease job satisfaction
- Poor work-life balance
- Weight Gain
- Weight Loss
- Poor sleep or Insomnia
- Low self-confidence
- High levels of self-doubt and insecurity
- Marital Problems
- Intimacy issues in their marriage/relationship
- Divorce or Break-Up
- Get fired from their job
- Resign/quit from their job
- No longer want to be a healthcare professional
- Suicide Attempt
- Completed Suicide
How to Stop Burnout Before it Becomes Severe
There are several strategies, tools, and approaches to help prevent burnout or to reduce it and manage it better. The goal is to help healthcare professionals manage this problem before it becomes too severe. You want to prevent clinical depression and suicide.
These are the types of things I can discuss with you when you book a free consultation:
- Know the Warning Signs of Burnout so you can catch it earlier on
- Create a mindfulness approach that can help you focus on your experiences without judgment
- Find an outlet to help you reduce & manage stress
- Find a solid support system
- Prioritize your own health/well-being as best as possible (self-care)
- Debrief regularly after tough patient cases, events, etc (critical incident debriefings)
- Have open, loving discussions about work stressors versus holding it in and pretending everything is okay or feeling the need to “tough it out
- Use Social Media to connect with other healthcare professionals
- Prioritize work-life balance so that healthcare professionals have time to recharge, reset, recover, rejuvenate, etc.
- Practice having good boundaries and learning how to say NO is a critical skill. Practice leaving work at work to the best of your ability.
- Incorporate healthy lifestyle habits whenever possible ( proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, bring lunch & snacks daily to work especially if you have no time to leave for lunch, etc)
- Stay away from negative, toxic, non-supportive people
- When possible, work in a practice/setting that has an environment more suitable and in alignment with your needs and personality.
- Have a professional such as a therapist or coach to receive support from
- Plan vacation time ahead of time to make sure you take time to recharge and get away from work.
- Schedule quality time with loved ones.
Using Yoga to Combat Stress and Burnout
People in the healthcare industry who practice yoga will experience more calmness in their lives. Doing the simple yoga stretches with meditation helps with reducing stress and burnout. Your body is also strengthened through yoga and your thoughts become more focused and relaxed.
Increased use of yoga and meditation can be a valid solution to healthcare professionals. It will improve their sleep leaving them refreshed for their shift. Yoga also helps prevent depression in healthcare workers as it relieves overwhelm.
Holistic Care for Well-being
Healthcare leaders who value their caregivers by investing in them as people, not just workers reduce stress. Healthcare professionals need their well-being taken care of just as much as their physical health.
Well-being can be defined with these 5 elements, purpose, social, financial, community, and physical. A healthcare worker who has at least 4 of these elements in their life are less likely to experience burnout at work.
But there is serious room for improvement in the well-being of healthcare employees.
Leaders in healthcare can give their workers the energy and focus they need by focusing on well-being in programs and infusing it into every area of the company. This helps professionals perform at their best every day. They are also more likely to recover from illness, stress, and burnout much quicker than someone who has reduced well-being.
Focus on High Employee Engagement for Stress and Burnout
Engaged healthcare professionals also means better patient care.
It’s up to leaders in healthcare to provide clear and open communication and a purpose and mission in the organization. Healthcare workers want to work where there are a strong community and a great workplace.
There is a great need for engagement. It is known to create increased retention levels and healthcare workers will go above and beyond their responsibilities.
Engagement with encouragement and communication benefits healthcare professionals and in turn, improves patient experiences. Caring and connection are at the heart of engagement. This is what healthcare workers do for others, but they also need this in their work-life as well.
Physicians are Eager to Care For Their Patients
Insurance companies can hinder what a doctor would like to do for their patients. Sometimes they won’t pay for the medication or a procedure a patient needs. They also limit the number of visits to certain problems.
This can be very frustrating for healthcare professionals when they really care and want to help their patients. They feel they can’t do what they took an oath to do which can be depressing.
Healthcare Professionals Work Hard
Doctors and healthcare professionals work really hard. They chose this profession to help people and knew it would require some hard work. But if they have to make decisions that go against their core beliefs, their work becomes more stressful than needed. If insurance companies are putting restraints on patients and what they can claim, it hinders the caregiver’s evaluation of their patients.
Physicians would like to see the insurer removed between them and the patient. Healthcare professionals would like to truly get to know their patients and what they want without having to rely on and use Electronic Health Records.
Stress and burnout may be on the rise for healthcare professionals, but that statistic can be lowered. As more people become aware of it, there is more concern and help for workers. As a healthcare provider, work on your stress levels with yoga and other exercises like walking or running. Taking care of your needs should be a priority before burnout happens. The other thing to do is communicate more openly at the workplace about how stress affects you in some situations and what you would like to see done to improve circumstances in the healthcare field.
For more on dealing with being overwhelmed and overworked, get my free Burnout Prevention checklist to help you prevent being stressed and overworked.