"Symptoms" of Burnout in Medical Industry
Burnout is frustrating no matter the industry, but it can be a difference of life and death in the healthcare industry. The results of healthcare burnout are:
- Mental instability (i.e. depression, anxiety, etc.)
- Lack of professionalism
- Patient dissatisfaction
- Critical mistakes
- Decline in physical health (often presenting as flu-like symptoms)
When healthcare workers are in such great demand, these repercussions should be minimized for the health of the healthcare worker as well as for patients. Investing in burnout prevention is investing in the health of the nurse, doctor, etc., but also investing in the health of patients by providing them with medical staff that is physically and mentally equipped to provide quality care.
How to Help Medical Personnel with Burnout
Burnout prevention cannot be promised, but it can and should be strived for. Though it may seem more difficult now, burnout prevention should be emphasized instead of looked over. Here are ways to prevent or minimize healthcare burnout during a pandemic.
Improve Workflow Design
As the pandemic has brought in a flood of patients, there was no choice but for the workflow to be changed. If it's already having to be changed, then why not do it right? As a workflow design is being restructured, it needs to be done with the well-being of healthcare workers in mind. The weight of the world is already on their shoulders because of their many patients, but they also have parents, spouses, and children to worry about. They can't bear this weight on their own.
Require Resilience Training
Social Events, Virtual-Style
Emphasize the Open-Door Policy
Healthcare workers are human, and they need a safe place to let out their frustrations and exhaustion. Adopt an open-door policy if you don't already have one and make it known to your healthcare workers that it's safe for them to let their guard down with you. They're taking care of so many people, and they need someone to take a moment to take care of them.
In tough times, people need strong leaders who will provide them with consistent support and reliable information. It's important to leverage positions of leadership for the good of healthcare workers. Let them know that you're fighting for them while they fight for the lives of others. Leaders have the ability to make workers feel valued and seen, which helps them to extend that same sentiment towards patients and co-workers.
Don't forget, not many of us have lived through something like this before. Everyone is doing their best. Healthcare workers are in an impossible situation and they need to be seen. This falls on the shoulders of leadership and should be taken very seriously. We're all human, we're all concerned, and we're all trying to navigate a new normal.