The extent of burnout among healthcare professionals in the U.S. is quickly becoming a serious cause for concern, notes our medical staffing agency in Atlanta. According to a 2012 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine involving more than 7,200 physicians, about 50% exhibited at least one symptom of burnout. This is quite alarming since burnout can directly impact the quality of care, patient safety, and patient satisfaction.
To further complicate matters, nurses also suffer the same predicament. According to a 2011 study published in the Health Affairs journal, nurses who directly provide care for patients in hospital and nursing home settings reported higher job dissatisfaction and burnout rates compared to nurses working in entirely different settings and with other U.S. workers.
And while there is little available information on the prevalence of burnout among other healthcare workers (including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, front office staff), existing data indicate that they are facing the same dilemma.
These studies, along with numerous others, underscore the need to address the problem. Can this be done? Well, fortunately, there are several ways to deal with the problem. Our medical staffing agency in Atlanta offers some simple-yet-effective solutions to help prevent medical staff burnout.
The unique, fast-paced, and extremely challenging nature of the health care environment can easily put any clinician and any other health care workers at high risk for burnout. This can be a serious problem since burnout significantly impairs a clinician’s cognitive function, attention to details, and decision-making abilities. As a result, it may increase the risk of committing serious medical errors which may have fatal consequences.
Considering what’s at stake, you need to focus on the well-being of your medical staff and provide ways to keep them engaged, proactive, and committed to their work. Here are some suggestions to keep them on track or reverse the symptoms of burnout once you see them.
1. Take a more active role
Burnout can cripple your organization and put lives at risk, so choose to do the right thing. Make sure the management, along with the human resources department, regularly communicate with the medical staff. Provide a proper forum to discuss what’s working and what needs to be improved, ask questions, and listen to their feedback. This will allow you to address issues and let your people know that the management is there to support them all the way.
2. Encourage social engagement
Boost employees’ morale and enhance their mental and emotional wellness by encouraging social interactions with people outside their respective departments during normal work hours. Foster camaraderie by creating activities that will allow them to know each other outside of work. Remember, it doesn’t always have to be an out-of-the-office team-building exercise or a company outing to build connections between colleagues.
3. Give them a break
Being a health care professional is not for the faint of heart, to say the least. Dealing with medical errors, malpractice lawsuits, and death on a daily basis makes them no stranger to stress so they need to take a break every once in a while. Make sure they some time off and enjoy their vacation time to recharge.
4. Make health a priority
You are in the business of taking care of people, so you need to put your employees’ health a priority. Remember, they cannot take care of someone else if they don’t take care of themselves first.
As an employer, you can do something about it. Consider sponsoring workout classes, designate a meditation room and/or breakroom where they can recharge and relax.
If you want to be a little more creative, consider offering art classes (e.g. painting, pottery, creative writing). Studies indicate that Creative Arts Therapies (CATs) such as music, dance, art, and drama therapy can help burned out medical staff cope with their stressors, and promote stress prevention and management.
5. Promote work-life balance
According to the 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace Report, more than half of all U.S. workers would trade everything to maintain a healthy balance between their work and personal life, including their jobs.
So, if you want to prevent burnout and reduce turnover, look into the possibility of giving your employees more control over their schedule (i.e. offer flexible work options, adjust or reduce work hours, etc.) and work environment. Alternative staffing models, such as locum tenens, may just be the solution to prevent doctors from suffering from burnouts.
6. Discover their strengths
Being stuck in a role that doesn’t fit their abilities and talents can be discouraging, allowing boredom and discontentment to set in. Stress and unhappiness at work can make a person vulnerable to burnout so get to know your employees, know what they are good at, and give them the opportunity to use their strengths in doing their job.
7. Give them a sense of autonomy
Micro-managing your medical staff can be detrimental to your organization. No one wants to work in an environment where they don’t feel appreciated so don’t put them in a command-and-control environment.
Allow your medical staff to think and act for themselves, encourage them to provide feedback, and allow them to try out new ideas. This will make them feel that their work is valued and creating an impact in the organization.
As a family-owned medical staffing agency in Atlanta, we at Precise Healthcare Solutions strive to provide the best healthcare possible by placing valuable and qualified employees in the medical field. We believe that we can make a difference and help enhance the patient experience by placing medical professionals in a role that best fits their credentials and personalities.
Our core values are centered on commitment, compassion, and integrity so if you’re ready to take the next step, contact us today at 877-898-7930. Our live representatives are more than willing to assist you.