The health sector is not alone in the busy world that we live and work in, and burn out is a common and growing concern as understaffing and overworking employees continues. Unfortunately for the health industry, lives and service delivery can be at risk when the health or well-being of employees is not to standard.
Underfunding and lack of resources have been blamed, however, as health professionals and employers there is plenty we can do to minimise the effects of burnout in our teams and, limit the impact on our organisation's employment brand.
How to recognise burnout:
- Disengagement and absenteeism
- Emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion
- Decreased accuracy or attention to detail
- Isolation and distance from colleagues or team
Resources and support you can provide to limit the effects of burnout:
- Provide access to support services such as EAP
- Encourage regular use of holidays/annual leave
- Remove barriers in your organisations culture, making it easy for your employees to discuss stress and workload with leadership/management
- Encourage wellness initiatives. For example, group fitness activities, external consults, and team goal setting.
- Conduct regular meetings that provide a forum to discuss workload, assess output and identify potential work load and challenges
Burnt out health workers impact the attractiveness of careers within our industry. Recently reported low entry levels to Midwifery demonstrates an issue that is widely felt by other health professionals. Expectations of care and patient outcomes are being negatively impacted while nurses are expected to work dangerously long hours.
If you sense burn-out in your organisation, call it out. By having strategies in place to combat burnout, you're providing a positive and engaged workplace environment, improving staff retention, and positively positioning the wider health sector as an attractive career.