Red Flags Your Healthcare Team is Facing Serious Burnout

Your healthcare team is burning out. In October 2020, a study came out showing a 43% burnout rate among healthcare professionals. COVID had a lot to do with our accelerating feelings of stress and exhaustion. It’s not improving, which means it’s your job to stay aware of red flags that your healthcare team is facing burnout. This blog will help.

Signs of Healthcare Burnout

Job-related burnout is a clinical condition defined in the ICD-11. Every day, according to the statistics one in three doctors struggle with the condition. Some of the signs of burnout include:

  • Cynicism and pessimism
  • Depersonalization
  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Reduced efficiency

Burnout can occur in any profession but healthcare workers are at increased risk due to the unprecedented demands they’ve faced since the onset of COVID-19. Today, 60% of nurses say the stresses of the job are making them sick. For managers, close monitoring of the signs of burnout is just the first step toward remedying the issue. Look for these burnout signs:

  • Your staff is always tired. Normal fatigue after a 12-hour stretch is one thing, but you’re looking for absolute exhaustion. The risk of medical mistakes in these situations is quite high. Look for headache complaints, irritability, or even falling asleep on the job as a red flag.
  • You hear that your teams dread coming to work. Yes, we go through rough patches, but you’re looking for changes in performance, such as lowered productivity or frequent call-offs that could signal a much bigger issue. Look for staff that procrastinates or seem to withdraw from social activities. Or, they simply act as if they just don’t care. They do care, but their burn-out has created a kind of protective membrane that the body can hide behind. 
  • Your staff is less-than-kind. Watch your patient satisfaction scores. Is the level of compassion on your unit declining? Do you find your staff more distant? Are they struggling to make an emotional connection with their patients? Burn-out could manifest as disinterest or coldness that you hadn’t noticed before. Look for disconnection in the form of insensitivity that could signal burn-out.
  • If you’re sensing a high level of anxiety in your staff, you’re not making it up; it’s a burn-out symptom. Do members of your team seem more forgetful? Are they missing basic workflow tasks? Look for staff members who get less done but seem jittery and erratic. They could be exhibiting overwhelming anxiety from a body and mind that are pressed to the breaking point.

Fixing What’s Broken

Healthcare administrators are facing their own challenges these days, but if you’re a manager seeing the telltale signs of burnout you must act to help your employees regain a sense of work/life balance. There should be three goals:

  • Relieving the stress the employee is experiencing.
  • Allowing time to recuperate in a less-stressful setting.
  • Discussing the issue and recognizing that the staff member is only human and not perfect.

The specific techniques to accomplish these goals vary by organization, but they could include:

  • Adding per diem or travel nurses or relief doctors to give the employee a break.
  • Make the shifts shorter, add more staff, and cut overtime.
  • Provide emotional and physical support to your teams in the form of an EAP or even catered meals.
  • Work on better workflows and better communication between teams.
  • Increase flex time or improve health benefits.

During these challenging times, isn’t it good to know you have a partner like the Custom Group of Companies? We can provide additional staffing to help alleviate the burden from your overworked teams. Call on us to find out more.

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