A better approach to practice management
It's no secret that burnout among doctors is at epidemic levels. The 2017 Medscape Lifestyle Report survey findings revealed that nearly 60% of physicians experienced emotional exhaustion and found it difficult to strike a healthy practice management balance. Some even admitted that they had given the medical field a second thought because of burnout. They are not the only ones, though.
Although there has been less discussion of medical staff burnout, it is still a serious issue. A 2017 study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that 36% of front office staff and nearly 50% of nurse care managers said they felt burned out.
What is staff burnout in healthcare?
Stress that is too much and lasts too long can lead to a syndrome called burnout, which is characterized by mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. Burnout can happen in any profession, but it happens a lot more frequently in the healthcare industry.
Burnout among medical staff members has effects beyond just the workers themselves. Since overworked, exhausted employees frequently lack the drive and commitment to perform well, collaborate with coworkers, and provide safe, meaningful patient care, burnout has an impact on an entire organization with better practice management.
How do you spot burnout in healthcare workers?
Does a member of your staff seem especially worn out? Does he or she appear preoccupied or disinterested in their work? Has this person been absent from work for a number of days? Any of these scenarios could apply to a worker who is experiencing burnout. Healthcare organizations must be able to spot the warning signs of staff burnout and make sure they receive the support they require to function at their highest levels.
Some red flags include:
- An increase in absences
- Increasing sensitivity
How to prevent medical staff burnout?
With these risks in mind, consider the following six recommendations for proactively maintaining medical staff members' engagement, productivity, and dedication to their jobs:
1. Offer leadership and encouragement
We believe that when managers don't step up to the plate as leaders, staff burnout occurs in the healthcare industry. A manager cannot remain firmly rooted in the supervisory role and only concentrate on overseeing the day-to-day activities of the practice. To discuss what's working, what can be improved, and what they need to feel supported in their roles, he advises practice managers to regularly check in with their staff. The key to effective communication is asking questions, getting feedback, and actively demonstrating your support for and encouragement of employees' long-term development.
2. Promote independence while avoiding micromanagement
Employee autonomy and employee engagement have a direct correlation, according to a Cornell University study of small businesses. In other words, higher retention rates were a result of greater autonomy as it accelerated the development of employees' capabilities. The same logic holds true for medical staff, who require a certain amount of professional autonomy in order to feel that their work is important and valued. Staff members frequently feel unheard, unimportant, and ultimately burned out in "command-and-control" environments that forbid them from making decisions and acting independently. Physicians and managers should solicit employee opinions and perspectives in addition to directing staff, and should encourage employees to test out their ideas.
3. maximize employee advantages
A surefire way to burn out medical staff is to keep them in positions that don't fit with their talents and skills. Both situations are likely to lead to an employee's stress and unhappiness at work, whether they are overburdened with too many responsibilities or bored in a position that isn't challenging. Practice managers should take into account the special skills that each employee brings to the team and do everything possible to ensure that they are given the chance to use them.
4. Establish relationships with colleagues
Employees need opportunities to interact during regular working hours in addition to the occasional happy hour or team-building activity. According to Mull, managers frequently make the error of relying solely on extracurricular activities to boost workplace morale, but it's the daily interactions that foster true camaraderie. Practices could include having a potluck lunch where no one brings up work or posting a board that asks employees where they spent their summer vacations. Through these kinds of interactions, staff members can connect with one another despite their busy schedules and develop deep, reliable relationships.
5. Take breaks
Another way to foster camaraderie and increase workplace engagement among co-workers? Encourage them to take brief, regular breaks to get some exercise, fresh air, and a break from the computer. Simple and efficient ways to feel reenergized, alert, and better prepared to handle difficult tasks and maintain engagement at work include taking a quick walk outside, working out during lunch, and grabbing a quick cup of coffee.
6. encourage work-life harmony
According to the 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace, more than half of U.S. employees said they would switch jobs for a company that offered a more flexible schedule. Additionally, according to 53% of those polled, maintaining a work-life balance is crucial. Employees who have more control over their schedules and work environments work more productively and efficiently and are less likely to burn out. Examples include adjusting work hours to accommodate a long commute or providing flexibility to staff with young children.
The aforementioned six tactics will help keep medical staff members engaged, productive, and committed to providing high-quality patient care while also assisting in reducing burnout.