Many people who work in healthcare feel called to help heal people. But eventually healthcare workers may find that they themselves need healing. Staff shortages, long hours, and the emotional pain of losing patients can lead to burnout, a state of mental and physical stress characterized by overwhelming exhaustion, a sense of ineffectiveness, and detachment from work.1
Burnout can negatively affect patient care and cause workers to leave the healthcare field early, and it can have long-term physical and mental effects on workers. As a healthcare manager, it’s critical to recognize employee burnout signs and help your team address and reduce their stress levels. Here are five ways to do so.
- Encourage open communication. Share the signs of burnout with your team and foster continuing conversations about the topic. Reassure them that anyone can feel burnout at any point in their career, and that support and assistance are available.
- Ensure healthcare workers have access to quality, confidential care. Let your team know where to get help if they need it for their physical health, mental health, or substance use disorders. And make it clear that you support them in seeking counseling, therapy, or medical care.
- Support flexible schedules. This can be tough if you’re short-staffed, but prioritize appropriate staff-to-patient ratios and manageable work hours. Ensure employees take breaks during their shifts. If employees need time off beyond their regularly scheduled days off, allow them to swap shifts with their fellow team members.
- Help healthcare workers to support each other. Workplace camaraderie can help your team feel more supported and connected. Hold team-building activities to foster positive interactions. Share stories of successful patient outcomes to remind your team of the importance of the work they do. Encourage your team members to check in with each other.
- Lead by example. As a healthcare manager, it’s your role to model healthy behaviors. Recognize the signs of burnout in yourself and take action. Set boundaries when it comes to working overtime and taking time off so that your team knows it’s okay to do the same.
Those who care for others need to also care for themselves. By knowing the signs of burnout and how to help, you can help your team be healthier and more effective. Being a healthcare manager is both challenging and rewarding. If you’d like to gain skills to become a better manager or to start a career in healthcare management, Walden University’s School of Lifelong Learning can help. The School of Lifelong Learning offers convenient, informative, online courses that can help you develop critical leadership skills while earning a certificate and nursing contact hours. The School of Lifelong Learning even has an online course specifically addressing burnout: Managing Burnout in Healthcare Organizations—and completion of that course earns you four nursing contact hours. For instance, Meeting the Leadership Challenge provides 36 nursing contact hours while enabling you to explore your strengths as a leader and discover ways to improve your leadership skills. Healthcare Quality Improvement is designed to empower you to learn about quality improvement (QI) in healthcare and how to implement QI, and the course provides 24 nursing contact hours. You might also consider taking these courses for additional skills development:
Walden University is a pioneering leader in online education. Walden’s College of Nursing is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development through the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. These healthcare management courses for nurses and other healthcare professionals are likely to satisfy requirements for professional development, but be sure to check with your state board of nursing prior to enrolling.