How to avoid burnout in your healthcare practice

It’s no secret that the healthcare industry has been inundated since COVID-19 abruptly threw itself into our lives. The number of medical staff and clinicians that are experiencing burnout is at record highs. We all must look out for each other during this unprecedented time. Here are some ways you can prevent burning out as well as your staff.

What is burnout exactly?

Burnout is not deemed a mental illness, but it is a mental health issue that many workers experience. It’s a feeling of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion. Health care workers are prone to burnout due to the high work demands, long shifts and fatigue.

What are the symptoms of burnout?

While every person is different, some distinctive symptoms of burnout include:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Emotional fatigue
  3. Disinterest in their personal lives
  4. A feeling of failing or self-doubting
  5. Sense of hopelessness and defeat
  6. Low motivation
  7. Negative outlook

What signs should I look out for?

Some are great at hiding how they feel and will continue to show up to work, day after day despite how exhausted and terrible they are feeling. This can make it hard to notice if someone is suffering in silence. Here some indicators to be aware of for both yourself and other staff members:

  1. Making errors
  2. Low energy
  3. Little patience
  4. Lack of motivation
  5. Decreased efficiency
  6. Poor physical health

It’s important that everyone does their part and is aware of the signs of burnout. Staff should be encouraged to reach out when they are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Not managing burnout can lead to other serious issues such as depression and self-medicating to cope.

Here are some ways you can prevent and manage burnout in your practice

Don’t set your staff up for failure

It’s one thing to motivate your staff to be productive while on the job, but when you set your staff members unrealistic expectations that are beyond their capacity, you are setting them up for burnout. They are either going to get upset with you or they are going to push themselves too far to meet expectations that shouldn’t have been set in the first place. The workload should be distributed evenly between workers and it should be re-evaluated regularly.

No one should ever have to complete duties that are outside of their scope of practice, and they rightfully should refuse if they are asked to. They need to be competent in the duties that you are asking them to complete.

Provide regular training

If there are areas you need staff to be across, and they don’t have a full understanding, you should provide training on the subject. The more that your staff learn, the better the practice will run and the less stress your staff will have from being out of their depth. The same applies to you as the health care provider, if there are areas that you would like to learn more about, other than mandatory self-improvement and courses, don’t be afraid to commence training. After all, the more knowledge you have and the more competent you are in your abilities, the better service you are going to be able to provide to your patients. This will lead to positive word of mouth and ultimately more clientele.

Limit the amount of overtime you and your employees have

Many businesses experience slow and peak periods across the year and sometimes when the peak is unforeseeable, staff may have to work more hours than they normally would. Burnout usually starts to set in if this goes on without intervention for a period. Rather than pushing your staff to their limits, hire more casual staff to fill in the gaps. Don’t take the easy way out and approach staff that you know struggle to say no. They will say yes to keep the peace and can end up burnt out. If you are the sole provider at your clinic, and work is flat out, you should also consider bringing someone else on board to take some of the workloads off you.

Make your staff feel heard and appreciated

Often when staff feel they can’t approach their superior with problems within the business or themselves, they won’t speak up. A good boss is understanding and approachable. Life happens and sometimes your staff will need time off. You will need to be able to deal with this calmly and supportively. Staff that feel heard and appreciated are less likely to get overwhelmed with the burdens of work.

Implement practice management software at your clinic

If you haven’t already converted to a practice management system, you and your team are missing out. It can streamline the way you do business and reduce the workload on you and your staff. It can simplify tasks, reduce errors, and save a significant amount of time.

Understandably working in the health care sector often presents difficult challenges and a fast-paced environment, it may sometimes feel like it’s hard to catch your breath. Preventing burnout should be everyone’s priority. This ensures you and your staff are offering the best version of yourselves to your patients and no ones mental well-being is suffering. Here at Nookal, we have developed an innovative Practice Management Software program that is suitable to all health care settings and guaranteed to improve your practice. The best thing? We offer a free 30-day trial. Want to know more? Get in touch today!

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