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Nearly any job leaves you vulnerable to burn out, but those practicing in medicine are especially at high risk because of the stress experienced at work. Burnout is a “state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.”
Many medical employees work 12-hour shifts. If your hospital uses 8-hour shifts, your off-hours are often not at the same time as the rest of corporate America. In order to reduce stress and help employees fight burnout, many hospitals are getting creative. If yours is not one of them, here are some suggestions that may help your hospital fight the high rate of burnout and avoid the financial burden that comes with it.
Burnout has been linked to an increased risk of infection, poor patient outcomes and the loss of good staff. Hospitals can encourage nurses to take the required breaks and ensure there’s enough staff to allow that to happen.
1. Creative group activities.
Popular ideas that help staff interact outside of patient care and reduce stress include dance classes, painting, and pottery. Group activities may focus on specific health-related topics such as fitness or nutrition. This gives employees a mental break and often creates additional physical and mental benefits from socialization.
2. Check out your break room.
In past years this was often an austere room with a coffee machine, junk food machine and a couple of tables and chairs. Today, more hospitals are attempting to create a calming environment where employees can relax during their breaks. Soft colors, relaxing music, and healthy beverages and snacks give doctors and nurses a chance to be away from patients and their families and find relief from the stress they may have internalized during a shift.
These rooms are easy to create from the break room that’s already there and do not take away from another line item in the budget. Indoor plants, music and healthy snacks go a long way toward reducing the hospital‘s financial burden from employees who get burned out.
3. Massages and meditation.
These are both excellent ways of reducing stress, especially when done regularly. A 15-minute massage can help you return to work refreshed without changing out of your scrubs. Your hospital may be able to offer massages regularly or consider using an electronic heated neck massager. Classes on meditation, deep breathing and other relaxation techniques are a wonderful way of learning strategies you can incorporate, even in the patient’s room.
4. Self-care information.
Nurses are notorious for caring for others before they care for themselves. Whether it’s their patients or their families, the nurse often comes last. Consider asking your supervisors for classes on self-care that include how to care for yourself first in order to care for others best, why sleep is so important to reduce burnout, how to use positive self-talk and strategies to disconnect when you go home from work. While these may sound self-evident – if they were, all nurses would be using them.
Career growth is a process that happens over years of making the right decisions about jobs, placement and advancement. Working in an environment to help reduce your stress levels will also help you stay healthier for longer periods of time. Call Capital Healthcare Solutions so we can help you find the right, next job.