Not Again! What To Do About Healthcare Burnout?
Burnout is a term that gets thrown around so much in healthcare that you’re probably going to stop reading right now. Please give me a few more sentences before you decide to stop. Yes, you know what it means, you probably have it, and you’ve heard all the trite tips and strategies for overcoming burnout over and over. What more can be said?
How about this: It’s not your fault. It’s not a problem with your character or fortitude. It’s not the fault of your place of employment, or a lack of planning and poor resources. It can’t be blamed on covid or society. Nor is it a reason to change careers and get out of healthcare.
Yes, your sense of purpose and fulfillment in your job are important. Yes, your emotional wellbeing and overall health should be priorities. Yes, you deserve to be paid what you’re worth and treated with kindness and respect. Maybe a change of scenery is just what you need—become a traveler or take a vacation.
So, back to burnout. Whose fault is it? How do we fix it?
Much research has been done that identifies rapidly rising rates of burnout among healthcare workers due to “high levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization and low levels of professional efficacy.” The “Great Resignation” is really a thing. We all know the problem is bigger than any one person or facility, which are merely symptoms. Fundamentally, we are operating in a diseased healthcare system. The problem is that we think it’s too big to fix.
What can we do? As individuals, we can turn our burnout into intention. Let it inspire us to change the world within our reach. Emphasis: within our reach. Who and what in the world can we touch within our reach?
Instead of dreading the next shift and all the negative things that will likely happen at work, get curious about what we can bring into each patient encounter or interaction with a coworker. Go into each assignment with the intention to inspire and be inspired. Transform negative patterns into opportunities for growth. How might we choose to see things differently this time?
I know this isn’t the answer to the problem of burnout nor a simple solution, but it’s a start. That’s all any one of us can do—and talk about it. Say what you’re feeling out loud to a trusted friend or colleague. Then let it go. And refocus on what can I bring into this moment?
Aequor Healthcare Services has over 20 years of experience placing nurses, therapists, allied healthcare professionals, physicians, and technicians in contract assignments across the United States. We match our best and brightest talent with jobs that lead to fulfilling careers and empower both employees and employers.
 Listopad, I. W., M. M. Michaelsen, L. Werdecker, and T. Esch. “Bio-Psycho-Socio-Spirito-Cultural Factors of Burnout: A Systematic Narrative Review of the Literature”. Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12, Dec. 2021, p. 722862. PubMed Central, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8672245/.