What is Burnout?
In the 1970s, the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberg coined the term burnout. He used the term to describe the effects of extreme stress in the labor-intensive professions. It’s also often used when talking about being overworked and having poor working environments. Burnout isn’t necessarily physical, but rather much more mental, that typically drains your passion for a career. Now in 2021, not much has changed, all of us are feeling the effect of being ‘essential’ workers. With the ongoing pandemic almost every healthcare worker is feeling the overwhelming pressure of constant understaffing and working overtime almost every day for going on two years now. The turnover in health care careers is up by 1.755 bringing the total turnover to around 20%. This doesn’t seem too bad in the grand scheme of this but if you consider that pre-pandemic almost 80% of hospitals admitted to being severely understaffed, you can just imagine how understaffed all healthcare facilities are right now, with everyone finally burning out due to the exhausting and hazardous working conditions.
How Do We Avoid This?
Now that I’ve scared the majority of the readers off from being a caregiver, let’s get into how we avoid the burnout. There’s not much you can do about the overwhelming workload you receive at the beginning of your shift, but you can control your attitude and your time.
Take Your Breaks!
Try not to work through your breaks, most healthcare workers are guilty of this. There is just way too much to do and not enough time to do it, but the breaks are required for a reason. If you push yourself to hard you cause yourself to start resenting your management and the job in general. Plus, you burnout and in the long run cause more harm than good. Sure, you work hard one shift, but you become useless for the next week.
Manage Your Stress!
You are not alone, if you are feeling overwhelmed ask for help, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Learn how to say no when too many people ask for your help, give them suggestions on who to ask or how to do it a more effective and independent way if possible. Make time for yourself, just give yourself a day or a couple hours a day to just do what you want to do.
Figure out what you need to prioritize on your list of tasks. You aren’t always going to finish every task during your shift and that is okay. No one should be expecting you to do so when your census is high, and staffing is low. Keep your workspace clean, having a calm environment affects your mentality, if you see a dirty space at the end of your shift you go home feeling defeated, as if you haven’t done enough. With a clean environment and a time schedule the odds of burning out fall drastically.
Even if you only try one of these tips you may change your workplace mindset just enough to start enjoying your job again. Burnout is inevitable, but you can use some preventative measures to lower the overwhelming effects.
Here are a couple of links with more tips and tricks for avoiding burnout
Training for the Prevention of Workplace Burnout (chron.com)