Is Burnout Plaguing Your Facility?
If you feel like you’ve tried everything, but you still haven’t been able to stave off provider burnout, it might be time for a new approach.
Burnout is nothing new, but with the combined pressures of COVID and existing workforce shortages, the phenomenon has reached new levels. Physicians and APPs are overworked, weary and exhausted. Some are even leaving their positions or considering parting with the field forever.
The Struggle Is Real – Burnout Engenders Additional Challenges
Burnout leads to a slew of problems. Burnout puts patients at risk, impacts facilities’ bottom lines, and generally erodes the field of healthcare.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reports that burnout can lead to:
- Impaired memory, attention and executive functioning
- Emotional exhaustion and depersonalization
- Reduced sense of accomplishment
- Desire to leave the position or even the field of medicine
- Risks to patient safety
- Reduced quality of care
Tait Shanafelt, MD, who has researched physician burnout for decades, cites common causes of burnout as (Johns Hopkins Medicine):
- High patient volumes
- Increased clerical work
- EHR requirements
- Perfectionism and expectations
- Inefficient workflows
As well as providers’ lack of:
- Control over their own work schedules
- Connection with their colleagues
- Communication within their department
- Career development opportunities
- Community involvement opportunities
- Appreciation and recognition opportunities
Fortunately, leaders can partner with physicians and APPs to find creative solutions so that providers feel supported, recharged and alert.
Solutions for Overcoming Burnout
Enlist the help of providers. Find out precisely what is contributing to exhaustion for those who are experiencing burnout. Then dig into what is keeping providers who feel better afloat.
Work together to generate a tailored, strategic approach. It may help to begin with ideas that have worked for other healthcare organizations or those shared by professional organizations.
For example, the American Medical Association (AMA) has a module on physician burnout which suggests that leaders can:
- Create wellness programs
- Redesign workflows
- Improve communication
- Empower providers to create changes
- Enhance workplace and team culture
- Conduct wellness surveys
- Use data to guide interventions
- Implement peer support or mentorship programs
- Encourage self-care interventions
- Ensure access to wellness resources such as Employee Assistance Program, etc.
- Invest time, financial resources and personnel to stave off burnout and promote wellness
Locums Support Can Relieve Burnout
One surefire way to stave off burnout, promote wellness and ease pressures on providers is to give them time off. Bringing in locum reinforcements can give your permanent physicians and APPs much-needed rest. Whether they need a break for a family vacation, a respite from demanding practice hours or a chance to recover from illness, they can rest easy knowing qualified providers are standing in their place. And when you have a great partnership with a locums agency you trust, relief for burnout is just a call away.