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8 Approaches That Will Help Reduce Burnout in Healthcare

Discover strategies to reduce burnout among healthcare professionals, including leadership support, data-driven solutions, work-life balance, and creating a culture that values caregivers.

Mical DuBrow profile
By Mical DeBrow
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Edited by Nelsy Mtsweni
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Fact-check by C8 Staff

Published March 21, 2024.

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Let’s envision a world that values healthcare workers, supports them, and empowers them to excel without sacrificing their own health. A world where burnout is preventable, not an inevitable result of a challenging career.

To make this vision a reality, we need to take deliberate, all-encompassing steps that tackle the underlying causes of burnout. We must also cultivate a culture of care for both patients and caregivers. Let's take a look at how to make it happen.

Meet the expert

Mical DeBrow is an accomplished healthcare leader and clinician with extensive expertise spanning pharma, healthcare payers and providers, and healthcare information technology.

What is Burnout in Healthcare?

Burnout is a psychological state stemming from long-term job stress. It’s increasingly common among healthcare workers due to high work pressure, lack of support, low job satisfaction, and unmanaged stress.

To address burnout, we need to instate comprehensive solutions that prioritize healthcare professionals’ well-being because of its complex nature.

One of the key contributors to a sense of burnout? Feeling underappreciated.

The pandemic highlighted the diverse skills and remarkable resilience of often undervalued nurses. We need to recognize and appreciate every profession within the healthcare system to address this.

What's more, eroding trust within the healthcare workforce can lead to burnout. When healthcare workers feel their concerns are ignored, it can result in:

  • Higher stress levels
  • Lower work engagement
  • Loss of motivation to perform their duties effectively

The Impacts of Burnout on Healthcare Professionals

When healthcare professionals burn out, it’s not just a statistic. It’s a real person feeling overwhelmed, making more medical mistakes, and feeling less connected to the patients they care for. It’s a nurse or a doctor feeling so stressed that they can’t give their best.

This is a big deal, especially in healthcare. Here, every decision matters, and a simple mistake can have serious consequences. Burnout can make these dedicated professionals feel like they’re just going through the motions, feeling unappreciated and detached.

And the effects ripple out. Burnout can contribute to staff turnover, which can impact how well a healthcare facility functions. It’s a cycle we need to break, for the sake of both healthcare professionals and the patients they care for.

» Want to improve care? Check out essential ways of reducing and preventing medical errors.

8 Approaches for Creating a Supportive Environment to Reduce Burnout

1. Constructive Meetings

Staff meetings should be more than platforms for airing grievances; they should be spaces for meaningful discussions and collaborative problem-solving. It is the role of healthcare managers to empower their teams and cultivate a sense of purpose by encouraging open dialogue and focusing on workplace solutions rather than complaints.

A memorable experience was when a C-level officer visited our facility in the middle of the night, listened to the staff, and even went into patient rooms.

This simple presence and engagement can foster a sense of unity and remind healthcare workers that their voices are heard and valued.

2. Investing in Growth

Healthcare organizations should provide ongoing medical education, skill enhancement, and career advancement opportunities. By nurturing a culture of continuous learning, individuals can feel valued, challenged, and invested in their work.

3. Smart Staffing Solutions

Traditional staffing models in healthcare often fail to account for the nuances of patient acuity and individual needs. Using nurse-to-patient ratios is not always effective, as every patient has unique needs.

Healthcare organizations must optimize staffing levels based on real-time patient demand to ensure caregivers are not overwhelmed while providing high-quality care. In addition, rotating on-call roles instead of having individuals constantly available can also help ensure that healthcare providers are not overworked.

4. Streamlining Administrative Tasks

Excessive administrative tasks and documentation can be a significant source of burnout for healthcare professionals. Better education on available technology on the patient side is needed.

Organizations should implement cloud-based solutions to manage healthcare data and streamline administrative tasks. This means incorporating intelligent automation and user-friendly digital systems (check out our platform), which standardize or simplify how you can access best practices, guidelines and knowledge, making admin that much more easy to manage.

These solutions will free up valuable time for direct patient care and self-care activities.

5. Behavioral Monitoring and Early Intervention

Advanced technology can monitor healthcare professionals' behavior, mood, and performance and detect subtle changes that may indicate they are at risk of burnout.

For example, a wearable device can track the practitioner's heart rate, sleep patterns, and activity levels, providing valuable insights into their overall well-being.

These tech solutions improve operational efficiency by providing early staff support and intervention, which enable organizations to prevent burnout from escalating. The results? Healthcare professionals maintain their well-being, improving their job satisfaction and performance and reducing the overall risk of burnout.

6. Encouraging Work-Life Balance

Nobody is very effective if they work continuously. Recognizing that burnout often stems from an imbalance between work and personal life is essential. Organizations should actively promote and support initiatives encouraging work-life balance, such as flexible scheduling, adequate time off, and access to mental health resources.

7. Providing Accessible Resources

Healthcare organizations should take steps to keep the staff healthy and productive. They can do this by providing access to:

  • Affordable and nutritious food options
  • Quiet spaces for rest and rejuvenation
  • On-site wellness programs

By offering these resources, organizations demonstrate their commitment to the holistic well-being of their staff.

8. Nurturing Emotional Intelligence

Burnout can lead to a decline in empathy, which is detrimental to caregivers and patients. Healthcare organizations can empower their staff to take steps to:

  • Manage stress
  • Maintain compassion
  • Cultivate resilience in challenging situations

They can do this by investing in:

  • Training programs
  • Support groups
  • Individual counseling

These investments can empower individuals to navigate challenging situations better and develop stronger relationships with those around them. This helps to cultivate resilience in challenging situations.

» Here's how to enhance staff wellness initiatives

Supporting a Culture of Care

Long shifts and unsustainable work practices can worsen burnout, leaving healthcare professionals feeling overworked and less effective. While there are tools to combat burnout, their implementation often falls short.

It’s crucial to support and value healthcare workers, our most precious asset, to keep the workforce motivated. Nurses, often the most trusted professionals, deserve our efforts to address burnout.

Organizations need to focus on effectively using resources and cultivating leaders who foster a caring culture, rather than just relying on seniority.

» Hiring? Here's how to mitigate onboarding issues with mobile-friendly tools