Burnout is a real threat in the health care industry. The majority of nursing staff are burned out, with more than half considering quitting the profession altogether. This adds to the pressing issue of healthcare worker shortage we have been facing for many years, and the current Covid19 has aggravated the situation. Burnout happens regularly in the workplace, and it is no surprise that it impacts work performance. Increasing workload and offering long hours adds to the problem. People will just have enough and one day decides to wash their hands and leave the industry altogether. This is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken.


What can the healthcare service providers do to break away from this? 

Here are our suggestions:

  • People are your greatest assets. Work together with your staff. Learn from them and find ways to improve the working hours and the workload in a given shift.
  • Mental health is a priority. Check on your care workers regularly. Ask where they are in the headspace; are they okay? You do not need to wait a year for the ‘Are you okay day’. Is there a support system to help them mentally? In addition to Burnout, reduce other contributing factors such as workplace bullying and harassment.
  • Avoid overloading your employees. This is a big one that triggers all other problems in the industry. Avoid offering long working hours and double shifts to cover shortages or overtime to employees. This might cover the wound on the surface; the damage gets more prominent over time. In the long run, this leads to Burnout, no life balance, poor mental health, increased errors, job dissatisfaction and quitting in the end. Understand that life happens, and some staff might not genuinely call off work last minute for an emergency or other personal reasons. You do not need to over exhaust those who did turn up. We recommend having an on-call team, a pool of casuals, or a staffing agency.
  • Learning and Development. Note that we said learning and development. Often, we focus on learning technical skills relating to the job that we forget about staff development. We mean by this that invest in your people’s leadership skills and challenge them often. Are your floor staff able to orient a new grad or agency staff, or is that only left for the supervisor? What if the supervisor is busy? With outstanding leadership in the organisation, employees want to help collaboratively find a solution; they understand they work together towards a common goal.

Suppose you master these four critical areas in your organisation. In that case, we believe you will see improvement in customer service, quality care, job satisfaction and ultimately better staff retention—a real return on your investment in people.

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