The Impact of Burnout on Healthcare Workers
Burnout can be described as emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion as a result of long-term exposure to work-related stressors. Healthcare staff, such as nurses and doctors, are often affected by their demanding schedules. This impact of burnout on healthcare workers can have serious repercussions for them professionally and personally, as well as their patients.
Reduced job satisfaction
It is all too common to end up overworking in this industry which can have a major impact on job satisfaction. This in turn can negatively impact the quality of care being provided. It makes it more difficult for workers to maintain their passion for their work with the long hours, high-pressure environment, and immense responsibility that comes with the job. This can take a toll on even the most dedicated of professionals.
Managing the physical and emotional job demands can be tiring and it can be easy to feel disconnected. Taking time off work and seeking support from colleagues and loved ones, can help to overcome this feeling of dissatisfaction.
Prioritising mental health and wellbeing is crucial for building a fulfilling and sustainable career in this field. Hospitals and care facilities can create an environment that values compassion and respect by listening to workers when they need to talk or if they have any issues. This creates a better work environment which allows a safe haven from the demands of working in a high-stress occupation.
How to Prevent Burnout
• Place an importance on a healthy eating lifestyle.
• Receive mental health support if needed.
• Cultivate positive relationships with colleagues at work.
• Ensure you engage in social activities outside of your work life.
Increased risk of physical ailments
Physical ailments are another factor of working in high-stress environments for prolonged periods of time. From high blood pressure and heart disease to fatigue, headaches, and muscle pain, it can show up in numerous ways. They can disrupt the body’s normal immune, hormonal, and inflammatory responses, making it more vulnerable to disease. There is also a risk of catching contagious viruses while being constantly surrounded by sick patients, as we have seen during the pandemic in recent years.
As a result of the pandemic, Irish healthcare workers experienced severe exhaustion from high rates of Covid-19 infections among co-workers. In fact, more than 70% of doctors have experienced sever exhaustion since the Covid pandemic.
The knock-on effects were high rates of anxiety, stress, and depression caused by an overused workforce. This is why it is so important to protect staff while they carry out their important work. Protection can be provided through personal protective equipment (PPE gear) such as surgical masks and face shields. This reduces the risk of them becoming sick and allows them to carry out their work as intended.
Did You Know?
Severe fatigue has a greater impact on younger professionals than older, experienced ones. In fact, two-thirds of emergency doctors experience it.
Increased risk of medical errors
Tiredness and stress in the workplace can impair cognitive functions. This can make it difficult to make sound decisions and respond quickly to patient needs as well as making it hard to communicate effectively. It is important to recognise the signs and take steps to prevent it in order to ensure that patients receive the highest quality of care possible. These errors can have serious consequences, even leading to fatalities.
It is estimated that 1,000 unnecessary deaths are caused every year in Ireland by medical error. In March 2022, it was reported by the State Claims Agency that incidents can include wrong medications, wrong dosage and more serious incidents of alleged failures in care including delayed diagnosis. This is why it is important to monitor and improve patient safety in order to avoid incidents that can cause harm to patients.
How Servisource Can Help
Temporary work at Servisource has a wealth of benefits such as flexibility and a good work/life balance.
It includes access to a variety of experiences in different medical care settings that expands different skill sets, creating job satisfaction for employees and less stress.
Servisource operate regionally, nationally, and globally, providing access to people in the right place. We can supply temporary staff at short notice regardless of where you are based, providing relief for full-time staff and therefore reducing the possibility of burn out.
Servisource employs staff living locally to serve our communities and businesses. This eliminates the need for long-distance travel, reducing the risk of fatigue and ensuring that when a staff member is booked, they are fully equipped to be by the patients’ side when needed.
Increased risk of mental health issues
When working in this sector, the impact on mental health can be significant. A high workload, long hours, emotional exhaustion, exposure to trauma, and the demands of caring for patients who are seriously ill, can all contribute to ailing mental health and take a toll on even the most resilient individuals.
Healthcare professionals are often so focused on caring for others that they neglect their own well-being, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. It is vital to seek out support if needed and communicate in your workplace about any struggles you may be suffering from.
Mental health support for care workers is available from The HSE Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), a work-based support service for staff.
Services provided by the EAP programme:
If you are experiencing mental health symptoms, it is important to seek support from colleagues, family members, or a mental health professional. When medical organisations provide programmes and support systems to promote self-care and break the stigma surrounding mental health issues, it creates better health outcomes for everyone.
Working in the medical industry can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Workers are often so focused on caring for others that they neglect their own wellbeing, which leads to the above mental and physical issues. If you are a healthcare worker experiencing any of these, it is important to prioritise your own wellbeing and seek support. Servisource temp workers can relieve some of that pressure, leading to better health outcomes for all involved.