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Seeing the Signs: How to Combat Burnout in Healthcare

Seeing the Signs: How to Combat Burnout in Healthcare

Healthcare workers are the unsung heroes of our society. They tend to our sick and wounded while working long and stressful hours and burnout in healthcare is a genuine risk. All that stress can take its toll on employee morale and mental health. In this article, we will discuss how to combat burnout in healthcare workers and keep critical facilities staffed.

How to Spot Burnout in Healthcare Staff

You can’t begin to solve a problem unless you know how to recognize it. Per a survey by Deloitte, as many as 64% of employees report that they are “frequently stressed”. Many of us find it challenging to notice the signs of burnout in ourselves at first. So, it’s critical to understand how to spot the signs in your staff before serious consequences begin to set in. We’re all driven to do our best at our jobs, but in the process we can sometimes forget about the toll that stress takes on us and our colleagues. The mindset necessary to spot burnout is one of awareness and compassion. 

Here are several things to look for in your staff that may be signs of burnout: 

  • Low morale
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Reduced productivity
  • Increased errors and mistakes
  • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Increase in physical ailments/illnesses
  • Loss of enthusiasm for work 

Conditions That Contribute to Healthcare Burnout

One way to counteract burnout in healthcare employees is to raise awareness in yourself and your staff about the conditions which can fuel it. From there, you can devise strategies to reduce or eliminate these conditions, or at least introduce elements which can provide relief. Wanting to be a “team player” can sometimes mean that your staff won’t verbalize issues that are causing them stress, whether they are at work or in their personal lives (or both). 

A work culture that discourages openness or disparages someone for needing help might seem like it will reinforce a diligent work ethic. And it may, for a time. But in the long run it leads to unhappy healthcare staff which feel unappreciated. That translates into lower morale which actually leads to poorer performance over time. Ultimately it can cost you employees. We don’t have to tell you that healthcare is extremely competitive. 

Healthcare employees who are unhappy and don’t feel seen and heard eventually begin looking for greener pastures. All or most of this can be avoided by recognizing and mitigating factors that can contribute to burnout. Remember that the culture and attitude of any organization really begins with management and leadership. Your people need to know that burnout is a concern and that you genuinely care about their wellbeing. Whether you are a Director of Nursing, an HR manager or a CEO, healthcare burnout needs to be on your radar. If it isn’t now, it will be sooner or later and you must be ready for it. 

Here are some conditions which can contribute to burnout in healthcare:

  • Insufficient staffing
  • Lack of support from leadership
  • Poor communication between healthcare staff and leadership
  • Unclear job roles and responsibilities 
  • Unrealistic expectations or work demands
  • Inadequate resources to do the job properly

Seeing the Signs and Responding

By recognizing these conditions, healthcare facilities can take steps to alleviate them. This can be done by investing in employee education programs, increasing healthcare staff numbers if needed, introducing flexible working hours, establishing better feedback loops and clearer channels of communication between healthcare employees and management. It’s also crucial that healthcare workers are given autonomy over their workloads to some extent; this gives them a greater sense of control which leads to enhanced morale. Above all else, healthcare workers need to feel appreciated for the hard work.

Combating Burnout in Healthcare Workers 

Once you’ve identified healthcare burnout, the next step is to take action. It’s essential to create an environment where healthcare staff feel valued, respected, and supported if you want them to stay healthy and motivated.

Here are a few tips on how to help combat healthcare worker burnout: 

  •  Provide access to mental health services like counseling or therapy
  •  Encourage breaks away from work so healthcare workers can recharge their batteries.
  •  Offer flexible working hours or remote work options. 
  •  Create an open-door policy so healthcare staff feel comfortable coming to their managers with any issues they may have.
  •  Reward healthcare workers for going the extra mile and recognize their hard work.

Burnout in healthcare is a genuine risk, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable if you take steps to combat it. Healthcare workers are our society’s heroes, and we should treat them as such. By creating a culture of support and understanding, healthcare facilities can keep morale high and make sure that employees stay healthy and motivated.

Healthcare Recruiting and RPO Empower Your Business

A partnership with a healthcare recruiter like SMG can help make sure that you always have access to well-qualified, experienced individuals to fill key positions quickly and easily. With their help, you can rest assured that the best candidates are always available to meet your hospital staffing, behavioral health and other healthcare needs. Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) makes hiring far more convenient to be sure. But it’s about more than mere convenience. RPO makes good business sense because it streamlines hiring, unburdens overworked HR departments and almost always results in open positions being filled sooner and with better quality candidates. 

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Frank A. Severino, Jr.

Director of Recruiting & Managing Partner

Born in Chicago, Frank moved to the Orlando area in 2012. As SMG Healthcare Recruiters Director of Recruiting, Frank works directly with the talented people we recruit as well as interacting with clients to ensure their needs are met and their expectations are surpassed. Frank feels blessed to have the opportunity to help build the family business and to be engaged in important work that plays to his professional and personal strengths. Frank says, “Helping people find gainful employment in an industry so full of passion for helping others is truly rewarding.” Like his father, Frank Jr. has experience working in behavioral healthcare in business development. In his leisure time, Frank Jr. coaches a nationally recognized high school baseball team in Winter Park, Florida. He also enjoys fishing, relaxing on the beach, cookouts and watching Chicago sports.

Michael Severino

COO & Managing Partner

Born in Woodridge, IL, Michael moved to Florida in 2014 and has been working with SMG Healthcare Recruiters since 2016. As COO, Michael helps see to SMG & Associates’ daily operations and ensures that clients get everything they need and more. One of his favorite parts of the job is working with people, especially helping candidates reach their highest potential. Michael considers himself extremely fortunate in having the chance to build the family business with his dad and brother, Frank Jr. Michael says, “I really enjoy working with my family. My father is my hero and being able to learn from him everyday is an opportunity that most people don’t have.” Michael currently lives in St. Cloud, FL with his wife and two bulldogs, Buca and Ozzie. In his down time, Michael enjoys boating and jet skiing. He is a technology enthusiast and is currently learning how to code in HTML, Javascript and LUA.

Frank B. Severino, Sr.

CEO & Senior Managing Partner

Born in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinois, Frank moved to Orlando, Florida in 2017. A founding member of SMG & Associates, he has been with the company since its very first day in 2019. Frank brings extensive experience in the Mental Health, Eating Disorder and Substance Abuse treatment field to SMG’s long list of strengths, working as the Executive VP of Business Development for RiverMend Health and as Regional Director for Lakeview Health. 

The move into healthcare recruiting seemed like fate to Frank as he has spent the bulk of his career working in either recruiting and staffing or mental health treatment. The decision to merge the two into the venture that became SMG Healthcare Recruiters came naturally. It allowed him to leverage his greatest strengths and provide truly exceptional service to the healthcare industry. 

Frank understands just how important filling positions with the right people is in the healthcare area because he’s seen the process from every angle. He lives in Sarasota, Florida with Karen, his wife of 38 years and is blessed to work with his sons, Frank and Michael in building SMG Healthcare Recruiters. His son Joseph has recently joined the firm and is learning the recruiting field as a candidate screener. Additionally, Frank leads our staffing company, “Pinnacle Staffing Resources”. He serves as an Advisory Board Member for the N.O.W. Matters More Foundation. He divides his free time between various passions including boating, fishing and golf and work with his church.