Preventing Burnout Among Your Medical Staff

A growing national issue.

Dec 12, 2017

Burnout among medical staffing has become a grave issue in the US. Although levels of burnout vary between physicians, nurses, LPN’s and other medical support staff, as well as between male and female workers, there remains one constant – it’s a growing national problem among Health Care Professionals (HCP).

Surveys point a finger at the increased demands of “electronic healthcare recording,” as the cause, but other contributing factors include:

  • The sheer physical demands placed on HCP: Twelve-hour shifts, much of which is spent on their feet, with little time for breaks is just the beginning. Add to this, short staffing, and on-call hours when sleep, meals, and downtime are interrupted. Furthermore, HCP also experience exposure to multiple diseases and viruses. 
  • The constant changes in regulations, protocol, medicines, etc. can be very stressful. Couple that with the pressure to never make a mistake and the toll on individuals rises. In many industries, a mistake – even a serious one – can usually be corrected. It might be costly, but it can be corrected. In the medical field, a mistake can have lifetime consequences – for both the patient and the HCP.
  • The extreme emotional challenges is another factor. It’s easy to say “I can’t get emotionally involved in my patients.” Not so easy to do. And in addition to the patient, there’s all the interactions with the patient’s families, as well as the HCP’s colleagues who are equally burnout - both emotionally and physically.

As a healthcare provider, it’s crucial to act an act now to address this issue. There aren’t easy solutions, of course, but there are steps that will help.

  • Recognize the problem and the seriousness of it
  • Take steps to create a positive, healthy work culture
  • Encourage healthy work habits among your HCP from regular exercise to healthy choices in the cafeteria to enforcing break times as well as vacations and limiting the amount overtime hours.
  • Create support groups for staff members. 

While all of the above play an important role, the most significant factor comes down to sufficient staffing. In fact, in findings published online earlier this year in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the authors note that "team stability and staffing are critical factors in easing the burden of burnout. Results revealed that when staffing circumstances improved — a fully staffed team with no turnover and a patient panel within capacity — the burnout rate was 30.1 percentage points lower (28.5% vs. 58.6%) than when teams are understaffed and have turnover and heavy patient loads."

"Overall, our findings confirm the importance of team stability and the completeness of team staffing as critical factors in predicting burnout levels among primary care physicians, nurses, and administrative staff," the researchers concluded.

Lofton Medical understands the importance of remaining fully staffed.  Our core values are adaptability, integrity, excellence, perseverance, and profitability — Qualities that ensure that Lofton Medical stands apart from other agencies. We pride ourselves in offering flexibility when it comes to meeting the staffing needs of the facilities and individuals we serve. Contact us today – let us help you maintain a fully-staffed and supported medical team.








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