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Burnout

Burnout is a state of exhaustion coming from being overwhelmed. Burnout is the result of excessive, accumulated, and prolonged pressure from situations that are emotionally, physically, and mentally demanding. 

Contributing factors:

  • Work overload
  • Quality of teamwork
  • Lack of control
  • Lack of recognition or positive feedback
  • Lack of community (social and peer support)
  • Lack of fairness
  • Conflicting values (work vs family)
  • High expectations for self
  • Personal life stress

Burnout has three facets:

  1. Exhaustion – feelings of tiredness and fatigue at work and may result in absenteeism
  2. Cynicism – developing a callous/uncaring feeling towards work and colleagues
  3. Inefficacy – feelings of not accomplishing anything while at work and may result in the lack of motivation and poor performance

Without intervention, burnout can progressively worsen over time. There are a range of emotional, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological signs that an individual may feel when burnt out. These include:

Emotional

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Hostile and negative feelings towards the profession and patients
  • Numbness
  • Feelings of guilt & self-pity
  • Temper outbursts
  • Feelings of detachment towards work and people
  • Feeling a sense of alienation, impatience, and negativity

Behavioural:

  • Over-commitment (no healthy distance from work)
  • Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning
  • Becoming accident prone

Cognitive:

  • Difficulty in making decisions & staying focused
  • Worry and anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to concentrate

Physiological:

  • A sense of running on empty and depleted energy
  • Tiredness & exhaustion
  • Muscle tension & headaches

These symptoms in combination can lead to

  • Anxiety, depression, substance abuse
  • Reduced empathy
  • Increased isolation, detachment & avoidance
  • Problems with interpersonal relationships
  • Disrupted personal and family life
  • Impaired patient care and increased medical error
  • Decreased productivity and job satisfaction
  • Time off work, resignation from position

 

Burnout and Covid demands

Due to the current COVID19 pandemic, the workload pressures placed on healthcare workers have significantly increased, which increases the risk of burnout.  The following management and prevention strategies are even more important for AV employees, first responders and their families to be aware of. Also, if you are noticing any signs that you may be experiencing burnout consider accessing support for your mental health. Click here for details on available support.

 

Management & Prevention

  • Engage in self-care (e.g., exercise, healthy eating, meditation, mindfulness)
  • Take it one shift at a time
  • Limit your amount of voluntary overtime
  • Learn how and when to say no
  • Time management
  • Set limits for yourself rather than letting someone else set them for you
  • Learn to recognise the symptoms of burnout, be open and willing to ask for help
  • Strengthen personal and workplace relationships (e.g. team building and use of effective communication strategies)
  • Check in with yourself – how you are feeling? Learn to recognise your symptoms of stress and burnout
  • Reassessing your values and priorities regularly and pacing yourself
  • Focusing on things within your control
  • Using transition times to stop and process – use the drive home to process your day and how you are feeling, and then put on a music playlist or podcast to transition into off-work time.
  • Remind yourself of any positive moments in the shift or something you can take pride in

Click here for the TIP SHEET