We hoped for a sprint. Instead, we got a marathon as the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to run long and wear the healthcare workforce down. It's time to refuel your clinical team for the challenges ahead. How do you prevent stress from becoming burnout?
Here are five strategies for building a workforce culture
that supports resilience.
Be honest about ongoing challenges
Acknowledge that the crisis
and the pace won't let up anytime soon. Happy talk may lead to assumptions that
leaders 'don't get it,' which only adds to the stress. You may need to ask
people to keep being more productive than they were before COVID-19. You may
also have to announce budget cuts due to lost patient revenue — which means
doing more with less.
Help your current staff
recognize what you can and cannot control. If onboarding new employees, be
honest about your workplace's expectations and realities, so there are no
Act on immediate needs
It's not easy for clinicians to admit they're having difficulty.
It's vital to act now. Don't wait until professional behavior begins to erode
under excessive stress. Make a short, focused list of burnout mitigators:
- Make sure everyone feels as safe as possible. Provide sufficient protocols and personal protection equipment.
- Listen. Provide a central access point so they don't have to work through channels to share their concerns.
- Lighten the workload as possible. Can you stop or defer non-essential administrative tasks?
- Prioritize addressing burnout, then go on to resolve other stress issues.
Welcome ideas for improvement
If there's one positive aspect of the health crisis, it's clinicians'
willingness to lean in to change. For some healthcare organizations the
pandemic has exposed process inefficiencies. In response to the surges in
COVID-19 patients, clinicians are embracing changes in how they practice — for
example, reducing hours in lower volume specialties and offering after-hours
Encourage openness and self-care
Lookfor ways to support the well-being of staff involved in
patient care, beginning with a survey to assess stress points, fears and areas
in need of your attention. Then designate wellness champions to address any
emotional concerns that arise. Create work schedules that allow for adequate
sleep and break times. Provide small things like easy access to water, healthy
snacks, toiletries and phone chargers.
Share stories of success
Remember the rules of employee recognition and praise specific
achievements of individuals and teams. To boost emotional support, let your workforce
know you're aware of their work and value their professionalism.
Lift each other up
A motivated, engaged and appreciated staff equals satisfied
patients and revenue recovery. If you need help navigating through tough times,
give us a call. CMG Health Marketing is ready to be a true partner.