We all are working somewhere or having jobs that often make us feel burnt out or tired. Upon facing burn out too often, our body starts responding to stress levels through physical symptoms. The symptoms can vary, such as diarrhea, fever, restlessness, burning shoulders, insomnia, and mental distress.
As a teacher or a corporate sector employee, we have fixed hours of work and also get to take days off. But imagine if you are a healthcare provider and can get a call for an emergency at any time of the day – or night. Imagine having to look after ailing patients for continuously long hours. Imagine not being able to go on a vacation when you desire. Frequent extended working hours can take a toll on anyone.
Healthcare providers are available for their patient’s health and well-being and ensuring their satisfaction and safety. Their central role is to look after the patient and fulfill all the necessities required for their treatment. But they also shoulder the burden of administrative duties.
Burnout can happen anytime, any day, and more importantly, to anyone. Healthcare providers may feel it but often do not tend to look after it. The reason for not paying attention to the burnout symptoms is their busy routines and shifts that keep them on their toes. Healthcare providers with additional duties and roles can hire a person with a medical assistant certification to share their responsibilities or assist them. A certified medical assistant can look after many small tasks and manage things in the absence of a doctor or any other healthcare provider.
Regardless, it is imperative for every healthcare professional to look after their health for multiple reasons.
Promoting Self Health
As a healthcare provider, you spend your day guiding others about their health and well-being. However, listening to people, looking after their health, and finding solutions for their mental or physical health shouldn’t make you lose focus on your well-being. We can only ensure the well-being of our patients if we are healthy ourselves. Healthcare professionals often have a poor eating pattern as they are busy with patients, and in case of surgeries, they barely find time to eat. One of the steps to self-care is to make changes to your eating habits. Eating healthy while on duty is essential. But incorporating healthy snacks to boost your energy levels at work is even better, and it also helps strengthen your immune system. What good is a sick doctor to an ill patient?
Working for long hours and seeing the sufferings of different people can take a toll on your emotional and mental health. Joining the healthcare industry is as thrilling as rewarding, but it can also be just mentally exhausting. Doctors and nurses are just as human as any of the people they look after. They can also go through mental and emotional breakdowns.
Ignoring one’s mental and emotional health or not talking about it can induce stress. As a healthcare professional, stress can cause underperformance in the workplace and cloud one’s decision-making ability. In a hospital, this can become a matter of life and death. A self-care routine, like yoga, stretching exercises, or meditation, can help healthcare workers manage their stress and induce a positive mood.
Strengthens Empathy And Resilience
We hardly see a healthcare professional being harsh or rude towards the patient. Or better yet, we shouldn’t see one taking that tone with patients. Empathy is one of the fundamental pillars required for delivering quality patient care. However, burnout due to failure to maintain work-life balance can make people feel frustrated and put them on edge. It is very common for people to take out their edginess on people they interact with daily. This is not a good practice, and it is worse in an environment that requires one to be more compassionate than usual. Talking to a family or a professional about such feelings as your care can help them cope with the stress before it has lasting consequences on professional conduct.
Improves Focus And Clarity
As mentioned above, burnout and mental stress can cloud one’s ability to react to situations. When dealing with a patient or communicating the details to another professional, attention and focus are key. A little misjudgment can lead to huge errors when it comes to patient care.
Working for long hours, performing extended surgeries can exhaust the body and mind. Rest is essential for the proper functioning of our physical and mental capacities. Taking short breaks or taking turns with other colleagues can help healthcare workers to get much-needed rest and maintain their focus and clarity. A short coffee break can give a quick energy boost. However, nothing beats a sound sleep to clear out the mental fog.
As a busy healthcare professional, it is easy to forget about yourself. Looking after patients is challenging and demands focus. But we can only serve others if we are feeling well and can think clearly. Working round the clock or having swing shifts can make you feel drained out and irritable. Taking simple steps can keep burnout at bay and improve your well-being. This is of utmost importance because it will make you a better healthcare professional at the end of the day.