Battling COVID-19 Burnout Among Clinicians

Healthcare worker burnout is by no means a new topic. It has been widely discussed and an active topic among the healthcare community for years now. But the mounting concerns of the high stress situations of COVID-19 have brought the topic of burnout to the forefront, and addressing it is more important than ever.

What’s going to turn the tide is the ability of hospitals and healthcare organizations to be proactive in recognizing the issue and offering solutions to their healthcare workers. Many nurses and physicians feel that they’re voices are lost in the shuffle when trying to communicates the problem of burnout.

What Causes Burnout?

A variety of factors can attribute to healthcare worker burnout. One of which right now is staffing issues. Hospitals are once again overburdened by new patients infected by the Delta variant of COVID-19. Hospital beds are filling up, but the amount of staff isn’t changing, causing a much larger workload for nurses and doctors.

Luckily, hospitals and healthcare facilities do have the benefit of using staffing agencies, who can tap into a wider resource of healthcare workers across the country to bring in the much needed help. The benefit of a staffing agency to handle the sourcing, credentialing and onboarding is a huge relief for hospital administrators who can then concentrate on their current staff. The addition of travel nurses into a hospital will alleviate a lot of the burden staff nurses are currently handling.

Other factors contribute to burnout as well. These include but aren’t limited to, non-stop scheduling, stressful work environments and more. These issues were present before the pandemic but are only amplified by the spread of COVID-19.

Even before the pandemic began, healthcare workers were battling burnout. Several years ago, an estimated figure of nearly 40% of nurses reported having some level of stress, exhaustion, or emotional strain due to burnout. The pandemic has only lengthened and heightened those pain points for clinicians.

What Can Be Done?

Undiagnosed burnout can lead to both the detriment of the clinician, the patient and the organization as as whole, so it’s important to recognize it, report it, and take steps to encourage help. An overworked and burnt out healthcare worker will many times lead to a decreased level of care for patients according to experts.

So what can be done?

Firstly, employers, like hospitals or other healthcare facilities, can take steps to get ahead of the problem. A simple check-in with employees can go a long way.

How are you feeling? Is there anything stressing you out more than usual? What can we do to alleviate that stress?

Even a simple survey to gauge the temperature of an employee can mean so much! You’d be surprised the feedback you can get from a simple survey.

We have to remember, a lot of times, like any job, healthcare workers and employees want to know that their concerns are being heard and recognized.

When we know what could be causing burnout, we can react quickly to any issues. If a nurse is feeling bogged down by paperwork, it would be best to hire more support staff to handle the administrative tasks. If the actual stress of the day-to-day duties is wearing a healthcare worker down, then extended time off or some PTO could work wonders. Even more flexible schedules can benefit more healthcare workers.

The point is, having an open communication line from management to frontline workers is the first step in fighting burnout! Employers and healthcare facilities can utilize support programs, meaningful tracking, and staffing agencies like Ardor Health to help supplement their staff with fresh, ready, and determined healthcare professionals who are ready to deliver care and passions wherever they go.

When is it Time for Permanent Placement?

Life as a travel nurse could be all that you expected it to be and more. You are enjoying the time spent at various cities nationwide and it feels like a dream come true. You have the freedom to spend months at a time at quality hospitals while pursuing your passion of healthcare. This may all be true, but it is possible you’re considering permanent placement.  This can be a big change for a travel nurse who has been on the road for years. You may be wondering “How is it possible to know when to seek permanent placement?” Allow us to help. Continue reading “When is it Time for Permanent Placement?”

The Daily Life of a Surgical Tech

The surgery room often evokes images of a green-clad man, armed with scalpels and barking out orders. Most don’t think about the team of surgical technicians who make so many surgeries possible in the first place. These specialists are the people who provide and arrange the life-saving devices many doctors need. Students who are interested in working in the medical field but don’t want to go to medical school can find their place as a technician. What is it, exactly, that a surgical tech does in her day-to-day life?

Tasks Before The Surgery

Before an operation takes place, surgical techs are the people who make sure the operating room is set up correctly. This does not just mean setting the appropriate tools for the surgery; it also involves small factors like whether the surgeon is left or right handed, confirming the procedure plan with the patient, and whatever preferences the practicing surgeon might have. Surgical techs are usually the first in line to verify that the room, equipment, and any clothing worn by the doctors or patients are sterilized and safe to use.

Tasks During The Surgery

A surgical tech’s duties are at their most unexpected during a surgery. Though you may have seen the classic scene of a doctor shouting “scalpel!” to make an incision, there are hundreds of more appliances that a tech must memorize before being properly qualified. It is rare for any two surgeries to be the same – even if the medical condition is similar – and part of the tech’s duties is predicting what the surgeon will ask for next. This predictive instinct is what allows many surgeries to smoothly proceed. Other tasks include keeping incision sites open so the doctor can see what she is doing during the procedure, and accounting what tools or items were used so nothing is accidentally left inside a patient after stitching the incision closed.

Tasks After The Surgery

After the procedure, it is the surgical tech who makes sure bandages are correctly applied to the patient and that the patient leaves the operating room (OR) safely. Once the patient is gone, it is time for cleanup duty. The surgical tech works with a team of nurses to wash and sterilize the OR to prepare for the next operation. Dirty instruments used during the operation are taken to the sterile processing department for a proper cleaning. It is not uncommon for the tech to work a day of back-to-back operations, which means once the OR is cleaned up, it’s time for the next surgical assignment.

Without surgical technicians, many lead surgeons would not be able to fulfill their duty to treat the patients. Each healthcare facility will have its differences with more specific tasks, but knowing the basic instruments and understanding general responsibilities are vital aspects to succeeding in this career. Are you ready to take on your first job as a surgical technician? Take a look at what jobs are available on Ardor Health today.

How to Improve Communication with Coworkers

One of the most difficult parts of working as a traveling health practitioner is switching between coworkers so often. Add this to the fact that some hospitals have employees who have less than favorable opinions about traveling nurses or therapists, and you can find it difficult communicating with your coworkers. Not all hope is lost, you can get in touch and connect with the people you work with even if you’re going to be flying away soon. Better communication means a more efficient workplace environment, happier clients, and a happier you. 

Watch Body Language

Your body language often says more than words can. Even if you say everything with the right tone and language, people can pick up on signals that don’t match with what you have to say. This can lead to a loss of credibility. Pay attention to impulses that may lead you to slouch, avoiding eye contact, or sighing in the middle of speaking. In a hospital this is especially important, as you often have to make a difficult decision and make a case for your choice on the spot.

Avoid Hearing, Start Listening

While it can be easy to get in the habit of smiling and nodding whenever someone starts talking, other people will soon notice that you’re not really listening to them. Don’t feel too bad, most people usually don’t know they need to put in the time to develop active listening skills. Those who do though greatly benefit. When you make conscious, vocal answers or rephrase what a coworker is saying, you show that you are not only listening but making an honest attempt to see from their point of view. This helps you get on better terms with your coworkers as they notice that you care about what they have to say.

Balance Your Formalities

When people share the same space for a long time, it’s natural that you start feeling more comfortable around each other. Office gossip, talk about weekend plans, and throwing in a lame joke or two are common in the workplace. This does not mean you should completely gain confidence. If you have a dedicated office email or phone number, remember to stick with your practiced professional language. If you are in a meeting with your superiors, don’t test your luck by pushing formal boundaries. Going too far can make your coworkers view you as unprofessional.

Watch your Tone

In a face-to-face conversation, your tone should remain conversational. If you feel as if you are too overwhelmed by emotion or stress due to a difficult day at the clinic, there’s no harm in excusing yourself so you can unwind. When communicating with your coworkers through writing, be particularly careful about how your words may be interpreted. What can come off as a joke to one person may seem rude or angry to another. Adopt the “better safe than sorry” rule; write to your coworkers with language that makes your statement clear and carries a neutral tone.

While some people may find traveling health work to be depressing as they don’t usually stick around long enough to develop close relationships with their coworkers, traveling provides an opportunity to meet many kinds of people. Getting along with your coworkers means you learn new perspectives and techniques on how to carry out your work, and they can give you some great local tips on where to spend your time during rest days! If you’re looking for a new place to work in your traveling health career, check out our list of openings or call 855-GO-ARDOR.

Medical School Enrollment Hits Record High

Medical schools across the country have reported a record breaking number of applications and enrollments, despite the fact that senior physicians warn of the volatility of the medical field.

There’s a lot of numbers and statistics to consider when the current state of medical school enrollment, so we took the liberty of breaking it all down for you in the infographic below.

Medical School Enrollment Hits Record High

  • Although enrollment and the amount of applications rose, the amount of residency programs remained stagnant.
  • The amount of minorities entering medical school looks promising with an increase of 11.6% Black students and a 6.9% increase in both Asian and Latino students.
  • Despite the growth, the ratio of male to female students remains largely unchanged.

What To Make Of The Numbers

So what do these numbers mean? Arcoding to the AAMC, students are not afraid to dive into the medical field despite the warnings of veteran physicians. They are comfortable with technology and expect that there will be more than a few challenges ahead.

Are You A Physician Looking For Your Next Career Move?

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