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7 tips for preventing staff burnout in healthcare

Healthcare organizations are being more proactive in the prevention of burnout among their staff. After all, it's within a provider's best interest to keep expenses down and focusing on the well-being of their employees can help with costs.

"If employees leave a company, there's a cost to advertise and recruit. Providers lose out every single day there's an empty position," said Tricia Pattee, product director with HEALTHeCAREERS, an online resource for both recruitment and job searches within the healthcare industry.

Healthcare Finance News talked to Pattee to learn how employers can help their staff with burnout.

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Getting employees back on track involves additional training, help motivating and encouraging them, reward programs and and incentive plans, she said. "Is there a cost associated with these outside endeavors to boost morale? Yes. But they're worth it when people's passion for the company they work for is rejuvenated and reinvigorated. Being happy and engaged at work boosts productivity," Pattee said.

According to Pattee, there are seven different ways in which employers can help their staff succeed, feel a personal investment within the organization and stay healthy.

1. Take an active role

It's important for both management and human resources to take an active roll in an employee's life to ensure that burnout doesn't occur and significant turnover doesn't happen. They should know an employee's concerns as opposed to letting them develop, fester and potentially blow-up when an employee leaves.

2. Social engagement
Organizations should encourage their employees to work with multiple departments if possible, and offer/coordinate group programs that allow interaction with people outside of their team. Peer programs, mentoring and company outings support morale and mental wellness. "Creating luncheons where employees from various departments can collaborate on or develop different ideas and feedback is a great example," said Pattee. 

3. Take breaks
Employers need to encourage breaks so that their staff doesn't overwork themselves to the point of burnout. Breaks force employees to walk away from stress.

4. Encourage healthy habits
Health-focused programs like recipes in newsletters (which employees can contribute to), sponsoring workout classes, etc., encourages the important balance of physical and personal well-being.

5. Continued learning program
Companies should promote/encourage ongoing learning and different educational situations. This allows employees to feel confident and in control of their careers. Personal development is another often overlooked arena of health and wellness.

6. Vacation time
Make sure people are taking their vacation time. It's necessary because it promotes a healthy work-life balance. They need to feel valuable to the company at which they work, and rewards like this are good thing.

7. Small budget gatherings
It isn't necessary to always put on big productions for your employees. Small gatherings, like potlucks, are just as effective. It's a couple hours of their day they get to relax and be social. It doesn't cost the company anything, except time, which balances out in the end if it increases the employee's longevity.