Limited Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), concern for exposure, distractions at home, uncertainty about the future – The current COVID-19 crisis has brought a host of challenges that contribute to healthcare workers feeling overwhelmed and burned out.
Eloquest Healthcare has interviewed Terri and Rob Bogue, the authors of “Extinguishing Burnout,” about the signs of burnout and solutions to help nurses and first responders cope and adapt to the difficult circumstances presented by the pandemic.
We hope you enjoy this exclusive interview!
Q: What are the common signs and symptoms of burnout?
The most common sign is a sense that there is no hope. It feels like you want to give in and give up. Officially, it’s measured by three things: exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. The challenge with these criteria is that exhaustion also happens when you’re in love with the work you’re doing and you’re making a real difference – when you’re as far away from burnout as you could possibly get. Cynicism is a result, not a cause. Cynicism happens when you feel like you’re not able to change the situation, so you complain about it. Inefficacy is at the root of burnout, as it leads to cynicism and can cause exhaustion. It’s also the opposite of hope. Hope is the belief that you – or some benevolent force beyond your control – will make things better. That makes your struggle meaningful and effective.
Q: What are your recommendations to avoid burnout during these very challenging times?
The biggest problem we all have is our unrealistic expectations. If we can ground our expectations in reality and acceptance, we’ll go a long way to avoiding, preventing, or recovering from burnout. COVID-19 has changed our world. The productivity we had prior to the outbreak may not be sustainable now – or ever again. We need to find new expectations about what we can – and can’t – do. For most people, that’s the question to your peers and managers about whether they expect that you’re doing better. Often, we’re our own worst critic, and we expect that our managers and peers are disappointed in our performance. In reality, they’re quite happy with what we’re able to get done in these challenging times.
Q: What are some tangible steps that healthcare workers can do to recover from burnout if they already have it?
We look at ways of helping people recognize their personal agency – their ability to get things done. We encourage folks to recognize the results they’re getting instead of discounting them. We suggest that asking for support is a great way to get a quick boost of efficacy. We also stand by the need for self-care without prescribing what it must be. Finally, we find that learning how to better manage our demands is an important way to refill our personal agency. We know that you can’t always say no in the moment, but there is almost always a time when you can say no or define the conditions under which you’re able to help. We’ve all heard that we should put our own mask on first before helping others, but that’s not always easy to do when you have a caring mindset.
We hope you enjoyed Terri and Rob Bogue’s recommendations around managing burnout during these extreme times. If you’d like to learn more practical tips, sign up for The Extinguish Burnout: Prevention and Recovery online course. Act fast! The course is FREE through July 22, 2020 with coupon code COVID-19!
For everyone caring for patients during this pandemic, we here at Eloquest Healthcare thank you. We are committed to providing solutions that can help you protect patients and caregivers alike. For more information, please contact your sales consultant or Eloquest Healthcare®, Inc., call 1‐877‐433‐7626 or visit www.eloquesthealthcare.com.