Focus On These 4 Areas To Make The Biggest Impact In Healthcare
Now more than ever, workers in the healthcare industry are experiencing major burnout. With the ever-increasing demands they face, it’s no wonder! Healthcare professionals are expected to always be “on,” often sacrificing quality personal time needed to rest and recharge after a long day of being “on call,” making it nearly impossible to unwind after a stressful day of work.
Healthcare professionals are often intrinsically unselfish, focusing on the needs of others and their well-beings before their own. And while they focus on helping others, their own health and well-being can suffer. Physicians in particular often have pressure put on them to act like a superhuman, to be all-knowing and stoic in all situations that are constantly being thrown at them. Patients and hospitals put an unbelievable amount of pressure on physicians, who are already trying their best to provide accurate diagnoses and run the right tests while following the ever increasing demands of the healthcare system.
What many hospitals and health care organizations have trouble with is providing practitioners with the necessary coping skills and supportive environments that are needed to thrive. Often, they do just the opposite, contributing to stress, over-working, unreasonable standards and burnout. This is why it’s so important to make sure your work environment is supportive of your practitioners’ and entire staff’s well-being. In fact, studies show that when organizations lead with compassion and care, overall patient and employee satisfaction drastically improve.
One example is Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which was ranked 12th in the Best Workplaces in Healthcare and Biopharma in 2018. They show a tremendous focus on providing resources that meet the physical, mental and emotional well-being of their team members. They offer something called “resiliency retreats,” which encourage their staff to take time off to de-stress. Other organizations also offer health centers for team members to access yoga and pilates as well as acupuncture and meditation, again appealing to all levels of well-being. Programs like these that benefit employees on all levels help people see their position as more than just a job and assist them in feeling truly supported and cared for. Because of this, they are also better able to care for themselves.
When modeling your organization’s total employee wellness efforts, these four “guiding principles” from the American Medical Association’s “Charter on Physician Well-Being” are a great place to start! These include: Effective Patient Care Promotes and Requires Physician Well-being, Physician Well-being is Related With the Well-being of All Members of the Healthcare Team, Physician Well-being is a Quality Marker, and Physician Well-being is a Shared Responsibility.
At DCC, we’ve modeled our Healthcare Now Program around these guiding principles! By focusing on the following, we are able to not only navigate our internal organizational operations but help those in the healthcare industry do the same!
Caring For Ourselves So We Can Care For Others
Due to the demands of their profession, healthcare professionals are often stretched to the point that they feel they have nothing to give back to themselves. Subject to an unrelenting and stressful work environment, healthcare professionals are exceedingly and emotionally fatigued and frustrated. It can also be difficult for physicians and clinicians to accept help. They are trained to make life and death decisions in a single moment, to be the expert and authority, and to be responsible for a patient’s health outcomes. Despite having the pressure and dealing with these demands, their support system is lacking and, unfortunately, asking for help can be seen as a sign of not knowing, or worse, incompetence.
Resilience in the Face of Chaos
Developing and maintaining a healthy level of resilience is a foundational skill for physicians and healthcare professionals. Now more than ever, change is the only constant. Our current relationship to resilience is one of endurance. This is a misunderstanding. Endurance has been defined as pushing oneself beyond healthy limits, forsaking any sense of well-being and/or professional fulfillment in efforts to sustain an outdated paradigm. Rather, resilience is an ability to rebound, to be buoyant, to return to our original or natural form.
Communication from the Heart, Action from the Mind
Like practicing medicine, communication is an art that requires conscious, deliberate and ongoing practice. A healthcare practitioner’s ability to listen, explain and share empathy with their patients directly impacts the quality of their care. Nevertheless, patient communication is one of the most challenging areas for many clinicians.
The Collective Voice
A culture of support and trust allows for teams to flourish because they can lean on each other in their shared endeavor of taking care of people. However, this is something that is co-created and promoted through the regular recognition of their common focus. Every team member has the possibility to add value and strengthen the collective culture or to deplete and distract the health of the team. Through the practice of empowered communication, for example, teams can begin to establish a work environment that is inspired, restorative and enlarging.
Rather than expecting the world from healthcare professionals, try focusing on offering the most conducive environment possible for your team, and the results will follow. Start by following these four guidelines and ask where you can incorporate more of them into your workplace.
For more information, attend our upcoming workshop, This is Healthcare Now, and walk away with proven success methods for your organization. Hear from experts in the industry who have been where you are and know where you need to go next.
Ilana Tel-Oren is a freelance writer, content and project producer with a bath and body side-hustle that advocates self-love and self-care (www.stardustcoven.com). She writes content including web pages, blogs, and social media posts for clients in health and wellness, consulting and small business. She is also a contributing writer for music sites Buzzbands.la and mxdwn.