The holiday season brings a fluctuation between joy and stress, creating an emotional rollercoaster that can be draining. This is particularly challenging when trying to prevent healthcare provider burnout and exhaustion within the frontline worker support staff. The risk of burnout, marked by emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and moral distress, is heightened. Burnout among your healthcare providers can adversely affect various aspects of your medical practice, impacting patient care and staff retention.
Medical practices rely on the dedication of hardworking professionals, including physicians, nurses, and administrators. During this holiday season, it's crucial to extend the same care to your staff that they provide to their patients. The festive season provides an ideal opportunity to express appreciation and help prevent healthcare provider burnout.
Acknowledge the Efforts of Your Medical Staff
Unrecognized hard work can significantly impact morale, especially during holidays when healthcare professionals sacrifice time with their families. Considering the prolonged challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the heightened spread of viruses as family and friends gather together, it's essential to acknowledge you staff’s increased workload and stress. Recognition can take various forms, such as sincere appreciation, time off, rewards, or a festive staff celebration. Studies indicate that employees expecting recognition are 2.7 times more likely to be engaged, emphasizing the importance of expressing gratitude in preventing healthcare provider burnout during the holidays.
Offer Flexible Scheduling and Paid Time Off (PTO)
Creating flexibility in schedules is a powerful strategy to combat healthcare worker burnout, particularly in settings where emergencies do not adhere to holiday schedules. While limiting work hours may not be universally effective or feasible, offering PTO during the holiday season allows staff to spend quality time with family and relax.
Utilize Medical Scribes for Documentation
To alleviate burnout, distributing workload efficiently among doctors and support staff is crucial. Employing medical scribes to handle documentation during appointments has shown positive effects, reducing self-reported burnout from 43% to 14% over four months.
Evaluate EHR and Practice Management Software
Spending excessive time on Electronic Health Records (EHRs) contributes to physician burnout. Assessing your EHR system's efficiency is essential. Identify lacking features, assess redundant data entry workflows, and consider upgrading to user-friendly, cloud-based EHR software. Look for features like online appointment scheduling, reminders, patient portals, and integrated billing and medical payment software to streamline processes.
The holiday season adds stressors that can escalate healthcare provider burnout if unaddressed. Prioritize the well-being of your staff to transform this season into one to be enjoyed rather than endured.