The COVID-19 pandemic took hospitals and healthcare systems for an unexpected turn - pushing both the facilities and the staff - financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally.
During recent years, the mental health needs of healthcare professionals have been gaining attention as a major public health concern and threat to quality care delivery.
Some hospitals and healthcare systems are doing their best to support staff mental health by encouraging self-care, providing access to resources and programs, and working to address staffing shortages, by partnering with companies like DirectShifts. However, many are still unable to do so as well, due to lack of resources and staff.
It is therefore, responsibility of both employees and healthcare facilities to recognize the root cause of the problem and decide various solutions!
The effect of working in a high-stress, already burnt out, and consistently understaffed environment, is visible on the mental health of clinicians who work so hard, taking best care of their patients.
A lot of factors contribute to elevated stress among healthcare workers, including
The resulting psychological distress can lead to burnout, depression, anxiety disorders, sleeping disorders, and other illnesses .
Work related stress can have a negative impact on health care providers' profession, quality of care delivery, efficiency, and work life balance. When healthcare workers quit, they take along with themselves many years of invaluable training and experience.
We need to consider how public health emergencies, such as pandemics, can exacerbate these concerns and pose additional challenges to reaching and supporting health workers. Further, we must consider promising approaches for protecting and promoting the mental health of health workers through self-care and other evidence-based interventions.
Here are a few actionable items to consider:
Identifying when healthcare employees are conveying signs and symptoms of burnout is one of the best ways healthcare administrators can take initiative about their employees’ mental health.
Employees who are continuously disconnected, regularly expressing a cynical or pessimistic outlook, and even skipping work or arriving late could all be experiencing burnout.
Practicing self-care by healthcare staff is easier said than done, in a profession that values endless resistance. It requires clinicians to equip themselves with the same grace, compassion, passion and attention towards their patients and community as a whole.
Healthcare facilities and administrators can promote self-care by exhibiting appropriate work-life balance and actively encouraging healthcare employees to use their PTO and take breaks during the workday.
A recent Money and Mental Health report says that 42% of US adults said money worries have a negative impact on their mental health.
Fear of losing a job, not being able to pay the bills due to a prolonged illness, or simply not having emergency savings can all trigger anxiety and lead to depression.
The healthcare administrators should consider professionals with top-notch experience in their fields so that they feel secure in their job both physically and emotionally.
Organizing sessions that educate and update healthcare employees about mental health can help reduce the stigma that surrounds it.
As part of these events, healthcare administrators can consider providing:
Clinicians are demanding a more flexible work schedule, for a healthier work life balance. Hospitals and other Healthcare facilities should enable this structure by allowing the core staff to work the hours they prefer. You can try out DirectShifts Recruitment Solutions, to fill in gaps that fit clinicians’ schedules.
Our platform helps clinicians who are willing to work and want to work in a flexible work environment.
Directly connect with quality, verified clinicians to fill your open roles!
Employee recognition is one of the huge steps that an employer can take towards creating a mental health program for their hospital staff.
Employee recognition and engagement theories are based on the idea that your employees need more than an annual "thank you for sticking around”.
Recognizing and appreciating the healthcare staff for their efforts, whether through individual interactions or team meetings, helps ensure employees feel valued and cared for.
Before the memory of the pandemic response starts to fade, appropriate evidence-based measures and interventions must be put in place. An action should be taken to protect the mental health and well-being of the healthcare workforce, not only during public health crises, but on a day-to-day basis as well.
For clinicians/healthcare staff/any individual looking for mental health help, following resources can be used to help you find mental health treatment services, including affordable treatment for those without insurance, in your community.
Healthcare professionals should be respected and valued for the vital work they do to keep populations healthy, which means we have a duty to find ways to meet their psychological needs and improve their welfare.
Empathy, transparency, open disclosure, and effective and supportive communication will solidify the partnership and collaboration between healthcare leaders, healthcare providers and patients as well as other stakeholders. By creating a compassionate, caring and safe workplace culture that still prioritizes accountability, you can foster an environment where all individuals are able to succeed while keeping their mental health intact.