It’s no secret that healthcare workers have some of the most necessary, but difficult, jobs. Especially with the world going through a pandemic the last two years. We are very lucky to have travel nurses, therapists, and allied professionals who work every day to make sure we live in a happier and healthier place. Nevertheless, healthcare worker jobs are physically demanding, mentally taxing, and take their toll. It’s very common for healthcare workers to experience high rates of burnout. Here are some of our tips on how to deal with burnout or avoid it completely.
What is burnout?
Burnout is any type of physical, mental, or emotional exhaustion that adversely affects motivation, performance, or attitude.
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, “burnout is caused by performing at a high level until stress and tension, especially prolonged physical or mental exertion or an overburdening workload, begin to take their toll.”
Signs and symptoms of burnout
While burnout is different for everyone, some of the common signs that indicate you are experiencing it include:
- Feelings of indifference
- Negative and cynical outlook on life and work
- Loss of motivation for all tasks
It’s important to remember that no one is immune to burnout. Burnout is also nothing to be ashamed of. Even while on your travel assignment, you can help beat burnout with awareness, self-care, and reflection.
Tips for avoiding burnout as a healthcare worker
1. Utilize your support system
Being away from all your friends and family for weeks at a time can put a strain on your mental health. It can be hard to be away from loved ones! This is why it is so important to stay in touch with them and to make new friends in your new city. Make sure you have people at work you can be yourself with and try to call home at least once a week. These people can help you get the break you need.
2. Talk to your recruiter
Recruiters are not just there to help you get a job; they are there for you throughout your whole assignment! You never know if they have experienced the same problems with some of their other travelers. They can also put you in contact with any other travelers in the area to form a connection. You can talk to them even if you just need someone to vent to.
3. Prioritize self-care
Remember to put as much effort into self-care as you do patient care. It can be easy to throw everything into work, but you need to take care of yourself. This means eating healthy, nutritious food, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep. This is the bare bones of self-care, and without the basics, you run the risk of burning out sooner rather than later.
4. Practice saying “No.”
Get comfortable using the word no as a full sentence. You shouldn’t say no to any scheduled shifts but don’t be afraid to turn down any extra activities you don’t want to do. While there is a lot of pressure to do a lot of activities while traveling, be aware of when it becomes too much. Be mindful of when you need to recharge and say no when needed.
5. Focus on hobbies
Finding things that make you happy is more important than ever when off on an assignment. Lean into your hobbies and the things that don’t feel like work. This will give you an out from the stress of work that doesn’t rely on other people. Even if your hobby is something simple like cooking or reading, doing more of those things can help you avoid burnout.
Here at Ventura MedStaff, we offer support to all of our healthcare worker travelers throughout their journey. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your recruiter if you’re experiencing burnout. We are here to help you in any way we can!