Avoiding Burnout in Health Care Training
Sep. 15, 2016
Burnout is defined as physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. Whether it’s spending 60-plus hours a week toiling away at a job you hate, pulling a series of all-nighters to complete homework or study for a tough exam … too much stress and not enough rest can – and usually do – bring negative results.
The good news is, there are many simple practices you can put in place immediately to prevent burnout from becoming an occupational hazard.
Reading the signs
First, however, it’s important to recognize some of the early signs of burnout. Those include high levels of stress or anxiety, feeling constantly on edge and jittery. A lack of engagement, or lack of motivation can be an early sign, as can increased cynicism, distracted eating, low energy and exhaustion and, of course, lack of sleep. Other, more advanced signs include physical illness, numb feelings or addictive behavior, not taking any breaks and not getting enough exercise.
Some simple solutions to get through your health care training
What are some practical, simple and cost-free things to do to avoid burnout? Lori Liebman, MBA, Director of Student Affairs at Concorde’s Garden Grove, Calif. campus, has the following suggestions on practical, simple methods to keep burnout at bay.
- Schedule times for play just like you schedule times to study and keep to that schedule
- Take 5-10-minute breaks every 45-60 minutes; go for a walk, stretch, meditate
- Get yourself a wall calendar and cross off the days as they go by to remind yourself that there is a completion date
- Make sure you celebrate the small wins as well as the big ones. It’s OK to pat yourself on the back
- Start a journal and vent all of your frustrations on paper. Never show it to anyone!
- Crank up your favorite music and dance as if no one is watching
- Hug someone who is important to you and thank them for their support.
Avoiding burnout starts by putting some of these preventative measures in place. If you want even more accountability, you can recruit an anti-burnout partner. Tell this person what your action steps are and ask him or her to hold you accountable by checking in to make sure you’ve followed through. Getting support and setting clear action steps will help you implement these simple practices with greater ease.
Whether studying to become a certified surgical technologist or a medical office professional, learning how to manage stress and avoid burnout can be a key to successful health care training and a rewarding health care career.