The year 2020 irrevocably changed the world in a series of unprecedented events. Largely to blame is the global pandemic that forced virtually every sector to adapt. As shortages abound in every workplace, healthcare has been among the job sectors hit the worst.
Overflowing hospital beds and long months of shortages in PPE have been a heavy burden to bear. In the aftermath of COVID-19’s appearance, many healthcare workers have left the medical field. Some quit, some retired early, and many have simply taken extended leave to recuperate from the crushing demands of an international emergency. The resurgence of COVID cases due to variants has put an additional strain on already over-worked hospital staff.
There are practical tools for rejuvenating the workforce. Healthcare workers are only human, and their energy is finite. With their absence accommodated, physician scan avoid burnout and the strain on facilities optimized. Instead of avoiding or eliminating long-term leaves, hospitals can encourage workers to take extended vacations, while filling roles with short-term staffing.
Promote a mental break
Encouraging healthcare providers to take a break from the workplace fosters a healthier work environment. Tension and stress can otherwise build to a breaking point with lasting consequences.
An opportunity to step away helps dissipate that energy, allowing healthcare administrators to more effectively utilize their team members at their best. In the heat of theCOVID-19 pandemic, an AMA survey of more than 20,000 physicians at 42 healthcare organizations across the country found that 43% reported work overload and 49% reported burnout.
The same study found that in healthcare workers that felt valued by their organizations, the odds of burnout were 40% lower. However, just 46% of the respondents said that they felt valued by their employer.
Healthcare workers can feel valued as their medical practices, and health systems show signs of managing mental health during the pandemic. Helping teams manage burnout can be as simple as encouraging healthcare workers to talk to mental health professionals regularly (and making them available to staff), checking in on staff that have worked long hours, and adjusting schedules to encourage long-term breaks.
Find rapid help
For healthcare organizations that encourage long-term breaks, locum tenens doctors and advanced practice providers can cure the common burnout. With a managed service provider, incoming doctors and nurses can be interviewed and vetted quickly, helping to eliminate previous recruitment hurdles.
Doctors and specialists can be found in primary care, women/child physicians, general surgery, anesthesiology, internal medicine, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and CRNAs. Professionals who practice in short-term staffing roles are trained to adjust to each work assignment and understand that their work helps lessen the burdens of others.
Locum tenens practitioners can be rapidly deployed to cover such an absence. Facilities may also strategically rotate members of their medical teams to develop a roster of ready, capable providers and specialists. Overall, this creates a healthier medical community that’s better equipped to deal with the demanding conditions of an ongoing outbreak.
Tertiary benefits to the use of alternate staffing procedures are plenty.
● There’s a reduction in the cost of both time and money as facilities can more effectively delegate tasks between staff.
● The occurrence of burnout is mitigated, as workers are allowed to recover from a physically and emotionally draining environment.
● Hospital morale improves by providing an outlet for relief, a light at the end of the tunnel.
● Mental health considerations are paramount to the success of a medical team.
● With time away, doctors and other medical professionals can reaffirm their love for healthcare.
Locum tenens placements offer versatility and flexibility that can benefit your medical community as a whole. They promote teamwork and allow hospitals and medical practices to achieve more together.
Fortify for the future
A Springfield, Mo.-based non-profit hospital brought in more than eight times its regular staffing using short-term contracts to help avoid COVID-generated burnout. The hospital assured its permanent staff that their jobs weren’t in jeopardy, but their long-term health could be without a break.
A 2017 survey by the American Medical Association about millennial physicians found that 92% expect to create a positive work-life balance. However, at that time, only 65% had achieved that.
It may not be prudent for your practice or staffing to encourage long-term vacations. However, adjusting schedules so that doctors and other medical professionals aren’t working extended hours can help serve the work-life conundrum.
Adding additional physicians to work underserved hours provides needed relief to doctors exhibiting stress and burnout. It also sends a message to staff that you are aware of their overloaded schedules. Even those doctors not directly treating COVID have been impacted by the stress of the pandemic. General practitioners and surgeons had patients who waited or delayed care or surgeries who are now filling schedules months out.
Patients can also benefit from the variations in staffing as physicians can help a healthcare team expand scheduling in private practices or fill the surgery placements that continue to be scheduled.
Creating a stable of physicians ready to rotate into the workforce ensures no step is missed, and facilities may continue to practice without falter. Having fresh healthcare workers also reduces the likelihood of mistakes that exhaustion might have otherwise permitted. Teaming up with a staffing provider ensures quality, accessible personnel is always at hand.