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How to deal with burnout: Signs and prevention

As managers and employers, it is important to provide support and guidance to staff when they need it. The nature of working in general practice can be very demanding and as a result, healthcare professionals can find themselves trapped in stressful situations.


Burnout is a state of mind which usually stems from physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. It's often associated with accumulated stress and loss of energy that can leave people feeling resentful, helpless and demotivated.

Psychologists have described burnout as an extended period of time where individuals experience emotional, physical and mental exhaustion, which can have a huge effect on performance. Recognising the signs of burnout is key to making sure we can help our people.

 

Which are the signs of burnout?

  1. Severe physical and emotional exhaustion: In the early stages of burnout, people feel tired and exhausted and tend to get frustrated more easily than they normally would

 

  1. Cynicism and negative emotions: People with burnout can feel pessimistic and unsatisfied with what they are doing

 

  1. Lack of motivation and focus: People lose their sense of motivation and begin to feel disengaged from their job

 

  1. Decline in productivity: Those experiencing burnout tend to become less effective in their workplace

 

  1. Becoming more withdrawn: A lack of interpersonal communication as well as the feeling of not being interested in having fun or socialising with colleagues, friends or even family

 

Burnout can manifest in many different ways. It’s important to understand the importance of early recognition of the symptoms and identification of the causes.

Practice managers and business leaders not only need to recognise burnout in their employees but also act proactively in order to prevent it. Planning for long-term solutions is important for prevention.

 


How can you support your staff?

Managers and team leaders need to be educated to be able to understand how to recognise and prevent the early stages of burnout. In order to do this, managers need to pay close attention to the well-being of their employees.

There are several prevention strategies that you can put in place to help lessen the threat of burnout in your practice. Set out clear, realistic expectations for your staff, ensure they have all of the tools and knowledge that they need to do their job, and encourage your team to support each other in their roles.

Determining the cause of the problem is an important step and can be achieved with employee discussion and communication. Managers can provide support to staff by reminding their employees that they valued by the team; communication is always key. Additionally, employees tend to thrive in organisations which show support to personal development initiatives.  

 

First Practice Management’s HR consultants can provide support to practices for issues related to employee wellbeing and performance, as well as managing issues including sickness, disability and stress.

Members can also email hrhelp@firstpracticemanagement.co.uk to answer any other questions you may have about tackling this sensitive issue.


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