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3 Creative Ways to Reduce Healthcare Employee Burnout

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Erin Cushing
on August 08, 2016

While many industries grapple with the problem of employee burnout, the problem of overtaxing employees physically and mentally is especially prevalent in the healthcare industry. The high-stress nature of the work and its implications for patient, along with increased patient numbers and a growing shortage of skilled healthcare workers, all contribute to employee fatigue and eventual burnout. In fact, according to a HealthLeaders Media survey, 69% of the healthcare professional surveyed felt that on-the-job fatigue has caused them to be concerned about their performance during work hours.

To protect both the staff and patients under their care, healthcare organizations need to explore ways to help employees reduce stress and recharge. Fortunately, several organizations have begun exploring some creative, cost-effective options that provide employees with the decompression they need to deliver outstanding patient care. Here are a few of our favorites:

Build a Next-Level Break Room

The phrase “break room” might conjur images of a low-cost sofa and coffee pot, but several organizations are elevating their game to provide a designated space for employees to relax and recharge. Meditation rooms and massage chairs help employees address their physical and mental states, while tvs and computers allow them to either turn off their brains to recharge or to connect with friends and family during their downtime. Some organizations are taking it even further; for example, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) has amended their break room to not only include meditation spaces and massage chairs, but also offers fitness and nutrition classes to staff. Both of these elements are important factors in reducing stress and increasing overall wellness.

Want to build a next-level break room? Make sure you provide opportunities for employees to address their physical and mental fatigues. Consider providing tools to connect employees, such as TVs or computers, and offer opportunities to educate your staff on how they can make lifestyle choices that will help them reduce stress on their own.    

Offer Cross-Functional Classes

While healthcare staff require a good deal of training and learning opportunities to excel in their work, organizations can also offer learning opportunities that specifically allow staff to destress. Classes that foster creativity, such as painting, pottery, and creative writing, give employees the opportunity to re-energize and engage their brains cross functionally. In fact, participating in art-related activities offers the same sort of restorative benefits as meditation. Some healthcare organizations are offering arts & humanities courses to extend the benefits to their employees.

Want to give your employees a creative outlet? Look for opportunities to partner with academic institutions. For a more cost-effective solution, see if there are employees or other volunteer organizations that can come in and set up creative classes or unmonitored time for employees to explore their creativity – and shed their stress while they’re at it.

Create Creative Group Activities

Take the idea of creative classes to the next level, and introduce an activity that not only fosters individual employee creativity, but also improves teambuilding skills as well. For example, an organization called Project Knitwell works with organizations to bring staff members who work in stressful environments the therapeutic benefits of knitting. Learning a new skill such as knitting in a group setting helps foster teamwork and development among team members, bringing an additional benefit besides stress relief – one that is critically important in healthcare organizations. Better teamwork translates to better patient care – and better outcomes for the entire organization.  

Looking to replicate this program? Look in your area for organizations such as Project Knitwell that teach group classes, and focus on skills that foster individual creativity and team-building opportunities as well.

Taking care of your healthcare employees is just as important as providing superior care to your patients. Investing in a superior talent management strategy and software system will help you drive organizational success by empowering employees throughout the entire employee lifecycle, resulting more engaged employees, more satisfied patients, and better financial impacts on the organization. Learn more about why PeopleFluent is the partner of choice for healthcare organizations looking to support both staff and patients to the best of their abilities. 

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