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The Impact of Burnout and Stress on Emergency Medicine Staff and Strategies for Addressing It

Individuals in the medical industry work very hard, particularly emergency medicine staff. These employees push their minds and their bodies to the limits every single day. They work long hours, see challenging situations, and spend time more exhausted than you can imagine.

All too often, the lifestyle and challenges of the industry lead to burnout and excessive stress on personnel. It’s a demanding job, and most people do it because they are passionate about changing or saving lives. Even with that passion, though, it certainly can take its toll.

What is Burnout Syndrome?

Despite being passionate about their work, the constant stress and exhaustion can quickly lead to burnout. When an emergency medicine staff member is going to burn out can vary, but it is bound to happen. Burnout syndrome is a very real thing, and there are some common signs:

  • Cynical attitude
  • Decreasing effectiveness
  • Chronic exhaustion

When the continued stress piles up on a person in a demanding field, this pushes high stress and emotional distress on them day after day, shift after shift, etc. There is a lot of pressure. It wears on them in the field, and many people take that home as well.

With burnout syndrome, you typically notice signs impacting physical and mental health. It can affect relationships of all kinds. It’s a huge concern in the industry, as it will impact their well-being and may put others at risk as well.

What Causes Burnout?

As individuals, we all have varying needs when it comes to mental health and coping with stress. When you face high stress and demanding environments every day, it’s going to start to take a toll. Who burns out and when may depend on the individual. There are a combination of things that often lead to burnout. Here are a few:

  • Working long hours
  • Responding to intense situations
  • Traumatic exposure
  • Emotional strain
  • Understaffed
  • Limited resources
  • No situational control

Strategies to Address Burnout and Stress Levels

We know that burnout can lead to a variety of side effects within the ranks and in a person’s home life, too. It affects every part of their lives. But what is the solution? There is a clear problem, but how do we handle it and help provide the necessary support for those facing burnout?

There are several things you can do. Every workplace is different, but you can implement similar strategies to support your team as much as possible. These are some of the top recommended strategies in the medical field:

  • Staff according to needs
  • Provide necessary resources
  • Create a team that is supportive
  • Require debriefing and counseling
  • Give your team a work-life balance
  • Encourage self-care
  • Show a clear commitment to the work and the industry
  • Monitor the team and the individuals and act as needed

A Call for Change

Burnout syndrome and high stress are nothing new among emergency medicine staff. There is little that can be done to reduce stress, but there are many steps an employer can take to provide support for their staff. It’s time to be proactive about providing for employees who are putting their lives on the line and handling the most challenging situations imaginable. Take steps toward providing for staff and ensuring their needs are met in a high-stress field.

Want a career where you can make a difference and are passionate about? As part of the SouthlandMD team, we strive to create a low-stress environment and give you the resources and continued training to deliver high-quality patient care. We focus on administrative tasks so you can focus on patient satisfaction. We are committed to our providers (and staff) and offer flexible scheduling, continuing education, and training opportunities to provide a work-life balance and keep your skills up-to-date and on-trend.