Healthcare providers have always been the backbone of our society, and even more so in the past few years. In a time where many people have been staying closer to home, keeping themselves and their families safe, you, as healthcare providers, have been on the front lines delivering the best of care, sometimes in scenarios that are less than ideal. It can be challenging to pause and take care of yourself, but it’s important to prioritize your wellbeing.
Healthcare providers are facing challenges that don’t just test the individual, but our healthcare system as a whole. Many healthcare providers are burnt out. Countless hours of work, not enough breaks, and difficult situations have tested their endurance both mentally and physically. Many counselors and social workers have had to transition to virtual environments, creating physical barriers to relationships and situations that are already emotionally delicate. Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and speech and language specialists have had to struggle with the effects of mandated shutdowns. This has challenged the financial prospects of their practice and left them having to restart with patients after long periods of time which may have impacted progress. And pharmacists, who have been invaluable when it comes to providing COVID-19 testing and administering vaccinations, have had to do so while dealing with recommendations, guidance and information that is in constant flux. In short, healthcare providers may be struggling, and might be so focused on caring for everyone else, that their own needs are getting overlooked.
Thank you is not enough.
As a society we owe you, healthcare providers, an enormous debt of gratitude for the work that you do for your patients and communities. Despite the stress and sacrifice, you keep showing up. You’re in our schools, our hospitals, our homes, and our communities. You’re so busy putting up a strong front and taking care of us that many of us may neglect to realize the personal cost of this dedication. So, before we go any further, we’d like to say thank you. Thank you for putting your own needs on hold so that you can care for ours, and for being there as care givers and trusted advisors.
Don’t brush off burnout.
As a healthcare provider you may be inclined to brush off burnout, stress, and lack of self-care as “it’s just part of my job.” But the truth is, while it may be your current situation it doesn’t have to be your permanent reality. You deserve to feel good, well-rested, and valued by your patients. Providers are not super-human, and yet you are being asked to perform in situations that often call for more than is humanly possible. Self-care is important. You and your mental health are paramount. Furthermore, as an insurance provider, we know from experience that when healthcare providers function from a place of exhaustion, high stress, anxiety, or burnout, it has the potential to leave you open to risk. If you were to make a mistake in the course of patient care, or neglect to ‘dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s,’ it could have devastating effects, and could lead to a lawsuit or licensing board complaint. It is for all of these reasons that you need to put yourself first and do all you can keep burnout at bay
Risk management begins with resources.
So, how can you keep yourself well during challenging times? The first step is knowing that you need help. Often times when we’re in survival mode it can be hard to see past the next task. Take a moment to check in with yourself and assess how you’re feeling. Are you struggling? Extremely stressed? Burnt-out? Perhaps even all of the above. Once you recognize what you’re dealing with, you can begin treating the problem. Not sure where to start?
HPSO’s concern for healthcare professionals extends far beyond providing liability insurance solutions. We want to help you function at your best to better protect you and your future. At the end of the day, risk management begins with resources. We hope these can serve as a helping hand so that you’re no longer just getting by, you’re getting better.
1) Check in with your employer or healthcare facility
Many healthcare employers have begun to recognize that self-care is a quintessential part of your job as a healthcare provider. If you find yourself struggling and not knowing where to turn, it may be worthwhile to reach out to your manager or HR department about what sort of resources might exist within the workplace.
2) Connect with your colleagues
Creating a positive culture at work can go a long way, whether it’s realizing you’re not alone, forging deeper connections, or simply feeling a true sense of appreciation. Building connections as a group transforms your support team into a support network.
3) Learn more about how you can cope with stress and compassion fatigue
By clicking on the links found in this article, you can learn how to identify the signs and symptoms as well as techniques you can use to address them.
Self-care isn’t selfish.
People ask a lot of you and your colleagues as healthcare providers. So much so that you may feel that people expect the world of you. But you owe it to yourself to take whatever time you need to ensure you’re ok and able to offer the best of care.
If you find yourself looking for more resources, check out these guides from the following organizations: