May marks National Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States—a time to recognize and support the millions of Americans with mental illness. Consistent with last year’s White House proclamation, this is a time for citizens, government agencies, organizations, healthcare providers, and research institutions to raise mental health awareness and to continue to help Americans live longer, healthier lives.
This year’s observance is especially crucial for the healthcare industry, which is experiencing a historic burnout crisis catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, Stericycle’s Healthcare Workplace Safety Trend Report found that more than 70 percent of the healthcare providers surveyed say they are exhausted and burned out from the pandemic, with more than 85 percent reporting that it has worsened their day-to-day levels of stress. As a result, the healthcare industry is facing a “Great Resignation,” as about one in five healthcare providers have left the profession since the pandemic started.
To help prevent an even greater healthcare staffing crisis and to protect the health and safety of communities they serve, healthcare organizations should take action to prevent further employee burnout.
What Is Employee Burnout?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines burnout as a condition resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. According to the WHO, there are three main signs of employee burnout:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job
- Reduced professional efficacy
What Causes Employee Burnout in the Healthcare Industry?
Multiple factors may have contributed to the surge in healthcare worker burnout during the COVID-19 pandemic, including higher patient caseloads, staffing shortages, and consistent, increased potential exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.
Medical waste management, while often overlooked, can also impact healthcare workers’ feelings of safety and well-being. Stericycle’s Healthcare Workplace Safety Report found that a majority of the healthcare providers surveyed believe improperly managed medical waste can negatively impact their emotional well-being and contribute to burnout.
How to Help Prevent Employee Burnout
Healthcare worker burnout is a complex issue with no easy solution. However, to help mitigate the risks of staff turnover, healthcare leaders should prioritize the health and well-being of their employees by creating safer and more efficient healthcare workplaces. Partnering with an experienced medical waste provider is a good first step.
Stericycle’s Solutions Can Help Decrease Burden on Healthcare Providers
Stericycle is dedicated to helping protect the health and safety of healthcare providers, patients, and communities. Our regulated medical waste solutions are designed to help reduce the burden on healthcare workers, so they can focus on what truly matters: caring for patients. Contact us today to learn more about how Stericycle’s solutions can help healthcare organizations improve their environment of care.