How to Prevent Debilitating Overwhelm and Burnout
By Robert Rudelic BS, NMT, MES
Studies show that more than 50% of healthcare professionals are in poor mental health, borderlining on burnout which makes them more likely to make medical errors on patients. This research supports the findings of other recent studies, which have identified fatigue, overwhelm, and poor work-life balance as being major issues among health professionals. Burnout is defined as physical, mental and emotional exhaustion and can lead to dulled emotions and detachment. It weakens motivation, leaving a sense of despondency. For those experiencing burnout, the desire to engage in activities that used to be fun and exciting is lacking – the enthusiasm for life has vanished.
Burnout not only affects caregivers, but also cascades onto the patients they care for. Studies show there’s a link between healthcare professionals suffering from burnout and how it affects those receiving care.
As a caregiver, nobody has to tell you what it feels like to be overwhelmed. When your life encompasses caring for others, being responsible for potential life or death situations, assisting grieving family members, working long shifts, tending to the electronic medical records, feeling unappreciated and dealing with the lack of support by management, it’s not surprising that so many in the health care profession suffer from overwhelm – which then can lead to full-on burnout. Often caregivers working in nursing homes or assisted living facilities are exposed to violent behavior by the residents in the facility. The issues listed here are just a few of the things nurses and caregivers experience – they just happen to be the ones most talked about.
Life becomes so hectic that you don’t have time or the mental bandwidth to take care of menial tasks like walking the dog or washing your car, much less doing something fun like meeting up with friends or attending an art show or any event that may interest you. This phenomenon of burnout in the healthcare community has reached rampant levels among healthcare professionals.
It’s a mistake to assume that burnout is merely an emotional response to the challenges healthcare professionals face. There’s mounting scientific evidence showing that burnout takes a profound physical toll that cascades well beyond your professional life. Burnout is not just a state of mind, but a condition that leaves its mark on the brain as well as the body and is associated with cognitive inefficiency. Simply put, you’re not thinking straight.
Becoming a healthcare professional and caring for others can be very rewarding and fulfilling, yet caring for those in need can also lead to a state of severe overwhelm and burnout. Some refer this phenomenon as “compassion fatigue” and is a unique form of burnout that affects people in caregiving professions. This will gradually wear you down to the point where you feel depressed, anxious, you’re gaining weight, problems sleeping, moodiness, anger issues, inability to focus, trouble remembering, physical aches and pains, drinking too much, etc. These problems can become so severe that some actually leave the profession.
Ways to address these issues are being seriously looked at and discussed among facility management organizations but the problem of overwhelm and burnout is happening faster than the processes in place can address them. In fact, just recently in the San Francisco area nurses hit the picket lines to bring attention to high turnover rates in the nursing staff at Bay Area hospitals and how it’s affecting the care they give to patients. This understaffing leads to an increase in time spent at work by the nurses which in turn leads to higher rates of overwhelm and burnout.
Because of my work with healthcare professionals, from doctors, nurses, paramedics and caregivers in all areas, and the impact my work has had helping them deal with what they face in so many scenarios – not just what they personally go through but how to handle situations with their patients, I was asked by Kaiser Permanente to teach a class for their medical staff.
Along with focusing on how to deal with patients that are angry, manipulative, demanding, or in some cases just plain nasty, we also focused on prevention. To prevent debilitating burnout I taught them the art of mental resilience by using my revolutionary PowerTapping technique and how to –
- Overcome worry, stress and anxiety
- Recharge and find balance
- Remain calm to prevent overreacting when dealing with a challenging patient
- Release resistance to self-care and embrace the joys of life
- Neutralize anger and resentment
- Alleviate self-sabotage, drinking, overeating
- Restore physical and mental energy
The techniques I teach to conquer overwhelm, feel empowered and stay in control can apply to any issue or situation. An example of that is this amazing personal story I will share with you from one of the nurses that was in the training:
“When I had finished a class one of the nurses that had attended the training came up to thank me for what she’d learned and to tell me how grateful she was for now having the confidence and courage to stand up to her abusive ex-husband and put what she’d learned into action.
She told me that she and her ex were co-parenting their two children and he was always finding ways to control her and make her life miserable…… and she was afraid that if she stood up to him she’d run the risk of upsetting her kids.
She was so excited to tell me that she had practiced and rehearsed what she wanted to say until she felt empowered and ready to confront him…. and….she did!
She arranged to meet him and had that difficult conversation she was so afraid to have, and with a big smile on her face she told me – “he just sat there almost in awe listening to me talk, and to my surprise he didn’t fight back! In fact his demeanor seemed to soften.”
She continued to tell me that since that meeting he’s backed off and stopped his bullying and intimidation. And best of all the opposite of what she had feared happened with the kids. They noticed the change not only in her but in their father’s behavior as well and began to treat her with more respect.
She was overjoyed with the results and the immediate life-changing impact it had in her life.”
As the creator of Invincible Mindset Training and a Peak Performance Life Coach, I have a broad range of clients and work with people from all walks of life to help them be successful and perform at their best.
“I consider Robert my life coach and a miracle worker. He has helped me through some very tough times dealing with my mental and emotional pain when I felt I was at the end of my rope. Since learning Robert’s work I can now handle the everyday obstacles that come my way. I’m forever appreciative for learning what he has taught me and I use his techniques every day.”
-Sandy Fischer, SL Surgery Center
If You Want to Learn How to –
- Prevent debilitating overwhelm and burnout
- Own emotional composure
- Feel inspired, motivated and mentally and emotionally resilient
- Eliminate self-sabotaging behavior
- Stay grounded and restore energy