5 reasons how a hospital’s work environment can contribute to burnout

Susanna Kahr

You got into the healthcare industry because you want to make a difference in people’s lives. However, the environment where you work and the company culture you experience can contribute to mental health issues as well as burnout of employees. Organizational factors and in-team issues contribute to the type of corporate culture in healthcare, so it’s in your best interest to identify potential sources of burnout.

It’s not always immediately apparent that a hospital’s culture is causing problems for employees. Here are five ways that company culture in hospitals contributes to burnout, for you to keep in mind as you grow and develop in your healthcare career.

1. Lack of support from fellow employees

It’s no secret that doctors and nurses are highly subject to burnout because of the stressful nature of their jobs. The rosy view you may have had of healthcare work while still in university fades away as you run into people on the job who lack communication skills or who demonstrate poor leadership ability. The potential for burnout increases when coworkers are inexperienced in sharing bad feelings about the job experience. In contrast, an atmosphere that promotes open communication makes it easier for workers to support one another.

2. Failure to demonstrate respect

If you see signs of favoritism in the workplace at your healthcare job, it’s a clear sign of disrespect since some employees will have an obvious advantage, leading to other employees feeling disgruntled over being left out. The existence of bullying is another marker that the company culture is problematic. You might feel highly engaged doing your work, which is great by itself, but still suffer because you can tell that you and fellow workers are not being respected.

3. Rewards are few and far between

Income level is of course a deciding factor when accepting a job, but money isn’t the only reward that healthcare workers typically need to do well in their position. You can keep devoting yourself to patients and helping fellow workers, but if no one on staff seems to notice all the hard work you’re doing, the possibility of burnout increases. Recognition for good work is essential for maintaining a truly positive company culture, after all. And if it seems like you are never going to get the raise you need despite all of the effort you put into work, it’s even more dispiriting, further increasing the chances of you burning out.

4. Unrealistic workload

You’re not a machine and the work you do every day taking care of the public must remain at a manageable level. Otherwise, you will keep pushing yourself harder than is reasonable, which easily leads to burnout. When your hospitaltries to get you to do more work in less time than when you first began employment, it is a sign that management could be focused more on near-term profits than the long-term wellness and viability of its valued employees.

If you have new, high productivity goals to reach that prevent you from properly doing necessary tasks such as comprehensive documentation, timely chart reviews and just taking time to speak with patients and their loved ones, it’s another pathway to burnout that you’ll need to be aware of.

5. Less autonomy than expected

How much control do you feel that you have over your career after working at your hospital for some time now? From having a say in what kind of schedule you need to keep, to the specific work duties being assigned to you, a lack of autonomy can lead to a creeping sense of burnout. The HR representative may have indicated a certain level of freedom on the job during your recruitment and onboardingprocess, but now you feel like you have less options. It’s a good idea to discuss this topic with your superior to check if you are really on the same page as far as autonomy and growing in your career.

Recognizing the ways that company culture can have a negative impact on employees is your first line of defense against becoming burntout yourself. Work with your organization when possible to improve the culture, or prepare yourself to change jobs if the situation doesn’t seem likely to get better any time soon.

And when it comes time to look for a new place of employment, learning about the company culture before coming in for an interview will give you an advantage, helping in the decision making process if you should get a job offer.

 

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