Stress and burnout rampant in healthcare. Seeking Assistance for them is not.
With an estimated 35-54% burnout rate amount healthcare professionals (before the pandemic), and double the national average for suffering from PTSD it leaves a sense of complete bewilderment as to why mental health support is not present (and mandatory) in absolutely every medical establishment in the United States.
Medical professionals are significantly less likely to seek assistance on their own when they need help for many reasons:
Medical licensing. A 2016 survey of female physicians reported that 50% of those surveyed believed they had met criteria for a mental illness but had not sought treatment in part due to fear of reporting it to licensing boards.
Stigma/career repercussions. Many healthcare professionals fear being perceived as weak or unfit. And although being called “heroes” is accurate, it also unwittingly attaches a label that many feel pressure to live up to.
They take care of everyone else, often resulting in their own needs being pushed to the bottom of the list. At times I see people wear this as a badge of honor, but it truly is one of the most damaging characteristics of this group. Those in leadership positions need to take charge and start emphasizing a lesson from the airline industry: put your own mask on first, THEN help the person next to you.
They are good at suppressing their emotions. As a group, healthcare providers can see some pretty disturbing things, and have to make difficult decisions regarding other people’s lives on a daily basis. They need to be cool headed, not allowing their emotions to interfere with their work.
With our healthcare system a dysfunctional mess, we need to take the imperative initial step in the right direction of implementing consistent support for the people who we depend on to make the system work. The pandemic is only magnifying the damage that has been set in motion long ago. It’s past time to make changes. What on earth are we waiting for?
If you, or someone you know is suffering from stress or burnout and would like more information about how coaching can help, contact me at Kat@thepowerofchange.net or call 331 979-1722.