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Female in Healthcare? 5 Ways to Stop Burnout

female in healthcare

 

Change must happen for females in healthcare. The wellbeing of the healthcare industry — and its patients — depend on it.

Females in healthcare have struggled with burn out long before the pandemic. Now, COVID is clearly exacerbating the problem.

“Mounting evidence finds that women working in health care are experiencing disproportionately more feelings of burnout during the pandemic, as they're more likely to carry primary responsibility of family care such as meal preparation, shopping, and family activities — on top of caring for their patients,” writes Good Morning America.

For example, a recent survey among physicians “showed that 24.6% of physicians who were mothers were responsible for childcare or schooling and 31.4% were responsible for household tasks compared with 0.8% and 7.2%, respectively, of physicians who were fathers.”

As a society, we should be deeply concerned about females in healthcare burning out for two reasons.

First, females in healthcare are not just our healthcare providers, but also our mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, and friends. Enough said.

Second, females in healthcare are critical in combating the national public health problem of healthcare shortages during a time when we need more healthcare professionals than ever.

We encourage females in healthcare to read the below five ways to prevent burnout. Are you a team supervisor? Share these with your team members now.

5 Ways to Prevent Burnout Among Females in Healthcare

1. Stop Trying to Do It All

In an article about how women in health care suffer burnout disproportionately to men, Dr. Janet Taylor, a board-certified psychiatrist in Sarasota, Florida, explains that "so often as women, and in particular, professional women, we feel like we have to be superwomen and don't ask for the help that we need."

The burnout rates show this tactic isn’t working. And here’s the thing, even the inspiration for the feminist icon Wonder Woman — idealized by so many as a symbol of all that women can do — was not one, but in fact two women.

The point is: Stop trying to do it all.

If the brunt of household tasks falls on you (for whatever reason) what can be done to alleviate this stress?

Some possible solutions:

  • Give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all
  • Recognize the reality that there are only 24 hours in a day — and women need to be sleeping for 8.5 of them
  • If you have a partner open to the discussion, reassess how to divide the household chores more equitably
  • Hire out help wherever your budget allows: Childcare services, tutors, grocery delivery, meal prep plans, delivery dry cleaning, dog walkers, household cleaning, etc.

2. Make Time for Your Health

An article on ways healthcare workers can maintain a healthy work-life balance notes that “while taking care of other people, often both at work and home, some studies point out that hospital workers are generally less healthy than workers in other industries.”

By taking our above point to heart and stop trying to do it all, you’ll be better able to make time for your health. The things you tell your patient like the importance of exercise, healthy eating, rest, and mental health check-ins apply to you as well. You deserve to feel your best as you care for the health of others.

3. Improve Your Self-Awareness

Positive Psychology tells us that “self-awareness is the ability to see yourself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection.” Improving your self-awareness will help you understand your personal stressors. You’ll be better able to recognize what areas of your personal and professional life especially need your attention if you want to prevent burnout.

Five helpful activities for cultivating self-awareness include

  1. Journaling
  2. Mindfulness
  3. True Colors Online Personality Assessment
  4. True Colors Personal Success Workshop
  5. Feedback

Start by trying one of the above and then slowly add others in. Don’t make this stressful by trying to do them all right away.

4. Share With Colleagues What’s Going On

“Fixing burnout among female health care workers won't be easy,” reports ABC News. “The first step is talking about it openly so women feel less shamed and more encouraged to seek help.”

Your struggles and your feelings are shared by others, so please don’t try to carry the burden alone. If you are brave enough to share your struggles with your colleagues, that act will be cathartic in and of itself. Additionally, your bravery will hopefully encourage others to share and seek help as well.

5. Remember Why You Work in Healthcare

Lastly, remember why you started working in healthcare. The field of healthcare requires intelligent and passionate people with a heart for the work they do. Not everyone is drawn to this field — but you were.

Why?

To save lives? To improve quality of life? To help a certain demographic of people? To learn more about a specific part of the body because your curiosity on the topic is never satisfied?

Remembering your “why” can bring great encouragement in these times of high stress. Here’s a list of 10 Reasons to Pursue a Health Career that can be helpful in jogging your memory.

Females in Healthcare Need Support

Healthcare workers are quitting in droves with about 1 in 5 leaving their job since the pandemic started — and women are leading the exodus. Steps must be taken to prevent burnout and turn it all around. Some changes are in the hands of the females themselves, while other changes need to be made by administration and the healthcare system at large.

But change must happen. The wellbeing of females in healthcare — and their patients — depends on it.

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