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Healthcare workers struggle with burnout, new study shows

Published: Aug. 22, 2021 at 12:24 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE/CNN) - As the Delta variant continues to fill hospitals, a new survey shows more than half of healthcare workers are experiencing burnout.

It’s a growing problem many hospital administrators are trying to address as more clinicians leave their jobs.

For many people, especially health care workers, the stresses of the last year don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

According to a report by the National Academy of Medicine, even before COVID-19, more than 50 percent of clinicians treating patients reported that they had experienced burnout. A lot that stress comes from the unknown of what the future holds.

As hospital capacity is ticking upwards with more Delta variant cases, mainly within people who are unvaccinated, many in the medical field are feeling stuck in a cycle.

“I think there is some level of frustration probably of you know, well, this could have been prevented, and I think that is something a lot of folks are dealing with now,” Dr. Commila Sasson with the Kaiser Permanente said.

Social worker Zack Bodenweber said there are three main symptoms of burnout: feelings of energy depletion and exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job and reduced professional efficacy.

“We’ve seen more workplace stress and we’ve seen the inability to manage it at the same time,” Bodenweber said. “The worst thing that happens is when people leave their job physically, but not mentally, and now they are at home, replaying scenarios of what happened.”

What can help with burnout is stress management. But most important is creating an environment where people can share how they feel.

“I want people to know that burnout is not a personal weakness and that is a really, really unfortunate stigma,” Bodenweber said.

With no signs of fewer patients coming into the hospital, it’s these suggestions that could keep this workforce healthy and able to do their jobs. This applies to everyone who is feeling burnout.

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