1 key step to avoid employee burnout in skilled nursing

October 23rd 2019, Our News

Working in skilled nursing can be so rewarding and oh-so-challenging all at the same time. Every job in the field requires so much teamwork for a workforce tasked with caring for residents’ urgent and frequent needs. Add to that a whole array of personalities from co-workers to residents, and a day can go from frustrating to rewarding and back again in a matter of minutes.

There are so many strategies to help you deal with the work stress in order to avoid job burnout. One obvious solution is to be sure you’re using your vacation days, although surprisingly few actually use up their paid vacation days. Among employees Americans, 13% planned to take a quarter of their vacation days or fewer in 2019, according to recent poll of nearly 2,600 U.S. adults conducted by Bankrate. The poll also states that 4% of Americans didn’t plan to take any vacation time at all, even though their employers offer it.

Perhaps one of the main reasons Americans don’t use up their vacation days is because of the stress that comes before and after time off the job. There’s a rush to get everything done before leaving and then the worry of how the work will get done without us.

It’s better just to keep working, right? Wrong.

There’s a better way to avoid burnout on the job, and setting up a supportive team is key.

How to prevent burnout

Regional Nurse Consultant Ashley Bauer offers powerful advice to create a better work environment and prevent burnout. She says:

When I started my career years ago, I frequently heard that the best way to deal with stress is to take time off. However, I tried that and never found that it worked. I’d take time off and NEVER feel better when I got back. I’d actually feel worse because I’d walk into a storm of things that needed to be done.

FINALLY (about 2.5 years ago), I realized that I couldn’t keep working just to survive until my next vacation. I had to figure out something different. I turned the whole idea of vacation days on its head when I started looking at what I could do to feel like going to work was a vacation. I started by setting up team outings and truly building up my team nd teaching them how to trust each other. Once we had trust and relationships built up, we started supporting each other more.

Illuminate HC DONs spent a well-deserved evening off at Top Golf. Enjoying time together as a group is ESSENTIAL to building a cohesive leadership team.Then, much to my surprise one day a business office manager asked if she could train and assist with scheduling. I obviously said YES! The BOM ended up standardizing many procedures in scheduling and created tools that solved a lot of scheduling issues. Once everyone saw that success and recognition she got, other departments started cross training or shadowing each other. This was AWESOME!

It came to a point where everyone in the building could do another department leader’s job. Now, when someone actually takes a vacation, every aspect of their job is covered by a few different people. It’s more of a shared leadership style, and it works! We all enjoy each other’s company and our jobs so much more.

The key takeaway is so basic but not always so obvious: if you build a solid team, by getting to know everyone and facilitating team bonding, you will have MUCH less stress and burnout.

Check out more tips to avoid burnout in skilled nursing from Rachel Gilbert, director of nursing at SKLD Ionia.