Perhaps one of the few upsides to high levels of stress and a sense of responsibility that typifies working in a modern healthcare environment is that no healthcare worker can say they weren’t warned that it would be so tough. Health Jobs Nationwide, an online healthcare jobs board, says that there are very few postings that do not emphasize the commitment necessary and the hard work that is simply a part of the job.
In med school – or throughout any form of medical training – this is also a warning that is repeated endlessly. Healthcare is for the committed, and it really is testament to the human spirit that, despite this, those with the calling step up to the mark day in and day out.
However, this is not to say that things haven’t been getting tougher in recent years. The healthcare jobs market is currently a strong candidate’s market, and a talent shortage is one of the defining aspects of healthcare in the U.S. today. This means that healthcare institutions are often competing for the very best talent – and very often failing to get it. The result of this is a more stressful workplace and a healthcare system that seems to put more and more pressure on healthcare professionals of all ranks.
The only silver lining here is that, increasingly, innovative new techniques are being developed to do something about this. From maximizing talent and increasing the opportunities for healthcare workers to make their voices heard, to a range of provisions being made to help workers stave off things like burnout, exhaustion, anxiety, and the plethora of mental issues that come hand-in hand with working in healthcare.
One such innovative technique is the integration of wellness principles into the healthcare workplace. You have probably heard of wellness. Having its roots in the same Eastern spiritual traditions that gave us things like yoga and meditation, its potential for healthcare workers is undoubted. But how exactly does wellness within healthcare manifest?
One of the most important aspects of wellness, as regards healthcare, is the fact that it is a form of daily self-care. For sure, it’s good to have systems in place which healthcare workers can turn to when suffering burnout, but it is far preferable that things don’t ever get to that point. The key thing is that these practices don’t need to take up much time and can be practiced quickly before and after shifts – as well as when workers are off the job.
Wellness in the Workplace
Wellness practices are pretty diverse, but they can all be offered as part of the employee support services which any healthcare place of work should offer. An important aspect of these wellness principles in the workplace is that there are professionals on hand to recommend specific practices for healthcare workers. These professionals need to be paid of course, but it is well within the interests of any healthcare institution to offer this, as the alternative is burned-out healthcare workers who are either absent or present but giving sub-optimal care. This is not good for the healthcare institution, and it certainly isn’t good for the patients.
Any mental health professional can advise on what type of wellness practices – including things like meditation, deep relaxation, and massage – are appropriate in each individual case. Many of these are also useful in any situation, and so can be promoted as part of a workplace culture, being integrating into training days and onboarding processes.
Ultimately, integrating wellness into the workplace leads to better employees, ones which are there more often and doing a better job when they are.