Healthcare is a demanding field. Travel nurses, pharmacists and other allied health staff often face long hours, large case loads and sometimes difficult patients. It’s important to be in tune with the moods and attitudes of your staff members so you can recognize when someone just needs a break. Helping your travel staff avoid—and address—burnout is critical to preventing treatment errors, maintaining positive energy and delivering the high-quality care your facility’s patients deserve.
Recognizing the signs of staff burnout
When a worker is overwhelmed, they may try to work through it, but certain behaviors will give them away. The following can indicate a travel staff member suffering from job burnout:
- Increased fatigue—excessive yawning, dark circles under their eyes or sluggishness
- Irritability—a cranky, short attitude with co-workers or even patients
- Complaining of frequent headaches
- A sad, gloomy mood
What you can do to help
Burnout happens, especially if a travel allied healthcare worker has been bouncing from assignment to assignment, with little or no time to themselves. To help your employee get back on their feet, try the following:
- Pull the employee aside confidentially. You don’t want to create the impression that the employee is doing a bad job, or make him or her feel incapable. Simply let the employee know that you’re concerned and want to be sure he or she is making time for important things, such as rest and relaxation, outside of work.
- Demand that employees take all breaks. Attempting to work through breaks can be a drain on energy resources during the workday. Make sure your travel staff take their entire lunch and all ten-minute breaks, and recommend they leave the premises for lunch, if possible.
- Lend an ear. Your travel employees are far from their loved ones. They may just need to shoot the breeze for a few minutes. They may also need advice for handling a difficult patient case. Whatever the reason, practice being a good listener.
- Schedule wisely. If your travel staff aren’t filling a nine-to-five position, make sure shifts are staggered to give your employees ample time to relax outside of work.
- Recommend employee outings. Having a social outlet can greatly aid in avoiding job burnout. Help your travel staff assimilate by making introductions and encouraging department activities, such as dinners or happy hour, outside work hours.
- Provide healthy snacks. Nutritious fuel can help your staff stay energized and in good spirits throughout the day. Keep the cafeteria fridge or nurse stations stocked with bottled water, fruit, granola bars or cereal bars.
Help your travel staff do their very best.
As they get settled into their temporary new home, your travel staff can benefit from your support and understanding. Keep an eye out for overworked employees and offer the above suggestions to help them achieve the work-life balance they need.
If you’re in need of travel employees, MedPro Healthcare Staffing can help. We place travel nurses, pharmacists and allied healthcare professionals with assignments across the country. Contact a MedPro Healthcare Staffing recruiter today and let us know how we can help you supplement your staff.