Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the MHA (Mental Health American) reported increasing loneliness, anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental healthcare concerns in healthcare workers.
In fact, the entire population has faced the brunt of the negative effect the ongoing pandemic has had on mental health, let alone healthcare workers.
While coping with the uncertainties and fear of COVID-19, professionals such as frontline healthcare workers are putting themselves at risk of infection day in and day out.
These professionals are experiencing conditions comparable to a war zone, constantly witnessing the adverse after-effects of the pandemic.
However, healthcare leaders and organizations must provide resources and support to healthcare workers to cope with the mental stress the pandemic has left on their health. Such an immense level of anxiety is harmful to healthcare workers as it can affect their performance, job satisfaction, and overall wellbeing.
What’s more, this stress can be passed on to coworkers, making them take shortcuts on the job, leading to a hostile working environment. With that in mind, let us look at a few ways of identifying and reducing mental stress in healthcare workers.
1. Streamline time-consuming and stressful tasks.
A job in the healthcare field has tons of stressful aspects that must be streamlined. Doing so will allow healthcare workers to do what they entered the healthcare field to accomplish in the first place; providing care to their patients.
That said, an effortless way healthcare administrators can reduce the time frontline spend on time-consuming, stressful activities is by hiring a training agency to train healthcare workers instead of doing it in-house.
Using training and certification services offered by EMS training firms like CareerCert is an excellent idea to ensure healthcare workers have the necessary skills and qualifications they’ll need to perform better without investing in in-house training programs.
When your workers know a reputable company is helping them with certifications and training, they can assist patients and attend to emergencies.
Furthermore, you can also consider implementing automated software that allows you to share frequently requested documents the staff needs to review, ensure efficient communication with physicians, and easily organize on-call schedules.
2. Promote healthy habits at work.
A surefire method to reduce mental stress amongst healthcare workers is to practice and promote healthy habits at the workplace.
In fact, according to a study on physical relaxation techniques like yoga and mental relaxation methods like meditation, experts found that these techniques drastically reduced healthcare worker stress.
Furthermore, consider stocking the breakroom fridge with healthier snacks and fresh produce and ordering from healthier restaurants during meetings. Moreover, incentive your healthcare workers and ask them to set particular healthcare goals.
For instance, if workers reach their fitness goals faster than their coworkers, they will receive a bonus. In the end, there is no beating a solid support system offered by an employer, especially when working in the healthcare sector, where stress is a normal part of the job.
3. Create a positive workplace culture.
It is a well-known fact that most employees spend around one-third of their lives at the workplace. So, it is a no-brainer that the work environment has a massive impact on their mental wellbeing. That said, the perfect way to reduce stress amongst your healthcare workers is to create and promote a positive workplace culture.
Some ideas to accomplish this include encouraging team bonding activities and having a welcome dinner for frontline warriors who got back from helping Covid-19 affected patients.
Furthermore, healthcare leaders can also highlight the amount of good work their healthcare workers do day in and day out.
Moreover, they should also consider promoting an open door policy where healthcare workers can feel comfortable voicing their concerns. In the end, always remember that creating a positive workplace culture takes time and patience and requires a group effort.
4. Provide healthcare workers rests between shifts.
It is vital for healthcare workers, such as nurses, to rest in between shifts as much as possible. After all, these healthcare professionals are leading the fight against COVID-19 while constantly being on their feet at all times.
But, healthcare workers are not robots and need to rest more than other people. Sleep is a biological requirement, like drinking and eating. So, getting a breather will give your healthcare workers a chance to refresh their minds and bodies.
In the end, inadequate sleep leads to declining performance and neurological functions, increasing poor health patterns and making workers more prone to injuries and negligence.
So, ensure that you provide your staff plenty of time to rest in between their shift if you want them to be productive and effective at their caregiving jobs.
5. Promote physical activity at the workplace.
It is a well-known fact that exercise leads to a healthy body and an improved immune system. Furthermore, it can also reduce fatigue and sharpen your mind. Therefore, physical activity is of the utmost importance as stress does the opposite and ruins your stamina.
Participating in physical activities will allow your healthcare workers to improve their sleep, strengthen their mood, and reduce their tension levels.
So, consider offering your healthcare workers Gym memberships or developing an in-house exercise facility. Doing so will ensure that physical activity is mandatory for your healthcare staff.
6. Allow healthcare workers to stay in touch with their families.
One of the most common reasons for workplace stress these days is a lousy work-life balance. It can be challenging for your healthcare workers to juggle between work and family all at once.
However, allowing your healthcare workers to stay in touch with their families ensures that they won’t end up prioritizing one thing over another. After all, their families are as important as their work and vice versa.
So, assign a time of the day when healthcare workers can contact their family members, whether through phone calls, text messages, or video chat. After all, a couple of minutes with the family will recharge and satisfy your workers, preparing them for what’s to come ahead.
Although stress comes packaged within a healthcare job, taking steps to reduce it will benefit your patients, employees, and our healthcare facility as a whole.
So, consider promoting stress-decreasing activities at work, streamlining stressful tasks, and encouraging healthcare workers to adopt healthy habits to reduce employee stress and make work more enjoyable for them, improving patient care quality in the process.