How to Build Resilience in Medical Professionals Through Healthcare Training

Nobody can dispute that healthcare professionals are much-valued members of our community, but many people that work in healthcare often find themselves burnt out by the intense pressure of their jobs.

Nobody wants to get advice or care from a doctor or nurse who is too stressed and exhausted to concentrate appropriately. In this article, we look at how to increase resilience in healthcare professionals.

Why Healthcare Workers Are Burning Out

Burnout is ‘chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’.

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
  • Increased mental distance from or cynicism about one’s job.
  • Reduced professional efficacy.

Burnout is rife among healthcare workers and the high-stakes and demanding nature of working in healthcare can take a significant toll on mental health.

Healthcare professionals routinely have to deal with the following:

  • Difficult or distraught patients and relatives
  • Emergencies
  • Long hours
  • Low rates of pay.
  • Huge workloads
  • Frantic work pace

Rates of burnout in NHS workers increased from 36.8% in 2016 to 40.3% in 2019 and then, the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

Mental Health Resilience Training

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The Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Professionals

COVID-19 had a disastrous effect on all. COVID-19 increased the burnout rate of healthcare workers up to 3.3 times more than that of non-healthcare professionals, according to data compiled by the Queen Mary University of London. What’s worrying about this report is that it showed the burnout rate was increasing among healthcare professionals, despite the easing of the pandemic.

Senior Clinical Lecturer Dr Ajay Gupta who helped author the study, has said that the rates of burnout will lead to increased staffing shortages and decreased retention rates for the NHS. Dr Gupta also pointed out that the continuing high burnout rate may lead to healthcare workers developing severe physical and mental health problems.

The Ongoing Mental Health Crisis in Healthcare

GPs in the UK are now more likely to cut back on the number of patients they see and have low levels of job satisfaction. Junior doctors in the UK have gone so far as to instigate strike action because of low pay and poor conditions. A recent nurses’ strike over pay rates was ended prematurely due to court action from the government.

Healthcare Training
Healthcare Training helps to Build Resilience

Many healthcare professionals have left the industry and replacements haven’t been found.

The Importance of Resilience in Health and Social Care

Psychologists define resilience as a ‘dynamic process encompassing positive adaptation within the context of significant adversity.’ Increasing resilience levels equips healthcare workers with the skills they need to deal with the high levels of occupational stress they experience.

Mental Health experts recommend, healthcare organisations incorporate resilience-building techniques into mental health programs for staff. More resilient healthcare professionals can better manage negative emotions and maintain composure in stressful situations.

Becoming more resilient enables healthcare workers to communicate effectively with team members and patients. Healthcare workers who practice resilience building find they enhance empathy and compassion and can overcome adversity more quickly.

Other benefits of increasing resilience in healthcare professionals include:

  • Better rates of job satisfaction
  • An increased ability to learn from past mistakes.
  • Decreased feelings of hopelessness.
  • Enhanced feelings of confidence and better self-management
  • Increased ability to plan and coordinate with colleagues.

Ways to Increase Resilience in Healthcare Professionals

Managers, supervisors, and frontline employees must collectively build resilience and create a supportive environment at work where everyone feels valued. A combination of efforts is required at both the organisational and individual levels to build resilience.

Resilience Building Techniques for Individuals

Suppose you are a healthcare worker who has been feeling the strain. In that case, you can boost your resilience by concentrating on simple methods and life changes. Rev up your resilience by:

  • Practising relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises or meditation
  • Developing better time-management skills
  • Devoting time to self-care
  • Getting regular exercise and enough rest and sleep
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Reaching out to friends and co-workers for support
  • Setting achievable goals and adopting a more optimistic viewpoint
  • Learning problem-solving and critical-thinking techniques
  • Establishing and maintaining firm work/life boundaries
  • Seeking advice from a mental health professional

Resilience Building at the Organisational Level

Healthcare organisations, managers and supervisors also need to put in some work to help their teams cope with the pressure. Business leaders can act to build resilience among their teams by:

  • Ensuring that staff levels are adequate and distributing workloads fairly
  • Focusing on building team morale
  • Providing clear leadership
  • Encouraging mental health awareness in the workplace
  • Making sure employees are allowed sufficient leave when requested.
  • Creating open and confidential communication channels
  • Arranging regular meetings with staff to discuss issues.
  • Monitoring the mental health of employees and providing mental health support programs
  • Providing access to mental health resilience training

Does Your Employer Have to Provide Resilience-Building Healthcare Training?

As we’ve seen, building resilience can decrease rates of burnout, increase job satisfaction, and empower people with the skills to perform more effectively. Strictly speaking, organizations are not legally required to provide access to mental health resilience-building training, but the benefits of offering such training far outweigh the potential and proven consequences.

Employers are legally obliged to ensure their staff have a safe working environment and this obligation means employers must take appropriate steps to safeguard employees’ physical and mental health. Employers responsibilities are enshrined in law by the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.