Stress & Preventing Medical Burnout Among Anesthesia Providers

Medical burnout is a serious issue that takes a toll on many frontline healthcare workers, including anesthesia providers. Anesthesiologists and CRNAs often work long hours while providing highly skilled acute care to patients. Their jobs are stressful, requiring constant and immense attention to detail. With patients becoming sicker than ever before, documentation expectations rapidly evolving and increasing pressure to meet performance goals, it is easy to understand how anesthesia providers can experience stress and burnout.

In the current climate of the worldwide shortage of anesthesia providers, retention is paramount to the success of any anesthesia department. Hiring and retaining top-tier providers is among our topmost priorities at CCI Anesthesia, and in an effort to prevent any staffing shortages, we keep a watchful eye out for burnout among our anesthesia providers.

Symptoms of Burnout Among Anesthesia Providers

Since 2004, CCI Anesthesia has been a comprehensive provider of anesthesia management services. During this time, we have come to know the warning signs of burnout among anesthesia providers and how to abate them. Here are some of the top symptoms of burnout among anesthesia providers:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • Pessimism and irritability
  • Isolation
  • Poor performance

These issues should be taken seriously and need to be addressed immediately before they cause issues for your facility. With burnout among anesthesia providers comes increased chances of patient safety incidents, decreased professionalism with colleagues and patients and low surgeon and patient satisfaction. Most importantly, consider the fact that anesthesia providers hold the lives of their patients in their hands. When their mental health is jeopardized by burnout, a real patient safety risk is posed.

Preventing and Remedying Anesthesia Provider Burnout

Medical burnout among anesthesia providers is absolutely preventable and reversible. CCI Anesthesia leaders are trained to watch for burnout symptoms and actively listen to providers who are experiencing burnout in order to determine the best plan of action. Some strategies to reverse medical burnout may include:

Enhancing Workflow Design

An impaired workflow can take a toll on anesthesiologists or CRNAs who are affected by it day in and day out. Take time to understand the current workflow and look for areas that can be easily improved. Even the smallest adjustments can make a huge difference for anesthesia providers.

Improving Data Collection

Charting has become an increasingly important job responsibility for anesthesia providers. As charting mechanisms and modalities have evolved over the years, anesthesia providers must keep up with these changes, which can oftentimes feel burdensome when combined with the responsibility of learning about new anesthesia techniques and drugs. Perhaps you need to implement a new EMR that will streamline the process or simply assist any anesthesia providers who are struggling with data collection.

Focusing on Mental Health and Wellness

A focus on health and wellbeing among anesthesia providers goes a long way in preventing burnout. Consider holding routine resilience training and offer other learning opportunities about mental health and wellness.

Optimizing Schedules

Anesthesiologists and CRNAs need ample time away from practice to relax and recharge. In addition to accommodating vacation requests whenever possible, critically review schedules for fairness and efficiency. For anesthesia providers with on call rotations, ensure they are not scheduled for work the day after being on call. These steps toward optimizing schedules can make a major difference in preventing burnout.

How to Reverse Widespread Provider Burnout

If you feel your entire anesthesia department is suffering from burnout, perhaps it is time for a change in management. As a member of the CCI Anesthesia team, our providers can expect:

  • Clinical autonomy
  • Competitive, above-market compensation as an independent contractor
  • Ample time away from practice
  • Professional and timely administrative support
  • Leadership and mentoring from our experienced Regional Medical Officers and Chiefs of Anesthesia
  • Advancement opportunities in hospital practice leadership

These are the kinds of benefits anesthesia providers need to maintain optimal mental health and a positive outlook. If your anesthesiologists and CRNAs are not receiving this type of support from their employer or group, contact us today. Our goal is to empower anesthesia providers to focus on what matters most—patient care.