A look at how Southwest Florida is handling health worker burnout

Hospital Hallway
Posted at 6:47 AM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 09:55:46-04

CAPE CORAL, Fla.  — The pandemic continues to place a huge amount of stress on healthcare workers and some employees in Southwest Florida are simply feeling burnt out.

On one side, businesses are opening and schools are bringing students back into the classroom

Candace Smith, Chief Nurse Executive at Cape Coral Hospital says things haven’t slowed down and their focus is not only on patient care but employees as well.

“We must remember that burnout is expressed in different ways and so the key to burnout is to understand it and to be very mindful of what you are seeing,” said Smith.

A study by the American Medical Association (AMA) surveyed more than 20-thousand healthcare workers and half of them reported burnout during the pandemic.

Smith told Fox 4 in Southwest Florida, many lean on the idea of being a seasonal community with things starting to slow down during the summer months.

She says for healthcare workers the idea of a slow season has gone out the window.

AMA adds that odds of burnout were 40% lower in those who felt valued by their organizations, something Smith says is a top priority for them.

“We have conversations with our staff about their families, their loved ones, their challenges what is happening in their homes because we can’t underestimate the impact that this has had on them," said Smith.

Smith says they are constantly asking their colleagues around the country about new ways to help staff feel supported.

At cape coral hospital- they have even started doing things like wacky t-shirt day to help boost morale.

It has been a long road for healthcare workers since the start
of the pandemic and it seems like for many, it will continue to stay that way.

Smith says this is why continuing to understand what burnout
out looks like and how they can help relieve this stress from their
employees is critical.

"But with this COVID variant, we definitely have to be again, continue to be mindful and not rest on what we have seen. So we will continue to see volumes grow because we recognize that our patients within our community it’s going to stay in need. They are still going to need care and services," said Smith.

Smith told Fox 4 that burnout can come in many different forms.

AMA adds that workers who were surveyed had feelings of depression, anxiety, and high fear of exposing their loved ones to COVID-19.

Smith says despite the long road healthcare works have had to travel, she continues to see a level of dedication and relentlessness among their frontline workers that she can't help but admire.

You know the other day I was rounding in the emergency department and I will tell you, our emergency department at cape coral is very busy. but when you talk to frontline staff and you see their continued work and commitment..and it's moving!” said Smith.