Key points in Critical Care Medicine:
Managing ICU staff Welfare, Morale, and Burnout
“Adapted from Oxford Textbook of Critical Care-Oxford University Press 2016”
- The intensive care unit (ICU) environment exposes staff to stressful and emotionally-demanding situations, which places them at high risk for burnout.
- Risk factors for Burnout can be found at both individual and organization levels.
- Consequences of low morale and burnout include personal distress for clinicians, poor quality of care for patients, and highly health care costs for organizations and society.
- Staff engagement is emerging as the antithesis of burnout.
- We need to promote a wider recognition among ICU staff regrading risks of burnout and the consequences for both them and the patients in their care.
Potential phases of Burnout
- The need to prove oneself: often occurring in highly motivated and ambitious individuals.
- Working harder: high personal expectations emerge as further work commitments are undertaken.
- Neglecting personal needs: no time or energy is reserved for activities or relationships outside the workplace.
- Displacement of conflict: The individual is unable to identify the cause for their difficulties.
- Revision of values: isolation from family and friends with a solely job- related value system.
- Denial: cynicism, aggression, and intolerance of others emerge, leading to isolation.
- Behavioral changes become more apparent to others: e.g conflict.
- Depersonalization: loss of appreciation for self and self- worth. Cannot appreciate further success.
- Inner emptiness: may seek an activity to full the void such as eating, drugs, etc.
- Depression: typical affective, cognitive and somatic features are present.
Burnout ensues: complete physical and emotional collapse.