Without a doubt, frontline workers are the key service providers in the medical sector. Their work is often tedious and requires standing on their feet extensively since it includes treating patients while monitoring their symptoms. Hence, it is not uncommon for most frontline workers to experience fatigue and exhaustion on the job.
However, coupled with intense physical exhaustion, most frontline workers also go through psychological strain. The reason is probably due to long working hours with little to no breaks in between take a toll on them. Sometimes they are also not able to request a break or go home and see their families.
Continued isolation and deprivation of their fundamental rights become a heavy price to pay. Therefore, it is the job of healthcare managers to ensure frontline workers are taken care of. It means intervening whenever they see a healthcare worker struggling under the pressure of work. Here’s how they can administer care:
1. Provide Counseling
Counseling doesn’t need to follow a formal setting; it can be as simple as listening and talking to a colleague and helping them through a difficult period. Reach out to a colleague and ask them how you may support them during stressful periods by sharing your expertise or your time while being mindful of your well-being.
2. Get the Skills to Support Them
You can further improve the hospital environment for healthcare workers by offering stress management education and mental health services to the front liners. You can provide training to the administration by enrolling in executive MHA programs to gain a better insight and knowledge about the best healthcare management techniques to deal with healthcare workers. When you understand what you need to do and say to frontline workers, you are much more helpful than offering generic advice.
3. Create an Open Communication Environment
You may also want to encourage your colleagues to speak about their concerns openly, such as the most tiring aspect of their job. This way, you can prepare material to help them deal with the stress and help them take care of their mental health. Create a peer support system so that all healthcare practitioners can reach out to each other and help each other feel better about their current situation. By inspiring, motivating, and empowering people, you encourage them to develop to their fullest potential.
4. Monitor Their Well-being
It is not enough to ask frontline workers how they’re feeling only once in a while. It is a constant process of checking in with them and offering support where you can. Ask your colleagues to spare you a few minutes and have a quick conversation with them. If you notice obvious signs of distress, intervene and try to get their shift taken over by someone else while encouraging them to rest. It is perhaps the only way to keep them from collapsing and save their condition from further deterioration.
5. Help Adjust Their Schedules
You can help your colleagues work out a convenient schedule for them. If a frontline worker is working in a high-stress situation, you can allow them to rotate to a lower-stress task. If you notice that a frontline worker has been working for a long time, consider handing their shift to someone else and giving them a break. Frontline workers must get rest, too, since fatigue and exhaustion make them more prone to making mistakes. You also want to give them a chance to talk to their families and get a break from the hospital environment.
6. Have Coping Mechanisms in Place
Coping mechanisms are a range of activities that anyone can participate in. They don’t have to be drastic or elaborate but can be as straightforward as walking between shifts. You can encourage your colleagues to have their meals during set meal breaks. You can even encourage them to sit in silence for a while, giving them a chance to meditate. Coping mechanisms are essential since they allow all healthcare practitioners to evaluate how they feel and acknowledge if they feel stressed or tired from working too long. It also gives them a chance to recoup and return to work with better motivation.
7. Create Resources for Them
Resources can provide guidelines for healthcare workers, especially when they don’t know what to do. These can be books, videos, podcasts, virtually any form of multimedia for them to engage with. It can help your colleagues take care of their health better and know when to ask for help. Suppose you made a short clip on what a frontline worker can do if they feel they might have a panic attack coming on. Resources are a great way to provide support. Suppose if you or any other healthcare manager is unavailable, healthcare workers can utilize these resources to prevent themselves from feeling more isolated. It creates a healthy work environment and helps frontline workers take care of their health better,
Frontline workers lift a bulk of responsibilities on their shoulders, often at the expense of their health. So, this is where the collaborative efforts of the entire healthcare sector come into play to ensure everyone takes care of each other. As a healthcare manager, you are crucial in providing support to frontline workers. You can do this in numerous ways. You can provide healthcare workers with counseling, resources, and coping mechanisms to facilitate their mental health. Finally, keep monitoring their health and intervening when you feel their mental health seems to b