Michael is a Case Manager within Spectrum Health hospitals and has been for four years. Michael is twenty-eight years old and enjoys doing his job although he has stated that it can be difficult at times. Michael stated that sometimes there is over time when other employees call in and case load can be heavy at times. Michael stated that every so often he has to wear a pager so employees within the hospital can get ahold of them when emergent issues arise. On call is every third weekend and four days out of each month where Michael is on call 24/7. As Michael punches in for the day, he meets with patients that are either just admitted or ready for discharge. Michael will help patients gain what they expect within the hospital so they will be pleased with the kind of care they received while in the hospital. Michael will also help patients that are ready to be discharged gain everything needed for their home after they are discharged. Things such as canes, walkers, commodes, home care, Dr. Visit’s, etc. As I asked if Michael has every experience burnout he stated that he has felt burned out before and even a little overwhelmed when he is placed on call for a few days. Michael has never thought about quitting his job but he has felt the need to take a few days off before just to gain a clear mind and get back to work. One stage of burn out Michael has experienced would be stage three in which that is frustration.
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Frustration comes within Michael when he is unable to complete every task that is expected of him. Michael has felt frustrated before when he is given too much and not enough time to complete every task. Michael strives to do his best within his position and sometimes that is not enough because as he gains too much work, he cannot spend the time needed with the patients to ensure proper care is being achieved while the patient is in the hospital. Michael often sets up agendas for his work and how to get the work done in a timely manner so he does not get frustrated when things don’t get done or issues arise. Michael relieves frustration this way because he is able to visualize what he needs to do and what things to do first. Michael often takes times off from work in order to not get frustrated within his position. Michael will spend time with his family and while at home he will not speak of work so that he can enjoy family time and not think of work while relaxing.
Burnout is defined as an internal psychological experience that involves feelings, attitudes, motives and expectations. Burnout means the energy of an individual has been consumed by helping others. Energy crisis occurs when the psychic demand exceeds the supply. Burnout is often experienced with a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion caused by a long-term involvement within an emotionally demanding situation. Burnout is often accompanied by physical depletion, feelings of helplessness, disillusionment, negative self-concept and negative attitudes toward employment, people and life in itself. Burnout represents a breaking point where it’s hard for an individual to cope with the environment surrounding them. Compassion fatigue is often caused by a work related stress and it is also an increase of loss in compassion over a period of time. Compassion fatigue can share similar symptoms of burnout but just not in an as severe way.
There are many ways burnout can occur; Burnout often comes in blocks that include Role ambiguity or the lack of clarity concerning rights, responsibilities, methods, goals, status and accountability toward themselves. Role conflict is the significance of a demand placed on the individual that are incompatible, inappropriate and inconsistent within the values or ethics. Role overload is the quantity and quality of demands placed on the individual that are too great. Inconsequentiality is the feeling of helplessness, the individual may feel that no matter what they do they are not good enough they gain little recognition, accomplishment, appreciation or success. Isolation means that individual may lacking in support or has minimal support and the last one is Autonomy, where the ability to make decision on what they will do and how they will deal with their patients may be affected by their place of employment. Signs of burnout may include tardiness, dreading work, turning to drugs or alcohol, withdrawing from friends or family, clockwatching, depression, sudden change in weight, suicide or homicide thoughts or attempts just to name a few.
Burnout also comes in stages, there are four main stages of burnout that can occur as an employee tries there absolute best within the position they have accepted within any organization. Stage one is enthusiasm, where the employee enters the job with high hopes and unrealistic expectations. If the employee is not tempered by orientations, training and realistic expectations the Human Service work may lead to the second stage which is stagnation. Stage two is stagnation, where the employee starts to feel that personal, financial, and career needs are not met. This may happen as the employee visualizes other employees moving on faster than themselves, an increase in pressure at home, financial obligations increasing and lack of employee reinforcement from doing the job well. As these are not met or taken care of, burnout can lead to the next stage of frustration. Stage three is frustration, where the employee may doubt their Caretaker Interview 5
effectiveness, values or impact of their efforts within the organization. One employee’s frustration may hold a domino effect toward others because the effect of burnout are contagious within an environment. Frustration can be dealt with by arranging workshops and support groups to increase awareness and generate problem solving as a group effort. If frustration is not taken care of within a positive manner, frustration can turn into Apathy. Stage four is Apathy, where the employee meets the feeling of actually being burned out. The employee may become immobile, in denial and may be in stage of crisis. As an employee meets this stage of burnout, psychotherapy may be needed to reverse the actions of burnout and to get the employee at a positive state of mind.