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Burned Out in the Medical Field? A Career in Home Health Might be the Remedy

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Published:  March 1, 2016

“Burnout” has long plagued the medical field. In a 2011 survey by the American Nurses Association, three out of four nurses cited work-related stress and exhaustion as one of their top health concerns. In 2012, a national survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that nearly half (46 percent) of U.S. physicians reported feeling burned out on the job, more than any other profession in America. 

These types of figures are troubling on all sides, as the depleted passion and fleeting focus that accompany burnout can cause a rift between patient and provider. Are you feeling like you’ve hit a brick wall in the medical profession? Home health is an often unexplored sector that has more of what you love about your career and less of what you don’t.

Causes of Burnout

What is causing so many medical professionals to feel burned out on the work they love? It’s usually a combination of the following: 

  • Ever-increasing productivity standards
  • The sheer volume of patients
  • Higher documentation standards

With these three forces all happening at once, it begins to feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete all of your work, much less provide each patient with quality one-on-one time.

Symptoms of Burnout

Burnout is a rather subjective term that manifests itself differently in each person. Feelings of burnout can come and go, and with so much going on around you at work every day, you might not even have time to acknowledge burnout. What constitutes burnout, and what separates it from a bad day or week? Here are a few of the signs to look for:

  • Lack of satisfaction in achievements
  • Poor focus
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Personal relationship issues
  • Irritability
  • Apathy
  • Frustration
  • Difficulty sleeping at night and/or waking up in the morning

How to Cope

Knowing that you’re burned out and not being able to do anything about it can bring additional stress and anxiety. Doctors and nurses can’t simply call out of work to take a few days off and recharge—your patients are counting on you, and work will be even more difficult if you are playing catch-up.

As you try to push through burnout, follow these three steps to maintain your composure and avoid making any rash decisions:

  1. Evaluate what it is that you want out of your job.
  2. Consider the options that might enable you to attain your goals and desires.
  3. Take the risk to pursue those options and step out of your comfort zone.

Why Home Health?

Here at Mission Healthcare, we have had numerous medical professionals come to us with burnout and rediscover their passion for healthcare in home health. Medical schools frequently overlook home care as a career path, which is unfortunate because careers in home health offer:

  • A flexible schedule
  • Above average salaries
  • An “out and about” work life
  • Challenging yet attainable goals
  • Lifetime bonds with colleagues, families, and patients
  • Plenty of room for growth

3 Things You Need to Know

You never want to dive into a new career path without having an idea of what to expect, so let us provide a little extra insight. Here’s what you absolutely need to know about home health:

It’s Not Like Working in a Facility

Going into someone’s home and attending to their medical needs is far different than treating them in a hospital. The level of responsibility is elevated, and you’ll use a wider range of skills.

You Must Be Autonomous

Autonomy is a prerequisite for working in home health. While you’re out in the field traveling to and caring for patients, there will be no one with you to remind you about other responsibilities that might overlap. You’re entirely accountable for your own schedule and for making important medical decisions based on the condition of the patient at hand.

The Industry is Booming

You might not realize it, but home health is in many ways saving America’s health care system from a complete collapse. A 2015 report from Harris Williams & Co. tabbed home health an $87 billion dollar market and growing. Between the aging baby boomer population and sweeping health care reform, experts all agree that home health will continue to play a pivotal role in the U.S. health care system. For you, that means endless opportunity, long-term job security, and competitive salaries. 

Learn More

Think you might want to refresh your medical career by moving into home health? Mission Healthcare is always looking for bright and passionate professionals. Click here to view our current home health job openings.