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Nurse burnout: symptoms and solutions Post Covid trauma in workplace teams?

Updated: Dec 8, 2023


Nurse burnout: symptoms and solutions Post Covid trauma in workplace teams?

Over the last few years, the number of people worried about a co-worker's mental health is still on the rise.

But, the question now is how can we help and support our co-workers and develop a new post-COVID normal?

The collective trauma of the recent pandemic has resulted in a reduced capacity to deal with a range of emotions, anxiety, and depression, as well as a range of concentration and memory problems.


If we feel heard by our employers and supported when experiencing mental health issues, we are more likely to recover quicker and remain at work.


Employers can support their worker's mental health by:

Openly communicating about mental health issues—and challenging negative stigmas.

● Promoting resources such as support groups

● Offering support with empathy, understanding, flexibility, and tangible support.

● Training managers on how to support and recognise mental health issues.



Six ways to support co-workers in your team to reduce COVID stress


Applying the tips below can help individuals or whole teams support each other in times of crisis and after traumatic events.


Celebrate wins and successes- Collective belief is needed for teams to believe they can succeed in any conditions. 'Wins' need to be event specific, so congratulate your colleague for supporting a distressed patient or being part of a team that saved someone's life.

  1. Ensure shared mental models (SMM) are used consistently- This means that everyone in the team together works effortlessly as well as combatting obstacles. Knowing the key focus of what's expected collectively.

  2. Don't forget the people behind the scenes- Don't forget the people who made the frontline workers able to do their jobs. The porters, cleaners, and admin teams all ensured equipment and paperwork were ready for nurses and doctors to carry out lifesaving work.

  3. Emphasise and promote team mutual monitoring- Taking care of one another is essential during times of high stress. Take part in shift handovers and briefings to help identify those who may be struggling or feeling overwhelmed.

  4. Create psychological safety- Build an environment that promotes safety and encourages team members to speak up about any problems.

  5. Acknowledge worries about home- managers can try and help ease concerns at home, such as financial or emotional issues, so speak up. You don't know what might be available to help.




Recognizing a co-worker may be developing mental health problems.


When you work in close proximity to people, you will get to know them well and be able to identify changes in their behaviour. Look out for any changes in the following to help support co-workers you think might be struggling.


● erratic behavior

● emotional responses

● complains about workload

● fixation with fair treatment issues

● withdrawn from colleagues

● inability to concentrate, memory problems

● loss of confidence


● unplanned absences

● tired all the time

● sick and run down

● headaches

● weight changes

● disheveled appearance

● Digestive problems



How to talk appropriately about mental health with a co-worker

In the past, it wasn't easy to talk about mental health at work. Things are slowly changing, and it is important we keep communicating about our mental health and supporting others.


What if they don't want to talk?

Some people may shy away from talking about their mental health. Follow these tips to help support them in a positive way.

● Be prepared that they might not want your support at this time.

● Remain calm if they react in a negative way, e.g. denial or upset.

● Don't take it personally if they don't want to talk. There may be a variety of reasons for this.

● Respect your co-worker's wishes not to talk about non-work related issues.

● If they don't want to talk, tell them that you are always there if they change their mind.


 

Reflection

  1. Do you feel there is a safe community at your workplace?

  2. Do you feel comfortable talking about your mental health at work?

  3. Can you think of any co-workers that might be struggling and need support?


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