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Is Burn Out Burning Us Out?

In this week’s podcast Liz Crowe – an advanced clinician social worker who has worked in Brisbane’s major children’s hospitals in intensive care, emergency departments and cancer wards – begins the podcast with the question – is burn out burning us out?

In this podcast, Liz goes on to address exactly what the term burn out actually means and discusses how the literature on burnout in healthcare workers is prolific. She discusses how healthcare presents as an occupation of high risk, distress, and despair, with an escalation of risk post pandemic. Yet, she says, burnout is not the whole story even though it is the only story being told. Liz speaks about the extensive research into burnout and what it reveals, and the risk factors for burnout, which include excessive workload, lack of control or recognition, mismatch of values, lack of meaning and emotional contagion. However, she notes that none of these are individual deficits and says that it is concerning that ‘wellbeing’ in healthcare is never discussed in terms of meaning making, purpose, contribution, community, stimulating work or growth and development.

Yet, she goes on to say, for many critical care staff these positive factors for wellbeing are found in abundance.

Liz also states that her research shows that people want to believe that the bad stuff happens on one side of life; the good on the other, and people want to know how they get to the other side. Whereas, she says, in reality, life is a crappy mess that sits somewhere in the middle.

The podcast concludes with Liz stating that purpose and community are everything, that life is messy, but some days – despite how awful we feel – we soar because of the opportunities we have. She encourages listeners to savour life, and to remember that even on the worst day of their working life, their patients are doing it tougher.

For more head to our podcast page #CodaPodcast


Liz Crowe