10 Tips for Overcoming Burnout in Your Private Practice
By Nancy Mura, Senior VP Public Relations
One thing is definitely, absolutely true—these are unusual days.
Both private practice owners and their staff across the country have suffered greatly due to COVID restrictions and quarantines, as much or more than most other businesses. After all, PT, OT and ST are all performed in close contact with patients and, in most cases, hands-on.
We know the struggle practice owners and their therapists have been through such as:
An unprecedented number of employees quitting their jobs in what has been dubbed The Great Resignation of 2021
Staff being ill and quarantined
Staff refusing to come to work because they are fearful of COVID exposure
Owners having to cover for missing staff and so being unable to do their own jobs
Patients concerned about COVID exposure so they don’t want to come to therapy
Extensive cleaning requirements stretching resources to the limit
Mask and glove requirements making therapy difficult
Staff making more income on unemployment than they would by coming to work
Attempts to convert therapies to telehealth sessions that were only partially successful
The bottom line is this: If you or your staff are feeling burned out, it’s understandable! It can totally feel like the deck has been stacked against your success. By taking the right steps now, you can avoid your own and your staff’s burnout. Let’s look at five ways you can reduce owner burnout and five more ways to reduce staff burnout.
Tips for Overcoming Owner Burnout
To start, if you’ve kept your doors open all or most of the time through the pandemic, you are to be heartily acknowledged! Give yourself a pat on the back.
Second, take a look at the tips below. It’s now more essential than ever that you utilize your staff and protect your own longevity. These tips can reduce your stress, minimize the possibility of burnout and preserve your ability to continue helping patients.
Tip 1: Empower staff to make their own decisions. When you have well-trained, experienced and proven staff, give them the authority to make their own decisions about matters related to their own jobs. They simply need to keep you informed.
Tip 2: Delegate wherever possible. Don’t try to take on every task yourself. Invest a little time in training others to take over some tasks.
Tip 3: Increase efficiency. Can meeting times, paperwork or internal communications be streamlined? Every minute you save frees up time for both you and your staff.
Tip 4: Prioritize. Determine what’s most important for the viability of your practice and the well-being of your patients. Pick the most important priorities and let go of ones that can wait.
Tip 5: Get out of the office. Take some time off and recharge your battery. Go somewhere completely different. You’ll come back reenergized personally and as a private practice owner.
Tips for Overcoming Staff Burnout
Your staff are suffering right along with you. Maybe it’s the cleaning/disinfecting schedule that gets them down or the patients who don’t show up. Maybe they are covering for staff who are ill or they are worried about their own health or the health of their families.
The more you can return joy to the practice, the more therapeutic it will be for your staff who are approaching (or long passed) burnout. Try these tips to boost the morale in your practice.
Tip 1: Spread good news. Get a commendation from a parent? Be sure to share it at a staff meeting. Child has a breakthrough? Let all staff know.
Tip 2: Let your staff know how much you appreciate them. Tell them individually and tell the group at staff meetings. Acknowledge good deeds and jobs that were well done.
Tip 3: Make the workplace fun. Stage special events like pajama day or dress-down days when production or administrative targets are achieved.
Tip 4: Spin the wheel. Invite your staff that meet productivity quotas to spin a game wheel and win a prize. (You can learn how to play this game in this webinar episode at the eleven-minute mark.)
Tip 5: Seasonal games. Create holiday-themed games to invite your staff to help meet specific goals such as filling the appointment book, hitting income targets and so on. Little holiday-themed gifts and small cash incentives can raise morale.
Give these steps a try and see how much better you and your staff feel about your practice. We have helped so many private practice owners come back from burnout and prevent it from recurring with practice management tools. We can help you, too. If you need a hand, contact Survival Strategies at 833-221-8002 today.