Self Care And Burnout For Medical Assistants

Most people are drawn to the health care professions because of a combined interest in medicine and a desire to help others and to make a difference in the world. This desire will serve them well in their careers but can also be their undoing because caregivers sometimes have a tendency to take good care of everyone but themselves. Ignoring their needs can eventually put them at great risk of burnout, a syndrome in which an individual feels physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion caused by ongoing intensive demands without sufficient physical or emotional rest. New medical assistants are usually so enthusiastic about their careers that they find it difficult to imagine themselves ever feeling burned out.

However, no one is immune. Furthermore, burnout rarely occurs suddenly. Rather, it usually develops slowly over a period of time and may become profound before an individual is fully aware. Therefore, all new medical assistants should develop a plan now to avoid burnout later. Many factors contribute to burnout but a key factor is the neglect of self-care. Self-care is any activity that supports and nurtures an individual’s physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional health and well-being. Providing effective self care entails taking full responsibility for nurturing and keeping oneself physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy. Some people have a hard time doing this and feel guilty when they spend time on themselves. Yet they may find themselves feeling needy and resentful when their needs go unmet and may even begin to feel resentful of others for failing to meet their needs. This has a negative impact on their relationships. Such individuals are at high risk for eventual burnout. To avoid this risk, they must learn to grant themselves permission to provide self-care, understanding that caring for oneself is a critical first step in being able to effectively care for others. A key principle in self-care is finding ways to create balance among work, play, rest, family obligations, and self-care needs. Medical assistants who develop and consistently use a plan of self-care find their effectiveness in their professional and personal lives is enhanced.

Symptoms Of Burnout