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Burnout

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Cause and Prevention of Burnout in Human Service Staff
Arlyne Magallanez-Ochoa University of Phoenix
BSHS 462
April 18, 2011
Mr. Kevin L. Benbow, MA, LPC

Cause and Prevention of Burnout in Human Service Staff
Definition of Burnout- "a breakdown of the psychological defense [that] workers use to adapt and cope with intense job-related stressors" and "a syndrome in which a worker feels emotionally exhausted or fatigued, withdraws emotionally from their clients, and perceives a diminution of their achievements or accomplishments (CWLA, 2002) another definition is-Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place (Help Guide-A Trusted Non-Profit Resource, 2011). Symptoms are; emotional exhausted, Feeling as though they have low personal accomplishment with clients, loss of autonomy, Lack of recognition or rewards for good work, and Working in a chaotic or high-pressure environment. These are just a few symptoms of Burnout.
Describe some of the individual, culture, organizational. Supervisory and social support factors that cause burnout- Burnout has a serious effect on human service staff, clients, and organization. According to the text possible causes of burnout may be: (Lewis, Packard, & Lewis, 2007) Individual-Personality conflict, Cultural- Policies that are not for employees’ with different cultural beliefs, Organizational- Low motivation and excessive amount of conflict, Supervisory and social support factors- Lack of participative in decision making and Culture-a declining feeling of community. Supervisees may show physical, emotional, or behavioral sign and symptoms of burnout. Physical signs may include a fatigued or drained appearance, more frequent absences due to illness, increases in physical complaints, and changes in weight (Smith, Jaffe-Gill, Segal, & Segal, 2008). Emotional signs of burnout may include feelings of failure, helplessness, detachment, increasing cynicism, and decreased satisfaction (Smith, Jaffe-Gill, Segal, & Segal, 2008).
Preventing burnout-There are many positions where employees can get burnout such as social workers, case managers, caregivers, care coordinators, therapist and even psychologist. There are a number of positive steps to prevent stress and burnout in employees-changing job structure, changing up a predictable day for a human service staff member, Flextime, job sharing, developing a Supportive Environment, recognition, mentoring, know your limits and of course humor. Numerous studies have shown that a fun workplace increases your productiveness, quality of work, and overall job satisfaction (Help Guide-A Trusted Non-Profit Resource, 2011). Other prevention tips can be changing your diet and eat more healthier, getting eight hours of sleep, take a daily break from technology, learn how to manage stress.
React and respond to personal and work-related stress. Today, in my place of employment more than a few co-workers are stressed and burnout in their positions. I meet with a few of the burnout co-workers for an early dinner and let them vent to me about their positions and what had been bothering them. I also was able to have the organization pay for dinner and movie tickets for the employee and their families so they can have a night out without any stress. I have now taken their burden and these employees are happy that I have listen and have faith that I will fix their problems. I have now felt the effects of stressed and being burnout on the job. At the beginning of this class did not know how to cope with the work related stress and burnout and after reading these few chapters understand what I need to do. I had already visited a Dr. who said that I am having work related panic/anxiety attacks and prescribed me Xanax. When I am at work I get this attacks and feels like my heart is racing and I could hear it beating. I now come home and shut off my cell phone, computer and also the television and take 30 minutes to meditate. If you are trying to get back from being burnout you would need to try to slow down, get support and Reevaluate your goals and priorities. Nothing is more important than your own health.
What do you have to do as a human service manager to be alert and ready to assist with staff burnout? A human service manger needs to stay alert by keeping lines of communication open with employees. Another way is also to maintain and environment of fairness and respect. Every employee wants to be respected without a doubt. Valuing your employees and having rewards and incentives such as family pack movie night, gift certificate for dinner and lunch always work. Build a sense of community with your employees. Involve employees in development and special projects. By being courageous and providing your people with a supportive, engaging environment, you will fuel real results without driving your team or yourself over the edge (Santana, J., 2003).

References
CWLA. (August 2002). Children's Voices; Burned Out. Retrieved from http://cwla.org
Help Guide-A Trusted Non-Profit Resource. (2011). Preventing Burnout-Signs Symptoms, Causes, and Coping Strategies. Retrieved from http://helpguide.org
Smith, M., Jaffe-Gill, E., Segal, J., & Segal, R. (2008, December). Preventing Burnout: Signs, symptoms, causes, and coping strategies. Retrieved May 17, 2010, from Helpguide.org: Understand, prevent, and resolve life's challenges: http://helpguide.org/mental/burnout_signs_symptoms.htm
Lewis, J., Packard, T., & Lewis, M. (2007). Management of human service programs, 4th ed.
Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Santana, J. (2003). Creating supportive, engaging work environment helps fight employee burnout. Retrieved from http://techrepublic.com

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