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Causes and Prevention of Burnout in Human Services

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Causes and Prevention of Burnout in Human Service Staff Paper
Juanita Morgan
BSHS/462
December 22, 2013
Professor Jane Flournoy

According to Johnson and Stone (1987), burnout “refers to a state of physical, emotional, and
Mental exhaustion resulting from involvement with people in emotionally demanding situations”
(p.67). Burnout can happen to anyone at any time and in many different forms. For some people that experienced burnout one of the key factors is the loss of autonomy which includes “ the sense that one can do as one wants” (Burish, 1993, p.83). Whenever an employee feels that they may not be doing a good job or feels as though what they are doing is wrong, they could be experiencing burnout. From an individual standpoint a person with a “type A” personality or unrealistic expectation of themselves may become burned out. This type of person may feel like they are the only one that’s capable of doing the job. In the
Cultural setting burnout can include the declining feeling of a community, the competition that exist in the culture as well as the evaluation of one’s own work. Within the organization roles if there is conflict about what is expected, unclear expectation and an overload of work to be done.
As a supervisor burnout can happen at any-time especially when there is a lack of help and decision making abilities . Whether you have the support you need or not preventing burnout is something all organizations should strive to prevent. Burnout can and does have and negative impact on the workforce as well as the organization ability to deliver proper services. For the organization as a whole the way that a organization is structure may preventing burnout. Some of the ways organizations can assist in preventing burnout might be to allow workers to flex their time so that they don’t constantly work with the same clients at any given time. Caseloads can also be lightened to assist in this as well.
Organization can create better opportunities for employees to advance and move from departments to departments in order to prevent burnout as well. Personally, stress is something that affects all of us at one point or another in many forms of everyday life. Whether work related or personally the way a person reacts can and does make the difference in if burnout can and does appear. For me stress has been the highlight of my job lately, personally and work-related. The reaction has not been what may be considered the appropriate methods for handling burnout. Personally, there have been many sleepless nights, crying, and one’s of pure frustration. At work it has been the occasional snappy attitude with my staff and the current attitude if the work gets done then it gets done. In order to reduce the effects of stress you must first acknowledge that you can’t do all the work and when help is needed then it should be sought after. Once it has been established that I’m not able to do it all. Reducing my workload and flexing the time put into each clients allotted time. Working on the most important things first, then moving on to the next is also helpful for me. In order to assist with it is important to include the thoughts and ideas of employees that work day-to-day with clients to ensure that their needs for help are being met, as well as creating was to assist them with their needs. Staff in-service training is a perfect way to find out the needs of employees and listen to ways to help them. Managers key role in preventing burnout is to change the routine of the structure and patterns that increase rewards for their workers. Some of the things that human service managers need to be alert are absenteeism, loss of motivation, and the number of errors an employee may begin to make. Many organization should and are ready to assist with programs such as the (EAP’s). These programs can and usually provide some type of counseling or crisis management programs to help employees that may be struggling with not only work related problems but family struggles as well. The best way to address these issues I believe begins with the relationship an employee may have with the supervisor.

References:
Lewis, J. A., Packard, T. R., & Lewis, M. D. (2007). Management of human service programs (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning -Cengage

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