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Confronting Burnout in Healthcare: Insightful Discussions Among Infection Preventionists

In a continuation of a closely watched round table discussion, the expert thoughts of seasoned infection preventionists (IPs) were recently shared with Infection Control Today® (ICT®). The panel of four IPs continued to explore the critical topic of burnout in the healthcare sector and discuss feasible solutions for this escalating problem. The focal points of the conversation were leadership roles, peer-to-peer support, and advocating for open talks within healthcare teams. Drawing from their hands-on experiences and advanced knowledge, these professionals delved into the multifaceted challenges IPs are currently facing, the demanding nature of their roles, and the urgency of devising comprehensive approaches to manage burnout.

The discussion shed light on practical strategies to reduce the workload of IPs, providing a valuable resource for healthcare professionals grappling with this pervasive issue. The round-table dialogue was part of Infection Control Today’s focus on mental health for the month. In the conversation, one panelist, Doran, highlighted the importance of regular check-ins with colleagues, encouraging open dialogue about stressors before they exacerbate into unmanageable issues. Another participant, Lamphier, recently transitioned from an IP to a managerial role. She offers perspective about maintaining the delicate balance between accomplishing managerial responsibilities and supporting her team. Lamphier advocates for managers to participate in activities that contribute to an IP’s daily tasks but often add up to a significant workload, thereby helping to prevent burnout at the team level.

Saunders joined the panel voicing her concern about the lack of frequent, open discussions about burnout. It’s not something that will magically disappear, she warns. Leadership is a key part of addressing this issue, requiring regular meetings and strategizing with staff to encourage open dialogue and vulnerability. Another contributor, Ward-Fore, emphasized the importance of seeking and offering support outside the infection prevention department, proving that ‘burnout’ is a widespread issue that resonates across various departments and professions.


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