Inherent and external rewards and stresses in delivering healthcare

Inherent and external rewards and stresses in delivering healthcare

Working as a frontline healthcare provider, it’s sometimes difficult for us to take the time to figure out what are the internal and external pros and cons of our jobs. We can all probably rattle off a couple off the top of our heads, but what about when we start getting to more abstract concepts like ‘culture’ or burnout? How do we rationalise that we like being a nurse or a doctor, but we no longer get ‘joy’ from our job? When do the scales tip from gaining more than we give to our job?

In this article, the author helps describe the balance of inherent and external stresses and rewards that need to be recognised and addressed. You can have ten incredibly grateful and thankful patients one after another, but if the workplace environment or culture is damaging or chaotic, the employee can still operate in an emotional deficit where the productivity and quality of care delivery are negatively affected. We can self-care all we want, but twelve shifts in a row is almost impossible to navigate in a way that allows us to offer excellent care, whilst maintaining a healthy psychological and physical state – never mind being a functional parent or partner or carer or student once home.

‘Addressing external stress and rewards requires real efforts to reduce dysfunction in the environment and optimize the process of providing care. This includes promoting resilience and wellness to help clinicians cope with the intensity and volume of their work, but it also means making tangible progress in reducing the negatives in the work environment that lead to burnout. Among the most important efforts are, first, designing high-functioning teams and processes that allow each member to work at the top of their license, and second, increasing the efficiency and use of EMRs so that clinicians can spend more time interacting with patients. If external stressors become overwhelming, no amount of inherent reward can counterbalance them.’

Is it useful to measure our inherent rewards and stresses, and the external counterparts, at individual and organisational levels? What does this data help us achieve?

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