Acute care speech-language pathologists deal with many moderate to severe patients, especially since the COVID-19 crisis began. Although SLPs in this field experience rewarding wins, they also suffer losses. The reality of working in acute care — and in a medical setting in general — is that your patients could deteriorate.
Naturally, such experiences can take a toll on SLPs in this setting. That’s something The Missing Link guest Jenni Provda touched on during her recent appearance on the podcast. Fortunately, she’s found some ways to stave off burnout. Here’s what she finds helpful when she’s feeling like she’s had enough.
Leave Work at Work
Being an SLP can require clinicians to work longer hours or be on call, but that doesn’t mean they need to embrace an at-work mindset 24/7. Jenni finds it helpful to leave work at work, especially on the days where things get difficult. Shutting off can prove incredibly helpful for SLPs who are feeling overwhelmed, even if it means just kicking back with a glass of wine or spending a night with yourself.
These moments of letting go and relaxing will allow you to return to work recharged rather than dwelling on the problems and burning out.
Time to yourself is crucial to recharge, but so is spending time with your loved ones. Jenni likened fostering relationships to switching hats: When you leave work, you take off your SLP hat and put on your parent hat, partner hat, or friend hat.
Again, dwelling on what happened during the workday can be tempting, but it won’t do you any good in the long run. Building and maintaining a support system, however, will help put things in perspective. It will also ensure you have loved ones to lean on when the beginnings of burnout strike.
Take Time Away
Jenni used to vacation regularly prior to COVID, and getting away from work has a host of benefits for SLPs. Much like leaving job concerns at your job can help you recharge on a daily level, making a point of taking prolonged breaks allows clinicians to replenish their energy on a grander scale.
Even if you’re unable to travel, especially under the current circumstances, taking a staycation and spending time on relationships and other hobbies can have a similar effect.
Remind Yourself of Your Wins
On The Missing Link, we always recount why we chose to become SLPs. That’s because difficulties and losses can often overshadow the reason we got into the profession in the first place: to help people.
Looking back on the times you have helped patients can help ease the losses. After all, your success stories can be tremendously rewarding — and remind you of all the good you’re doing, even on days when it doesn’t feel like it.
Did you know Mattie provides coaching to SLPs? Learn more here.