CHRISTOPHER ERIAN, DAVID BADE & MICHAEL ERIAN
Burnout in health care undermines the safety of patients and practitioners alike. Burnout is a serious problem in the hospital system in Australia with studies showing up to 58% of Australian health care workers report feeling moderate to severe burnout. A recent parliamentary inquiries into rural hospitals found unacceptable levels of harassment, victimisation, bullying and cover-ups in NSW hospitals, reinforcing studies that have found that up to 50% of doctors and trainees (not including medical students) have experienced bullying, discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment in the hospital system.
Why is this useful for rural and remote people to read?
This document is useful to read by rural and remote people because it is important for rural people to understand the risks that burnout and bullying in public hospitals create for the loss of precious health staff in their communities. It makes clear that reforming the culture of the rural hospital system is critical to the sustainability of health services in rural and remote town, and as such it is not an organisational issue but an issue for the whole community. One way in which rural and remote health communities may be able help is to monitor the well-being of health staff in their communities and look for indicators of burnout, stress or unfair treatment. Where necessary, communities may raise concerns through the hospital operator, lodge a whistleblower complaint using the appropriate channels, or build a community campaign to advocate for staff affected to make them feel supported by their local community and seek reform of workplace practices. Rural hospital services may need to adopt, or revise existing, policies to ensure that staff have a good work/life balance, access employee assistance programs and have clear and transparent mechanisms to report unfair treatment and have it resolved.
RURAL HEALTH & MEDICAL WORKFORCE
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