Option 2: Burnout “happens when a person experiences physical, psychological, and spiritual fatigue and is unable to cope” (Curtis & Manning, 2015, p. 432). Burnout can be caused by being overworked with too much pressure, as well as, being underworked and underappreciated. Burnout is not prejudice against age, sex, religion, or race. It can affect any level of worker, can affect relationships as well as affect personal health (Curtis & Manning, 2015, p. 432) .
Both stories are extremes of what can happen when a person burns out. Joe was very stressed about keeping up with the younger generation of coworkers as well as life stresses of providing for his family. Joe suffered a heart attack as a result of his stressors and burnout. The ambulance attendant struggled to cope with the stresses of his work, a failing marriage and overindulgence in alcohol. When he reached his burnout point, he and his partner took their frustrations and rage out on a patient whom they let die rather than try to save (Curtis & Manning, 2015, pp. 432-433).
I know of a Paramedic who became the victim of burnout after years of work in Emergency Medicine. Burnout in EMS can be attributed to several causes, “performance in potentially hostile or hazardous environments, repeated exposure to traumatic situations, the physical demands of the occupation, the strains of shift work, and the organizational and leadership stressors spawned by the hierarchical cultures prevalent in EMS” (Boland, Kinzy, Myers, Fernstrom, Kamrud, Mink & Stevens, 2018). This line of work is very high stressed and without proper outlets can take its toll on someone.
The Paramedic I mention, we will call him Pete, had been working in EMS for over 20 years when he completely burned out. Pete and his partner had a very rough and trying shift when they responded to a man down. Upon arrival at the scene they found a man who was heavily intoxicated, no longer able to protect his airway and needed to be intubated. Pete had reached his breaking point as this gentleman was what they called a “frequent flyer.” Pete administered succinyl choline to paralyze the man and then walked away. Pete did not administer the Etomidate to sedate the man in order to complete the intubation process. Pete’s partner and fellow Paramedic immediately took over patient care. He medicated and intubated the man and provided ventilations as Pete drove the ambulance to the ER. Pete immediately submitted his resignation and never worked EMS again. The man was not harmed and made a full recovery, thanks to Pete’s partner.
Burnout can be overcome by simple tasks such as deep breathing, positive self-talk, and talking with a friend or family member. More in-depth techniques are reducing your workload, setting priorities, finding positives, having personal time away from stressors, and exercising ( (Curtis & Manning, 2015, p. 437).
Boland, L. L., Kinzy, T. G., Myers, R. N., Fernstrom, K. M., Kamrud, J. W., Mink, P. J., & Stevens, A. C. (2018). Burnout and Exposure to Critical Incidents in a Cohort of Emergency Medical Services Workers from Minnesota. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine: Integrating Emergency Care with Population Health, 19(6), 987–995. https://doi-org.chamberlainuniversity.idm.oclc.org…
Curtis, K., & Manning, G. (2015). The Art of Leadership 5th Edition (pp 432-437). New York: McGraw Hill Education.