How Your Gratitude Matters and Helps to Reduce Hospital Caregiver Burnout

by Bruce A. Bartoo, CFRE, Chief Philanthropy Officer, Senior Vice President, Philanthropy
July 10, 2019

What comes to mind when you hear “philanthropy"?

By definition, it is the Greek word for “love of humankind.”

When you chose to express gratitude after an exceptional care experience, you serve as a direct example of this definition. Your expression of gratitude can be shown in many ways, for instance, by giving a verbal “thank you” to honoring a nurse, therapist, physician, or other caregiver through a philanthropic gift, or via a simple written thank you note. By expressing your gratitude, did you know that you can often positively impact your caregiver’s day and help deliver a great experience to other patients as well?

Many people don’t realize the greater impact that simple acts of gratitude can have, and how gratitude matters – to those who express it and those who receive those expressions.

Why Caregivers Face Burnout

As with many professionals, caregivers face challenges in their work environment. Not only are they serving people at an often hectic pace, but ensuring positive experiences in the midst of providing the best health care can be stressful at times. In addition, technology is rapidly changing the nature of the healthcare workplace, enhancing quality and safety, but also challenging the interpersonal relationships that are such an important part of care experiences.

Because of these and other challenges, caregivers often report feelings of frustration and less fulfillment at work. In fact, according to a recent physician lifestyle report by MedScape, a staggering 46 percent of doctors reported that they felt the negative effects of burnout. Common symptoms of burnout include:

  • Appetite changes
  • Depression, or feelings of sadness and loss of interest in normal activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

As burnout often impacts caregivers’ well-being, studies show that it can lead to decreased efficiency on the job, dissatisfaction with work, negative attitudes, emotional exhaustion, and reduced patient satisfaction, among other effects.

It might be hard to imagine that the caregiver to whom you are grateful is actually experiencing signs of burnout. After all, they may have made a significantly positive impact on your health, healing, and recovery. And yet, through all that positive interaction, they might actually be struggling with burnout.

It seems logical that one possible way you can help to combat caregiver burnout is by doing something that many patients and families naturally want to do: expressing gratitude during or after a positive care experience.

Hospital #caregivers often feel pressure at work. A recent study indicated 46% of doctors report feelings of burnout. One way we can help is by expressing gratitude after positive care experiences. Learn how those expressions can inspire caregivers.

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How Showing Gratitude Helps Caregivers

We’ve heard from countless doctors, nurses, and therapists over the years who indicated that receiving a heartfelt “thank you” brightened their day. When you thank care providers, it puts a smile on their faces, gives greater meaning to their work, and positively impacts them. Your recognition serves as inspiration. And, your expression of gratitude often serves as a reminder to caregivers of why they chose the healthcare profession: to serve others.

Gratitude matters, and its effects create lasting impact on you and the care team. Many patients have shared that expressing gratitude helped them during their healing process. Check out these gratitude stories from some of our patients.

Related Reading: Gratitude Matters: Saying Thanks to Caregivers

Would you like to thank a MedStar Health associate for making a positive impact
on your life or a loved one’s life?

Express Your Gratitude

Category: Living Well     Tags: behavioral healthcaregivingWellness