There has been a good deal of research published on staff burnout generally. The term “burnout” describes workers’ reactions to the chronic stress common in occupations involving numerous direct interactions with people.
With the relentless pace of the day-to-day job, high workloads and the focus on dealing with the next crisis, there is the risk of staff burnout developing unnoticed. In the long-term, this is not helpful for the practitioner, the organisation, the offender and the general public. This chapter focuses on the signs of staff burnout so that you can be aware of how working with PD offenders can affect you personally. It also looks at a number of strategies that could help to protect you from burnout.
So what are the signs of burnout? The box (below) shows the three main components to look out for.
The unfortunate consequences of burnout can be deterioration in the quality of care or service that practitioners provide, high staff turnover, staff absenteeism, low morale, increase in mistakes made, personal distress, problems with sleep, increased alcohol use, marital and family problems, and developing a feeling that nothing works.
The personal risks for staff of burnout include:
|Increased blood pressure||Depression and mental exhaustion|
|Coronary heart disease||Change in professional goals|
|Poor immune system||Psychological withdrawal from work|
|Recurring illnesses||Growing concern for self instead of others|
|Physical exhaustion.||Dread about work|
|Negative attitude towards life in general.|
|Emotional exhaustion or detachment||Feeling isolated from colleagues|
|Irritable and impatient towards others||Rude towards offenders|
|Depersonalisation of clients.||No time for colleagues or activities|
|Unwillingness to help offenders.|