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Reducing Administrative Stress

By: Karen Matijak

Administrative stress can have a significant impact on the physical and emotional well-being of healthcare clinicians and can ultimately impact patient care. This article discusses a few common types of stress and provides some tactics to manage them.
Types of Administrative Stress and Tactics to manage stress:
1. Time pressure: Healthcare clinicians often work under tight deadlines and may struggle to complete their tasks. Prioritizing tasks based on their level of urgency and importance is critical and common practice to overcome the stress caused by time pressure. Consider creating a list of your activities along with the deadlines and then rank the importance of each one. Next, block your calendar with specific time slots so that you can work on completing them. As you review the tasks that are lower priority, consider delegating or eliminating any task of little value.
2. Communication breakdown: Communication errors, misunderstandings, and delays can cause stress and frustration. Improving communication channels between staff and patients can help reduce misunderstandings and mistakes. A few simple tactics are to consistently use a common language for communication between all parties, remove distractions, do not burden each other with excessive information or data, and be direct and concise in your communication. In addition, utilizing communication tools such as messaging apps, video conferencing, and electronic health records help minimize communication breakdown.
3. Regulatory compliance: Keeping up with changing regulations and policies can be overwhelming, and non-compliance can lead to penalties and fines. Streamlining workflows and reducing the number of steps in a process or automating repetitive tasks can help reduce the burden of administrative work. For example, setting up electronic prescription refill systems can save time and reduce the risk of errors.
4. Data overload: Healthcare clinicians are constantly bombarded with information, and it can be challenging to prioritize and manage it all. Educate staff regularly by providing training and education sessions to help clinicians stay up to date with regulatory compliance and policy changes. This will help reduce the stress associated with navigating complex regulations and policies.
5. Fatigue: Life becomes a balancing act, and sometimes there is not enough time in your day to get everything completed. Encourage work-life balance by taking breaks and engaging in activities that promote a more balanced day, such as scheduling time for exercise or hobbies. This can help reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being.
Administrative stress is a significant challenge healthcare clinicians face, and it can significantly impact patient care. By prioritizing tasks, improving communication, streamlining workflows, providing education, and encouraging work-life balance, healthcare clinicians can reduce the burden of administrative stress and improve their overall well-being.