Study Points

Managing and Preventing Burnout

Course #71464 - $20 • 4 Hours/Credits

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    • Review the course material online or in print.
    • Complete the course evaluation.
    • Review your Transcript to view and print your Certificate of Completion. Your date of completion will be the date (Pacific Time) the course was electronically submitted for credit, with no exceptions. Partial credit is not available.
  1. A state of physiologic or psychologic response to internal or external stressors best describes

    FOUNDATIONS

    According to the American Psychological Association, stress is "a state of physiological or psychological response to internal or external stressors. Stress involves changing nearly every system of the body, influencing how people feel and behave" [1,2]. On the other hand, burnout is defined as [1,2]:

    Physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion, especially in one's job or career, accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance, and negative attitude towards oneself and others. It results from performing at a high level until stress and tension, especially from extreme and prolonged physical and mental exhaustion or an overburdening workload, take their toll.

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  2. The term burnout traces its origins back to which professional group?

    FOUNDATIONS

    Interestingly, the word burnout, as described in this passage, was first used by an American psychologist to describe the phenomenon that he observed in human service professionals with unmanageable numbers in their caseloads [3].

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  3. If stress implies that a person is dealing with too much, then burnout is best described as

    FOUNDATIONS

    It is clear that stress is not the same as burnout. The essential difference is that stress involves too much and burnout implies nothing at all and no hope of improvement. Burnout in workplaces is typically preceded by the mounting effects of stress that have accumulated and gone unaddressed. For some people, this stress builds over many years. For others, the breaking point can come much more rapidly. However, learning to prevent and to deal with stress now can help prevent burnout, which is a much more difficult condition to address with professionals.

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  4. Which of the following job conditions is considered likely to lead to stress?

    FOUNDATIONS

    It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and to evaluate the work environment for stressors that may be eliminated or lessened. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the following job conditions are most likely to lead to stress [4]:

    • Design of tasks: This includes factors such as long hours, infrequent breaks, heavy workloads, and constant requirement to complete duties that have very little meaning for the employee. The underutilization of an employee's skills and abilities falls into this category.

    • Management style: Poor communication within the work organization and employees feeling as if they do not have a voice in the organization can be a root of stress. This area also relates to companies who do not have family-friendly policies.

    • Interpersonal relationships: Relationships within the workplace can be the cause for stress in the workplace when the employee feels there is insufficient support or help from coworkers or supervisors or when the general environment of the workplace is negative.

    • Work roles: This includes feeling vague or uncertain about job responsibilities or feeling as if too many responsibilities have been assigned. This can also relate to taking on work that others within the company should be doing per their job descriptions.

    • Career concerns: This involves a large range of factors, from lack of job security and frenetic, unexpected changes within a company to feeling that there is no opportunity for advancement within the company.

    • Environmental conditions: Any part of the work environment that has an unpleasant or adverse effect, including poor air quality, high noise levels, or cramped office/cubicle space.

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  5. High noise levels on the job fall into what classification of stressors as identified by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)?

    FOUNDATIONS

    It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and to evaluate the work environment for stressors that may be eliminated or lessened. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the following job conditions are most likely to lead to stress [4]:

    • Design of tasks: This includes factors such as long hours, infrequent breaks, heavy workloads, and constant requirement to complete duties that have very little meaning for the employee. The underutilization of an employee's skills and abilities falls into this category.

    • Management style: Poor communication within the work organization and employees feeling as if they do not have a voice in the organization can be a root of stress. This area also relates to companies who do not have family-friendly policies.

    • Interpersonal relationships: Relationships within the workplace can be the cause for stress in the workplace when the employee feels there is insufficient support or help from coworkers or supervisors or when the general environment of the workplace is negative.

    • Work roles: This includes feeling vague or uncertain about job responsibilities or feeling as if too many responsibilities have been assigned. This can also relate to taking on work that others within the company should be doing per their job descriptions.

    • Career concerns: This involves a large range of factors, from lack of job security and frenetic, unexpected changes within a company to feeling that there is no opportunity for advancement within the company.

    • Environmental conditions: Any part of the work environment that has an unpleasant or adverse effect, including poor air quality, high noise levels, or cramped office/cubicle space.

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  6. Stressed individuals have no hope that they will feel better, even if everything were under control.

    FOUNDATIONS

    As discussed, stress involves too much: too many pressures that demand too much physically and psychologically. But, stressed individuals have hope that if everything were under control, they would feel better. Burnout, on the other hand, is characterized by feeling empty, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. Professionals experiencing burnout often do not see any hope of positive change in their situations [5]. One of the most common feelings associated with burnout is powerlessness. Several factors have been identified as prime causes of burnout [5]:

    • Work-related factors: This includes factors that are directly related to the work environment or expectations. Burnout can be caused by a workplace that is too stressful or, on the other extreme, is not challenging enough for the employee. The perception of a lack of control in the workplace or a lack of acknowledgement from management or coworkers can also cause burnout.

    • Lifestyle factors: Burnout can also occur when an employee has too many roles and responsibilities, works too many hours, or lacks support often provided through close, personal relationships. Similarly, burnout can be caused by a lack of sleep and personal time to relax and spend time with family and friends.

    • Personality factors: Certain employees may be particularly prone to burnout because of their personality type. For example, employees who are perfectionists, overachievers, or who take on more tasks without sharing responsibilities with other employees may experience burnout. Also, employees who have a more negative worldview may be more likely to burn out.

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  7. Burnout can be caused by a workplace that is too stressful or, on the other extreme, is not challenging enough for the employee.

    FOUNDATIONS

    As discussed, stress involves too much: too many pressures that demand too much physically and psychologically. But, stressed individuals have hope that if everything were under control, they would feel better. Burnout, on the other hand, is characterized by feeling empty, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. Professionals experiencing burnout often do not see any hope of positive change in their situations [5]. One of the most common feelings associated with burnout is powerlessness. Several factors have been identified as prime causes of burnout [5]:

    • Work-related factors: This includes factors that are directly related to the work environment or expectations. Burnout can be caused by a workplace that is too stressful or, on the other extreme, is not challenging enough for the employee. The perception of a lack of control in the workplace or a lack of acknowledgement from management or coworkers can also cause burnout.

    • Lifestyle factors: Burnout can also occur when an employee has too many roles and responsibilities, works too many hours, or lacks support often provided through close, personal relationships. Similarly, burnout can be caused by a lack of sleep and personal time to relax and spend time with family and friends.

    • Personality factors: Certain employees may be particularly prone to burnout because of their personality type. For example, employees who are perfectionists, overachievers, or who take on more tasks without sharing responsibilities with other employees may experience burnout. Also, employees who have a more negative worldview may be more likely to burn out.

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  8. Which of the following is a prime cause of burnout?

    FOUNDATIONS

    As discussed, stress involves too much: too many pressures that demand too much physically and psychologically. But, stressed individuals have hope that if everything were under control, they would feel better. Burnout, on the other hand, is characterized by feeling empty, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. Professionals experiencing burnout often do not see any hope of positive change in their situations [5]. One of the most common feelings associated with burnout is powerlessness. Several factors have been identified as prime causes of burnout [5]:

    • Work-related factors: This includes factors that are directly related to the work environment or expectations. Burnout can be caused by a workplace that is too stressful or, on the other extreme, is not challenging enough for the employee. The perception of a lack of control in the workplace or a lack of acknowledgement from management or coworkers can also cause burnout.

    • Lifestyle factors: Burnout can also occur when an employee has too many roles and responsibilities, works too many hours, or lacks support often provided through close, personal relationships. Similarly, burnout can be caused by a lack of sleep and personal time to relax and spend time with family and friends.

    • Personality factors: Certain employees may be particularly prone to burnout because of their personality type. For example, employees who are perfectionists, overachievers, or who take on more tasks without sharing responsibilities with other employees may experience burnout. Also, employees who have a more negative worldview may be more likely to burn out.

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  9. Multiple stressors or life changes can contribute to the development of burnout.

    FOUNDATIONS

    Multiple stressors or life changes can also contribute to the development of burnout. The more life changes or daily inconveniences one experiences at any one time, the more intense the symptoms of stress [4]. It is important to remember that stress can accumulate. Perception of the stressor influences coping as well. The same stressor can have very different effects on different people. For example, public speaking is a stress for many, but others thrive on it. If a person is able to see some benefit to the situation, the stressor can be easier to deal with.

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  10. The presence of a support network can prevent the accumulation of stress.

    FOUNDATIONS

    Lastly, the presence of a support network can prevent the accumulation of stress [4]. A strong network of supportive friends and family members is an enormous buffer against life's stressors. Loneliness and isolation increase the risk of stress and burnout. Organizations can address this factor by fostering a positive work environment and ensuring that professionals have an outlet to discuss problems and potential solutions.

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  11. Which of the following are early physical signs of job stress?

    FOUNDATIONS

    There is a clear connection between workplace stress and physical and emotional problems. According to NIOSH, early warning signs of job stress include [4]:

    • Headache

    • Sleep disturbance

    • Upset stomach

    • Difficulty concentrating

    • Irritability

    • Low morale

    • Poor relations with family and friends

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  12. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, healthcare expenditures are how much greater for workers who report high levels of stress?

    FOUNDATIONS

    Evidence suggests that workplace stress plays an important role in several types of ongoing health problems, especially cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal conditions, psychologic disorders, and workplace injury [5]. Several studies have further highlighted the hidden costs of stress and burnout. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, healthcare expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress [7]. According to the St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company, problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints than any other life stressor—more than financial or family problems [8].

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  13. Studies have shown a positive relationship between yogic breathing and the alleviation of

    DEEP BREATHING AND IMAGERY EXERCISES

    Breathing is something most people take for granted. However, not taking the time to really breathe can have serious ramifications on health and wellness. Some have suggested that slow, rhythmic breathing may be the basis of the mechanism synchronizing the brain and the autonomic response [9]. Furthermore, studies have shown a positive relationship between yogic breathing and alleviation of stress, anxiety, and depression [10,11,12].

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  14. In Eastern philosophies, breath is seen as

    DEEP BREATHING AND IMAGERY EXERCISES

    The Western medical definition of breath is the air inhaled and exhaled in respiration [13]. Clearly, the absence of breath is typically equated with the absence of life. Those who practice yoga or other Eastern philosophies view breath as even more significant. In Eastern conceptualizations, breath is a life force, the link between the physical and the spiritual. Because most people have not taken the time to notice their breathing patterns, starting breathing exercises can be difficult. Good breathing takes discipline and deliberate practice, but the effects on self-awareness and coping can be considerable.

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  15. The technical definition of imagery is the

    DEEP BREATHING AND IMAGERY EXERCISES

    Like breath work, imagery and meditation are also valuable, cost-effective skills that can be used to increase coping and resilience, but they also take practice and discipline. The technical definition of imagery is the "cognitive generation of sensory input from the five senses recalled from experience or self-generated in a non-experienced form" [1]. Imagery is often conceptualized as putting the imagination to work. Of course, imagery in therapy can be a positive activity used to enhance relaxation or build positive coping skills, or it can be used to promote catharsis of negative, traumatic memories. Imagery, also called visualization, is a powerful tool. Although the concept of meditation often has spiritual connotations, it can simply be viewed as extended thought, reflection, or contemplation for the purpose of restoring a sense of balance. Clearly, imagery and meditation can go hand-in-hand. Whether used together or independently, both can help restore a professional balance.

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  16. Imagery is also called

    DEEP BREATHING AND IMAGERY EXERCISES

    Like breath work, imagery and meditation are also valuable, cost-effective skills that can be used to increase coping and resilience, but they also take practice and discipline. The technical definition of imagery is the "cognitive generation of sensory input from the five senses recalled from experience or self-generated in a non-experienced form" [1]. Imagery is often conceptualized as putting the imagination to work. Of course, imagery in therapy can be a positive activity used to enhance relaxation or build positive coping skills, or it can be used to promote catharsis of negative, traumatic memories. Imagery, also called visualization, is a powerful tool. Although the concept of meditation often has spiritual connotations, it can simply be viewed as extended thought, reflection, or contemplation for the purpose of restoring a sense of balance. Clearly, imagery and meditation can go hand-in-hand. Whether used together or independently, both can help restore a professional balance.

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  17. Possibly the most common excuse for not engaging in self-care activities is

    MAKING TIME

    Lack of time is possibly the most common excuse professionals give when they are not engaging in self-care activities. In the modern era, when productivity equals survival, it can be too easy to justify not having the time or resources to take care of oneself. However, it is important for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of stress and/or burnout to consider the costs of not making time to reduce stress. Persons who are burned out have difficulty engaging in all aspects of their lives and being there for family and friends. As discussed, stress and burnout also negatively impact productivity. This is particularly important for professionals whose relentless quest to complete tasks is affecting their work and personal lives.

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  18. Professionals who are in recovery should remember that

    CONSIDERATIONS FOR PROFESSIONALS IN RECOVERY

    Many behavioral health professionals enter their chosen field because they have had their own experiences with recovery from an addiction, a mental health issue, or a medical issue. The desire to help others often stems from their gratitude that someone once helped them. Recovering professionals may offer important insights to what clients and patients experience. However, it is important to remember that working with recovering patients is not a way to ensure your own personal wellness and recovery. Being healthy as a professional is contingent upon being healthy as a person. Professionals who are in recovery may have to be especially attentive to their own plans of recovery in order to meet the emotional demands of their profession.

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  19. Compassion fatigue

    COMPASSION SATISFACTION AND FATIGUE (CSF) TEST AND SCORING

    Compassion fatigue, or vicarious or secondary trauma, is a term used to describe the emotional exhaustion associated with caregiving. It is relatively common among those in the helping professions, particularly those who care for trauma victims [15,16]. While related to stress and burnout, compassion fatigue is generally brought on by a specific situation [17,18]. Furthermore, those experiencing compassion fatigue retain the capacity for caring, unlike those with burnout. However, an accumulation of stressors can lead to a progression from compassion fatigue to burnout if symptoms are not adequately addressed. On the opposite end of the spectrum, compassion satisfaction refers to the positive feelings associated with helping others through one's work.

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  20. Compassion satisfaction refers to the positive feelings associated with work acknowledgements and promotions.

    COMPASSION SATISFACTION AND FATIGUE (CSF) TEST AND SCORING

    Compassion fatigue, or vicarious or secondary trauma, is a term used to describe the emotional exhaustion associated with caregiving. It is relatively common among those in the helping professions, particularly those who care for trauma victims [15,16]. While related to stress and burnout, compassion fatigue is generally brought on by a specific situation [17,18]. Furthermore, those experiencing compassion fatigue retain the capacity for caring, unlike those with burnout. However, an accumulation of stressors can lead to a progression from compassion fatigue to burnout if symptoms are not adequately addressed. On the opposite end of the spectrum, compassion satisfaction refers to the positive feelings associated with helping others through one's work.

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  21. Which of the following has NOT been identified by NIOSH as an essential component of a self-care plan?

    DEVELOPING A SELF-CARE PLAN

    NIOSH has identified the three essential components of a self-care plan [4]:

    • Balance between work and family or personal life

    • A support network of friends and coworkers

    • A relaxed and positive outlook

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  22. Which of the following actions may be taken at work to address feelings of stress and/or burnout?

    DEVELOPING A SELF-CARE PLAN

    While this is a good overall framework, many professionals require more specific strategies that will bring the framework to life. The following actions can be taken at work to address feelings of stress and/or burnout; some may be more realistic or applicable than others, depending upon the situation [5]:

    • Clarify your job description

    • Request a transfer

    • Ask for new duties

    • Take time off

    • Resist perfectionism

    • Flip negative thinking and look for the positive

    • Take a time out

    • Talk about perceived problems or issues

    • Recognize sources of support at work

    • Find humor in the situation

    • Learn how to say "no"

    • Avoid people who add stress

    • Take control of your environment

    • Avoid hot-button topics

    • Pare down your to-do list

    • Express and share your feelings

    • Be willing to compromise

    • Be more assertive

    • Manage your time better

    • Do not try to control the uncontrollable

    • Learn to forgive

    • Reframe problems

    • Look at the big picture

    • Do something you enjoy every day

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  23. Which of the following strategies is NOT recommended as a healthy self-care measure?

    DEVELOPING A SELF-CARE PLAN

    While these suggestions may improve a work situation or environment, it is also vital to address stressors in one's personal life. One way to do this is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Take time to engage in activities that nourish the body and/or mind in a positive way, such as [5]:

    • Exercising regularly

    • Eating a healthy diet

    • Sleeping seven to eight hours per night

    • Spending time in nature

    • Talking to a supportive friend

    • Writing in a journal

    • Taking a long bath

    • Playing with a pet

    • Getting a massage

    • Reading

    • Listening to music

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  24. The ACE technique acronym stands for

    DEVELOPING A SELF-CARE PLAN

    The acronym ACE (accept, change, or eliminate) can help one explore available options when feeling stuck or overwhelmed. These options are available in any situation in which one is feeling trapped or stressed. The situation can either be accepted for what it is, changed to the extent possible (which generally means changing something about oneself), or eliminated (e.g., leaving a toxic work environment). After the option has been selected, it should not be revisited until it either continues to add stress or may be addressed more completely.

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  25. Which of the following is an example of a positive affirmation?

    DEVELOPING A SELF-CARE PLAN

    Examples of positive affirmations include:

    • I can do this.

    • I am capable.

    • I have dealt with this before; I can do it again.

    • I can handle whatever comes.

    • Challenges bring opportunities.

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  • Back to Course Home
  • Participation Instructions
    • Review the course material online or in print.
    • Complete the course evaluation.
    • Review your Transcript to view and print your Certificate of Completion. Your date of completion will be the date (Pacific Time) the course was electronically submitted for credit, with no exceptions. Partial credit is not available.