Barbara Balik: Focus on System Issues, Not the Individual, to Prevent Burnout

The main causes of burnout stem from the system of the practice, not individual behaviors, said Barbara Balik, EdD, MS, RN, co-founder of Aefina Partners and senior faculty at the Institute of Healthcare Improvement.

Are there some bad practices that organizations looking to address clinician burnout should avoid?
One of the things that I’m seeing right now that does not contribute or help people find joy in work is that sole reliance on individual resiliency. So the belief that if I just helped you develop your resiliency maybe through great practices like mindfulness or wellness activities, then your burnout will go away. That is only part of the answer.

Some people believe that it’s about 80% systems issues and 20% individually. Whether, that’s the right percentage or not, I think it gives us an indication that far more things in the work environment, the care environment, the system in which we all function contributes to burnout far more than the individual. Solely functioning, focusing on the individual when it’s the system, that’s a mistake and I encourage people not to make that mistake. Identify what in the system is getting in the way of a good day.
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