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Q&A: Battling Case Manager Burnout

Analysis  |  By Revenue Cycle Advisor  
   January 27, 2021

Colleen Morley, DNP, RN, CCM, CMAC, CMCN, ACM-RN and Ellen Fink-Samnick MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CCTP, CMHIMP, CRP, DBH(s) recommend several strategies to combat burnout.

A version of this article was first published January 27, 2021, by HCPro's Revenue Cycle Advisor, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders.

Q: With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic still going for nearly a full year, case managers everywhere are experiencing feelings of burnout. How can case managers combat these feelings and remain fresh and motivated?

A: Healthcare professionals were already struggling with stress and burnout before the pandemic, says Colleen Morley, DNP, RN, CCM, CMAC, CMCN, ACM-RN, president 2019-21 of CMSA Chicago. A pre-COVID-19 study performed in 2019 by the American Nurses’ Association health risk appraisal found that 82% of nurses believed they were at a significant risk for illness due to workplace stress. Now, the problems are much worse.

Morley and Ellen Fink-Samnick MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CCTP, CMHIMP, CRP, DBH(s), of EFS Supervision Strategies LLC in Burke, Virginia recommend several strategies to combat burnout, including the following:

  • Stay on track. Maintain as normal a schedule whenever possible, even if you are working from home. Get up and get dressed in the morning. Have a start time and an end time for work and schedule regular breaks and meals.  
  • Get moving. It can be tempting to slump on the couch during tumultuous times. But keeping up with some daily exercise, even taking a short walk, can pay dividends, says Fink-Samnick.
  • Schedule time for yourself. If you have an activity or practice that recharges you, put that self-care practice on your schedule so that you don’t miss it. Use an alarm or reminder just as you would for a work meeting. 
  • Feed yourself well. Practicing good nutrition is vital in times of stress, says Fink-Samnick. When you are under stress, levels of a hormone called cortisol in your blood rise. When cortisol rises, it sets off unhealthy metabolic changes that can promote damaging inflammation inside your body and cause you to start gaining weight around your midsection.
  • Limit your time online. The CDC also advises that when you are not at work, you should avoid coverage of the pandemic or reminders of it, which can help you take a mental break.
  • Be alert to signs of trouble. Very often when people are under extraordinary stress they may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Be certain to get help if you think your use is heading into problem territory, says the CDC.

For more information on this topic, see Case Management Monthly.

Revenue Cycle Advisor combines all of HCPro's Medicare regulatory and reimbursement resources into one handy and easy-to-access portal. News is not just repeated from other sources. It is analyzed by our Medicare experts so professionals can comprehend any new rule and regulatory updates thoroughly. Learn more.

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