"She worked so hard to become a physician!  Her goal had always been to provide quality medical care to the poor.  Attending the very best medical schools, gaining double Board Certifications, saddled with heavy debt and having built her own private practice, this brilliant physician stared at the balance sheet.  She finished a difficult year of intensive overtime, increased time away from the direct care of her patients to complete insurance reviews and increasing challenges “handling” a staff that just did not care.  She spends inordinate amounts of time arguing with people.  The insurance companies who denied needed care, staff who would not clean the dishes in the kitchen, her office staff who were slow to bill out for services, patients who would not listen to her directions, all were privy to her commentary.  Looking at the balance sheet, she had not made one dime for the whole year.  Her debt was insurmountable.  She had to make a change to no longer accept Medicaid or Medicare and this broke her heart.  Serving the poor is what brought her to medicine, how she had to serve only those that could afford top dollar for her services, just to keep her head above water."

                                                                                                                          Susan…MD, 28 years

"How did this happen?  How did this competent direct services worker lose it?  Sitting alone, unemployed, career ruined, he contemplates what happened.  The teen was angry, yelling and threatening but that was an everyday occurrence.  Why had he snapped this time and attacked back?  He had never lost his patience before, much less become violent.  As he thought back, he realized he didn’t even remember what led him to such behavior.  He simply didn’t remember.  He didn’t remember how tired he was of being called ugly names, being cursed at and put down.  He didn’t remember the youth spit at him.  He didn’t remember the youth hit his glasses, so he could not see and panicked.  All he knew is that he was done.  He was now a charged criminal.  The legal system he defended was now prosecuting him for child endangerment.  He wondered why he did not pay attention to his sleepless nights, growing agitation with clients and sense of hopelessness about making a positive impact." 

                                                                                                            Jim…Mental Health Worker, 4 years

What can happen to a human services organization when the workers are overworked, stressed, and on the brink of burnout and no one is taking the time to notice. Administration has the responsibility to set the culture which includes providing support and the necessary tools to get the job done.  Additionally, they are ultimately responsible to ensure that mandates are met and that appropriate services are provided to individuals and families. Overworked staff make mistakes. Unfortunately, in some professions, mistakes can be disastrous and sometimes fatal. Calling to check on the well-being of a baby that was just placed back in the home instead of personally visiting the home or loosing that new CPS complaint under a mountain of paper can have serious implications. We all get tired and make mistakes, however, mechanisms need to be in place to assess and support staff to minimize harm to the client, the staff and the organization overall. 


She became a teacher because she loved seeing the light bulb go off when her students acquired a new skill or learned something new.  She worked hard every day to ensure her students had the best day possible. She worked in an urban setting where most of her students had difficult challenges at home that bled over into the school day. Then personal tragedy struck.  Her father was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and a few days later, her mother became seriously ill and was hospitalized.  The pressure to care for her parents and be there for her students became too much.  She began to forget details; did I turn in those lesson plans?  What day do I have to go and learn how to care for my dad after his surgery?  Her temper became shorter and shorter and she found herself incapable of running her classroom without screaming at the kids for most of the day.  She also found herself with losing patience with her mom and dad; not allowing them to do things because she could do it faster.  She was so tired even when she woke up and she wondered, how did I get into this predicament."                                                                                               


                                                                                                 Sheila, Teacher 15 years


"Reverend Smith started Church from the ground up.  In the early days, he so enjoyed is small congregation that met each Sunday in the small space of the abandoned strip shopping mall.  He planned his weekly sermons carefully, always with the goal of providing a positive spiritual message of hope.  To his surprise, the Church grew very quickly to a membership of 300.  He found he was spending less time planning his weekly sermons as we were spending each night at the hospital with church members who were ill or dying.  During the day hours he was comforting family members, helping families with what felt like a never-ending barrage of problems.  He found himself rushing through his time with his dying patients, he found himself becoming more serious with everyone.  He did not find humor in much.  When he did arrive home at night, he barely spoke to his family because he was so exhausted.  Finally, his wife told him she had reached her patience point, it was the family or the Church…"

                                                                                                 Rev. Smith…Pastor, 15 years

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