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4 Ways Pathologists' Assistant and Histotech Burnout Can Impact Your Lab

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portrait stressed sad young woman outdoors. City urban life style stressStress and anxiety have a significant impact on pathology and histology labs. Facility and lab directors understand that professional burnout continues to gain momentum within the healthcare industry. However, many believe that workplace stress is only prevalent in other medical specialties and that pathology and histology labs are exempt from this growing healthcare phenomenon. 

Professional Stress Impacts All Lab Workers

Not (entirely) true. While pathologists, pathologists’ assistants, and histotechs typically report fewer chronic burnout cases than other specialists, professional tension in the lab occurs more often than you may expect. Recent statistics from the American Medical Association (AMA) show that 32% of pathologists admit to experiencing professional burnout. 

Pathologists’ assistants and histotechs are not immune to experiencing various levels of stress at work. A recent report released by the American Journal of Clinical Pathology took a deep dive into workplace satisfaction and burnout at U.S. labs. According to the data, PAs and histotechs do enjoy relatively high levels of job fulfillment. 

Of the histotechnologists, histotechnicians, and pathologists’ assistants surveyed, the following percentages said they were somewhat to very satisfied:

HTs: 65.2%
HTLs: 65.2%
PAs: 70.9%

Still, the same group of lab professionals polled also acknowledged at least feeling occasional burnout at work:

HTs: 78.1%
HTLs: 83.1%
PAs: 82.4%

Lab Stress and Anxiety Can Take a Toll in Several Significant Ways

Of course, surveys can be subjective and influenced by a wide range of factors. However, numbers this high indicate that burnout is a viable consideration for facility directors charged with keeping their lab fully staffed and operational at all times. Failing to monitor workplace stress can impact labs in several significant ways:

Decreased Productivity
Excess stress and exhaustion can rapidly increase lab anxiety levels, eventually impeding workflows. Lab directors may find that burnout slows down output, causing PAs and histotechs to miss deadlines and quotas. 

Lower Quality Work
Not only do stress and anxiety lower productivity, but they can also lower the quality of  a lab’s output. Employees that feel stretched too thin may find it challenging to stay focused on the task at hand, increasing the risk of mistakes. 

When left unmanaged, stressed-out workers may decide to leave a facility in search of a more positive work environment. Lab managers and pathologists quickly realize that the cost of lab turnover exceeds just salary replacement. Every lost resource means reconciling lost time, knowledge,
and training expenses for new hires. 

Leaves, Absences, and Lack of Motivation
Stressed and worried pathologists’ assistants and histotechs may take more frequent PTO days, leaves, and sick time to recover and practice self-care. Additionally, even when at work, an exhausted employee may suffer from limited motivation, arriving late, taking extra breaks, and struggling to stay focused. 

Lab Staffing Recruiters Can Help Alleviate Burnout Impact at Your Facility

Working with a skilled lab recruiter who has direct pathology lab experience can help reduce the impact of burnout within your facility.  A PA(ASCP)-certified recruiter knows firsthand how stress and anxiety can influence lab workers and lab output. An experienced staffing firm will work closely with your lab, outlining a flexible hiring plan that uses temp, temp-to-perm, and permanent placement strategies to find the best match for your operations. 

Contact Nicklas Medical Staffing Today 

Contact Nicklas Medical Staffing to learn more about using our staffing services to keep your pathology and histology lab working efficiently and compliantly. Be sure to download our PDF  Build a Strategic (and Realistic) Pathology/Histology Lab Staffing Plan” for further tips and suggestions on filling in potential hiring gaps in your lab.

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