In a study conducted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada where they surveyed healthcare professionals of different disciplines and workplaces (registered nurses, physicians, and other hospital and public health professionals), it was determined that 37% of Canadian healthcare professionals are experiencing burnout, 47% are considering leaving the profession, and only 60% are satisfied with the quality of care they provide. This then emphasizes the need for healthcare professionals to find ways for psychological self-care and to build resiliency in their healthcare careers.
In this article, we'll recap key points discussed in this Caring Support Podcast episode, gleaning from the workplace advice provided by Dr. Helen Ofosu offered for those wanting to get into or continue navigating their healthcare careers in Canada. Specifically, they discussed the following:
Dr. Helen Ofosu is an award-winning psychologist who initially worked as a federal public service personnel psychologist. According to her, her experience in this position helped her learn a lot about career development and evaluating people for job opportunities and access to developmental opportunities. Eventually, this experience made her decide to gradually transition into becoming an entrepreneur who helps solve challenging work-related problems for individuals and organizations.
Dr. Ofosu is also a strong advocate of taking care of the well-being of citizens of African descent, evident in her community involvements, which include being part of the advisory board of Black Mental Health Canada and being a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce.
Dr. Helen Ofosu's book, How to be Resilient in Your Career, Facing Up to Barriers at Work, is a critically acclaimed, self-help resource perfect for psychotherapists, social workers, or other people who support people who struggle with career issues and the professionals themselves that want to resolve their own career issues.
Drawing knowledge from Dr. Helen's 20-year experience, this book outlines common setbacks and obstacles that one may face during their career and offers practical and easy-to-follow advice to resolve these problems.
According to Dr. Helen, her inspiration for writing her book is two things: one is writing a book that she needed before, and another is providing value for professionals who come up to her and encounter common-themed career challenges in their lives.
Dr. Helen and the hosts discussed impostor syndrome, a mental health issue that describes the failure of an individual to believe in their capacity to achieve and deserve success. Moreover, Dr. Helen described impostor syndrome as "being when you have doubts about whether or not you belong somewhere where you're up to the task, despite the fact that you've done all the right things, you have objectively the right skills, the right experience."
Dr. Helen also further breaks down impostor syndrome into what she considers are two types:
Dr. Helen's idea of "micro-kindness" came to her when she read an article that her friend had written about big things that can make a workplace improve, where she realized that "...while we wait for all these big things, aren't there little things that each of us can do to make a workplace better?"
"Micro-kindness" is kind of like a positive counterpart of microaggressions. This is the idea that, when we're kinder, even in small ways to everyone we interact with, even in the absence of some of these big systemic changes, every work environment is going to be a lot better for it.
Dr. Helen provided and laid out comprehensive pieces of advice on building your resiliency through her book, How to be Resilient in Your Career, Facing Up to Barriers at Work. The Caring Support Podcast, however, was lucky enough to be able to get some general advice from Dr. Helen that a dietitian, a pharmacist, or any other healthcare worker in Manitoba, Alberta, and other provinces in Canada can implement in their professional lives to help them navigate their workplaces and build their resiliency.
It is said that a candidate can identify red flags of a toxic workplace as early as during the interview process. When asked about the "red flags" that people should be watching for during the interview process, here are some of the critical ideas that Dr. Helen pointed out, which she said are telltale signs that the job you're applying to might have a toxic workplace:
Professionals often face barriers at work, and healthcare workers are no different. With barriers ranging from communication to the proper use of personal protective equipment, healthcare workers face different barriers at work that can affect the way they perform their tasks. Dr. Ofosu weighed in on how professionals can successfully face barriers at their workplaces and cited the following tips:
Finally, the hosts and Dr. Helen discussed a very difficult decision on the part of every professional -- determining when it's time for them to move on from their current job. While there might be diverse reasons why people contemplate leaving their jobs, like wanting to feel respected and wanting a higher salary, here are three key signs, according to Dr. Helen, to watch out for to finally decide to make the big career decision:
This Caring Support Podcast episode with Dr. Helen Ofosu is a great starting point for people looking for ways to improve and overcome their career issues. Dr. Helen provided amazing insights and advice for a health care professional to effectively navigate their workplace and be the best that they can be.
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