Journal of Wellness


The Make ‘EM Well Project- Rewards and Recognition

Background: Physicians report high burnout levels and difficulty finding joy in work, causing a healthcare system crisis. Our institution assessed burnout by administering the Areas of Work-life (AWS) and Maslach Burnout Inventory™ (MBI) Surveys. Emergency Medicine (EM) results were alarming. Effectively rewarding and recognizing employees requires understanding different appreciation languages. Administrators should understand what enhances and detracts from joy in the workplace. This study describes the “Make ‘EM Well Project” and its focus on Rewards and Recognition (RR).

Methods: Two surveys were sent to EM providers including faculty, residents, fellows, and advanced practice providers (EMPs). Survey One determined ‘Work Appreciation Languages’. Survey Two, ‘Joy and What Matters,’ determined factors involved in workplace joy and described what matters to EMPs.

Results: Acts of service, quality time, and words of affirmation ranked highest as appreciation languages; human interactions mattered most (51%). Internal reward is derived from patient care and teaching Always/Very Often (A/VO) 68% of time, administrative duties A/VO 15%. Eighty percent of EMPs believe RR matter, occurring Sometimes/Rarely/Never (S/R/N) 91% of time. A good day consists of experiencing positive patient interactions (23%), having engaged learners (31%), and working with adequate resources (32%). Detractors from workplace joy include boarding/hallway care (19%), lack of time/resources/administrative issues (32%) and wasteful tasks (17%). Thirty six percent of EMPs feel devalued A/VO, and 68% feel underpaid. Hospital administration support is felt S/R/N in 86% of respondents. Fifty percent feel emergency department leaders listen S/R/N, 91% said hospital leaders listen S/R/N.

Conclusions: EMPs rate human interaction, sense of accomplishment, making an impact, and teaching as most important. External RR matter, though EMPs stated that these events rarely occur. RR should be spoken in the preferred languages of acts of service, quality time, and words of affirmation. EMPs feel devalued by administration and other physicians and many perceive lack of support.



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Appendix A



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