Causes and Prevention of Burnout in Human Services Staff

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Causes and Prevention of Burnout in Human Service Staff Paper BSHS/462—Building Community in Organizations
Jeffrey Codner
November 1, 2010

Causes and Prevention of Burnout in Human Service Staff Paper

Burnout is a condition that can affect people in different ways and in all career choices. Burnout is also a condition that is brought on by stressors that have built up in an individual’s professional and personal life. Burnout can cause employees to become disillusioned and develop a non-caring attitude about work-related and personal issues. This paper will explore the definition of burnout, factors that cause burnout and methods to prevent burnout. The writer will also examine his own personality and share how to react and respond to personal and work-related stress. Lastly, the writer will discuss how a human service manager will be alert and assist staff with burnout.


Helpguide (2010) describes burnout as a state emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress, which occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. In a situation where an employee used to display extreme high energy towards a job along with motivation and commitment, burnout causes them to lose interest, feel useless, and incompetent. This condition is found in individuals who work in high-stress workplace environments. Lewis, Lewis and Packard (2007) describe three major factors of burnout as emotional exhaustion, a feeling of low personal accomplishment with clients, and a sense of depersonalization. When this occurs human service workers have a dehumanizing, uncaring attitude toward clients (Lewis, Lewis and Packard 2007).

When the human services worker’s attitude toward the client is affected, then his productivity within the organization is affected also. Burnout affects the workers as well as well as the organization. An organization suffers from burnout by having high turnover rates, employees calling in...
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