September 14, 2021 3 min read

The HFEA Code of Conduct highlights that there is a well-established link between physician burnout and bad patient care and safety, and a recent report from the Royal College of Physicians stressed that staff mental and physical health ensures value-for-money, sustainable services with high-quality patient care.’

Over the years there has been much research into the challenges faced by staff in medical settings, looking at the impact on the staff’s wellbeing, but also the subsequent care they provide to patients, with fertility clinic specific research completed in 2015.

The study reviewed 18 previous studies, which showed that poorer doctor wellbeing was associated with higher likelihood of doctors delivering suboptimal care and a lower likelihood of delivering better quality care. In contrast, higher doctor wellbeing was associated with higher patient satisfaction and better compliance. 

Patients expect their physicians to treat them with empathy and be on the ball with their treatment plan. They are vulnerable and feel out of control. They want to know that the people whose hands they are putting their future in are fully in control and know what they are doing.

The studies indicate that factors such as stress and burnout impact healthcare provision and patient outcomes. Medical staff with less stress, more support and coping mechanisms have more energy and mental resources to direct their full attention to patients. It also impacts on staff job satisfaction and retention.

Over the years I have run workshops on staff wellbeing for some brilliant clinics that really prioritise their staff's emotional wellbeing. Some of the feedback from the staff survey's is that they are feeling;

  • Stressed
  • Overwhelmed
  • Unable to switch off at home
  • A loss of control
  • Feeling grief for their patients

These feelings will be heightened in the current situation, where they are worried for their patients emotional wellbeing, concerned about the ongoing risk to their own health and emotionally drained from trying to catch up with the appointments that were cancelled during lockdown.

The fertility clinic setting is filled with a lack of control, helplessness and emotional challenges for patients. Caregivers often bear the brunt of this emotionally charged journey and require skills to understand and support patients, so they can deliver compassionate patient-centred care.  

Do you ask your staff on a regular basis how they are feeling?

Do you offer training, resources or services to emotionally support your staff?

By ensuring your staff are fully supported, maintaining their wellbeing and in a good place, you will ensure your patients get the care they need and that they feel like they are important.

Think about how you can provide support for staff:
  • In the clinic - setting boundaries and giving them tools to prevent burnout and cope in difficult situations.
  • After their shift finishes - helping them switch off after the emotionally charged day they may have had.
  • How staff can support each other?
  • What can you do as a clinic to support your staff?

Staff support, training (CPD) and provision of resources is important to prevent potential burnout of staff, poor job satisfaction and high staff turnover, which in turn compromises patient care and pregnancy rates.

I run training workshops that provide patient care staff and managers the understanding and practical tools to look after their wellbeing at work, set clear boundaries around work/life balance and support each other in the clinic setting, to support their own mental health and ultimately provide high levels of care to patients.

If you would like more information on staff wellbeing workshops, please email me at and we can talk about how I can create a workshop specifically based on your staff's needs.

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