How to Prevent and Address Nurse Burnout

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HealthWare Systems Blog

How to Prevent and Address Nurse Burnout

Posted on Friday, September 14, 2018

Address nurse burnout to improve clinician well-being and reduce nurse turnover.

Address nurse burnout to improve clinician well-being and reduce nurse turnover.

 

When hospitals address nurse burnout, they not only improve clinician well-being but also the well-being of their patients and revenue cycle.

 

As we discussed in our last post, the effects of nurse burnout have a critical impact on clinician well-being, patient satisfaction, patient safety, and the national nursing shortage.  Therefore, hospitals must address nurse burnout.

 

 

Here are a few ways health systems can prevent and address nurse burnout:

 

Maintain Adequate Staffing Levels – Understaffing contributes to nurse burnout because nurses become overworked in the form of longer shifts, more overtime, and heavier workloads.

 

Reduce Nurse Turnover Rates – High nurse turnover also places a heavier workload on your remaining nurses.  To reduce nurse turnover, many healthcare facilities are offering various incentives in exchange for a required minimum length of work from their nurses.

Millennial healthcare employees are especially drawn to organizations that invest in their education.  Offering educational or financial incentives like sign-on bonuses, scholarships, tuition reimbursement, and profit sharing is effective in retaining Millennial healthcare employees.

Another strategy is peer interviewing.  Allowing your nursing staff, who have firsthand knowledge of what it takes to succeed as a nurse at your facility, to interview applicants and contribute to hiring decisions can increase the likelihood the candidates you hire will be a good fit for your facility.  And, your staff may have an increased interest in helping those candidates adjust to their new positions if they helped choose them as new hires.

 

Create a Mentorship Program The nurse turnover rate for first-year nurses at Franciscan St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers in Indianapolis went from 31% to 10.3% thanks to its mentorship program.  A mentor can support his/her nurse mentee by acting as a role model and passing on skills, knowledge, and experience.  A mentor should also be a good listener, supportive and encouraging, and help build a mentee’s confidence.

 

Provide Emotional Support Research published in the journal Medical Care studied “compassion practices,” which “recognize and reward compassion in the workplace as well as provide compassionate support to health care employees.”  The study found that compassion practices positively affected nurse well-being and resulted in less emotional exhaustion and more psychological vitality.

Offering spiritual/emotional support services on your campus is one way you might support clinician well-being.

 

Alleviate Administrative Burdens In a national study conducted by RNnetwork, one of the top three reasons nurses gave for wanting to leave the profession was “spending too much time on paperwork.”  Having the right technology in place can help ensure your nurses get to spend more time with patients and less time doing clerical work.

 

Get Feedback Communicate with your nurses.  Find out which of these strategies are working and how you can improve upon them.

 

Hospitals that work to prevent and address nurse burnout using the strategies above can protect their clinicians, patients, and revenue cycle from the dire effects of nurse burnout.

Health systems interested in how to address nurse burnout may also wish to visit our other blogs on these topics related to clinician well-being:  reducing physician burnout, physician empathy, time-savers for physicians, support your physicians.


By Stephanie Salmich

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The Effects of Nurse Burnout

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HealthWare Systems Blog

The Effects of Nurse Burnout

Posted on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The effects of nurse burnout reach your nurses, patients, and bottom line.

The effects of nurse burnout reach your nurses, patients, and bottom line.

The effects of nurse burnout are far-reaching.  Everyone, from your patients and their families to your nurses and the entire facility, can be affected by nurse burnout.


The Effects of Nurse Burnout Reach Your Nurses, Patients, and Bottom Line…


Here are some of the effects of nurse burnout:

Nurse Well-Being – Nurse burnout can lead to feelings of dread about work, mental and physical exhaustion, sleep issues, and depression for your nurses.  The effects of nurse burnout also include compassion fatigue, causing your nurses to disengage from your patients.

Patient & Family Satisfaction – Interactions between your nurses and patients and their family members are crucial to the patient experience and patient satisfaction scores.

A study published in the journal Medical Care found the following relationship between nurse work environment, nurse burnout, and patient satisfaction with nursing care:

“Patients cared for on units that nurses characterized as having adequate staff, good administrative support for nursing care, and good relations between doctors and nurses were more than twice likely as other patients to report high satisfaction with their care, and their nurses reported significantly lower burnout. The overall level of nurse burnout on hospital units also affected patient satisfaction.”

Patient Safety – Clinicians suffering from burnout may be less motivated and/or may experience lower cognitive functioning due to emotional exhaustion, putting patient safety at risk.

An article published in the American Journal of Infection Control found a significant association between nurse burnout and UTIs and surgical site infection.  According to the researchers, “hospitals in which burnout was reduced by 30% had a total of 6,239 fewer infections, for an annual cost saving of up to $68 million.”

Reducing nurse burnout can decrease the likelihood of medical errors and improve patient safety at your facility.

Turnover & Nursing Shortage – According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, factors contributing to the national nursing shortage include insufficient nursing school enrollment and faculty, high retirement numbers, the aging population’s need for more healthcare workers, and high turnover/number of nurses leaving the profession altogether.

Almost 1 in 5 new nurses leaves his/her first job within the first year, and about 1 in 3 leaves within the second year.  In a national study conducted by RNnetwork, “half of the nurses surveyed have considered leaving nursing.”  According to the survey, “the number one reason for wanting to leave is feeling overworked (27 percent), followed by not enjoying their job anymore (16 percent) and spending too much time on paperwork (15 percent).”

Unfortunately, there is a cyclical relationship at work here: the national nursing shortage increases nurse burnout for those who are working in the profession as their workloads consequently grow.


As you can see, the effects of nurse burnout have a critical impact on nurse well-being, patient satisfaction, patient safety, and the national nursing shortage.  Please read our next post on how to prevent and address nurse burnout to ensure your health system can avoid the dire effects of nurse burnout mentioned above.


By Stephanie Salmich

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