Nurse Burnout Prevention For Healthcare Organizations

Nurse burnout is a major issue for healthcare facilities across the nation. Data shows that burnout in the caregiver field is immense:

  • 63 percent of nurses are currently experiening burnout from their jobs (2017 survey by Kronos, Inc.)
  • High levels of burnout adversely affect patient outcomes and patient satisfaction.*
  • Only 1 in 5 five hospitals currently have supportive environments for nurses.*
  • It costs $60,000 to $80,000 to recruit and train a new nurse.*

*(Linda Aiken, PhD, RN Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research, U of Penn.)

These statistics pose the question: Why are nurses burning out? And what can we do to reverse this trend?

burnout-image2 Why Do Nurses Burnout?

Nursing is a difficult career. It’s demanding. It demands a depth of knowledge. It requires skill. On top of that, nurses often have to endure strenuous shifts, stress, and the awareness of death and illness. While nursing will always be a demanding position that requires knowledge and skill, we can address and overcome strenuous shifts, stress, and negativity due to death and illness.

  • Strenuous Shifts

Nurses often burnout simply because they have long, inflexible shifts. These shifts can deplete a caregiver’s energy, and shift their work-life balance for the worse. Long shifts, back-to-back shifts, and late night or early morning shifts may all be taxing for a nurse.

  • Stress

Stress comes with any job, but it’s especially prevalent in the nursing field. Nurses often juggle too many demands. They deal with aggressive deadlines. And they may miss out on sleep if they have long shifts.

  • Negativity, Death, and Illness

As caregivers, we work closely with those who are sick, and those who can’t overcome illness or injury. It can be extremely difficult to stay positive in an environment that contains illness and death.

burnout-image1What Can We Do To Resolve Nurse Burnout?

Fortunately, there are nurse burnout solutions for these issues. We can restructure our shifts, resolve sources of stress, and stave off negativity.

  • Restructure Shifts

Healthcare facilitators need to reassess shift scheduling to reduce nurse burnout. Often, simply hiring more staff is the best solution. While a new staff member or two means added payroll costs, it could save team morale, improve patient satisfaction, and ultimately, keep existing, experienced nursing staff members from seeking work somewhere else. Plus, it’s more costly to replace existing staff than to keep them happy.

If you’re in charge of scheduling, you can always ask staff members what shifts they’d like to have. Though you may not be able to meet every need of every employee (it’s likely that you won’t), you can strive to give them the hours that they desire; plus, it shows your initiative to improve the work environment and influence change.

  • Resolve Stress

There are so many ways we can resolve stress. In the workplace, we can encourage daily practices, including deep breathing exercises, stretching, meditation, and practicing mindfulness. Encourage your staff to take a real break once in awhile. Even five minutes of reprieve from the work cycle can rejuvenate and reinvigorate staff members.

We can also shift the culture of our work staff. Stress can build and boil over amongst employees. That can lead to more problems and more stress throughout the team as a whole. On the flip side, when staff members have healthy outlets for stress, the entire team can be more calm, more capable, and more collaborative.

  • Stave Off Negativity

Nurses often forget that they are helping patients. They help to relieve pain; they help to cure disease; they comfort those who are passing. While healthcare facilities are surrounded by illness and death, it’s also a beacon of health, care, and life. As caregivers, it’s important to remember that we improve the quality of life of our patients. When we give care, we actively improve the world we live in, and we improve the lives of people in our community. Caregiving is so positive! That’s a message that we should never forget.