Burnout is a very common and rampant occurrence among nurses. A statistical report in 2023 showed that approximately two-thirds of surveyed registered nurses in the U.S. reported having feelings of burnout.
As a result of different factors, including labor shortage, increased patient numbers, and a bad healthcare system, nurses are forced to work beyond the normal workload.
It is no secret that the pandemic significantly increased nurse pressure, worsening burnout. A representation of this phenomenon is seen through the turnover rates in 2021. Rates were as high as 27.1% in 2021, which only decreased by a few percent to date – 22.5%.
Like any other job, keeping nurses’ mental and physical well-being is critical for healthcare organizations. This task can be hard if healthcare management is oblivious to the causes and signs of burnout.
Read through our article to understand how to prevent nurse burnout and what the telltale signs are.
2. Burnout among nurses is a result of unbalanced work-life dynamics and pressure in a high-stakes workplace.
3. PatientCalls offers medical answering services that can help reduce the workload for nurses and other healthcare workers.
What is Nurse Burnout?
Nurse burnout is a particular phenomenon in healthcare workers and is commonly recognized as a depletion of physical energy and motivation to work. The burnout also includes emotional exhaustion, mental health stress, and frustration towards work.
This event is common among nurses who work very long hours and have little to no work-life balance. Across professional groups working in healthcare, nurses received the highest score for having occupational burnout in a study published in 2023.
How to Prevent Nurse Burnout as an Organization?
As an organization, hospital managements are liable for nurse’s well-being in the facility. It is critical to build a safe and comfortable working environment for all healthcare workers.
Addressing nurse burnout requires a proactive and multi-faceted approach from healthcare organizations. All healthcare organization members, nurses, and other workers must always be involved in strategies for preventing burnout.
Here are some effective strategies to prevent nurse burnout:
Physical and Mental Wellness Programs
Healthcare management teams can start offering wellness programs like fitness classes or mindfulness training. Such comprehensive programs can help nurses manage their fatigue better and develop healthier bodies.
Wellness programs must be provided on a non-compulsory basis and should not impede on nurse’s tasks to encourage them to participate.
Recognition and Appreciation
Like any other worker, nurses can benefit from recognition and rewards-based management. Properly recognizing the efforts of nurses can help boost their morale during tough times.
Positive reinforcement can encourage nurses to work better and alleviate their emotional stress due to gratification. Implement recognition programs to highlight exceptional performance.
Regular Check-Ins and Feedback
Management committees can also set up a department that is responsible for regularly monitoring how nurses are feeling. This will help the team get a good overview of how workers are doing and gauge the level of burnout among members.
This department can provide constructive feedback and recognize nurses’ challenges. Evaluations can then be used for the betterment of other programs.
Reallocate Administrative Workload
Streamline documentation processes and reduce unnecessary paperwork. You can invest in advanced technology to automate routine tasks and improve efficiency.
Another excellent solution is to outsource medical tasks to reduce the work burden on nurses. This way, nurses can focus on their primary task: providing patient care.
Promote a Positive Work Culture
Foster a culture of respect, appreciation, and open communication. Nurses can work better and more efficiently in a working environment where they do not feel inferior.
A positive work culture encourages its members to voice their frustrations without fearing being reprimanded. This culture can promote good communication among team members.
Encourage Time for Self
Encourage and support a healthy work-life balance. This strategy can be implemented by offering flexible working schedules or allowing nurses to take long vacation days.
Use solutions, such as medical outsourcing or teleconsultations, to reduce nurses’ workload, allowing them to take time off for themselves.
What Causes Nurse Burnout?
A registered nurse’s job involves caring for ailing patients, which can sometimes be very demanding. Nurses work long hours with erratic schedules at all times.
The national crisis of labor shortage adds to the burnout pressure among nurses. Despite the recommended nurse-to-patient ratio of one to four, nurses are forced to handle significantly more patients.
Here are some of the most common and critical causes of nurse burnout:
Due to the combination of long working hours juggling multiple tasks, nurses are more likely to get exhausted faster. This problem is further worsened by labor shortages. Nurses are required to handle appointment scheduling, triage, patient care, and administrative tasks altogether, making it hard for them to focus on providing quality care.
Working as a nurse requires you to work with extreme scenarios. There will be times when the patients themselves are hard to deal with. There are also cases when nurses have to deal with extreme injuries or death cases.
Nurses having to deal with such a working environment on a day-to-day basis can put pressure and stress on them. This applies to both physical and mental aspects.
Inadequate Resources and Support
Not all hospitals can provide adequate services and tools for perfect patient care. At times, nurses are forced to improvise and take on more tasks just to accommodate patients.
Insufficient resources, including outdated equipment, lack of support staff, and inadequate training opportunities, can contribute to frustration and burnout among nurses.
Poor Work-Life Balance
It goes without saying that maintaining a happy life requires a good work-life balance. Because of the demanding job of nurses, they barely have enough time to spend on resting and doing leisurely tasks.
Nurses are required to work long shifts, sometimes even 24 hours. This makes it hard for nurses to build a healthy routine that will help them sustain their well-being.
In addition to primary patient care, nurses are also responsible for documenting patient information and dealing with other administrative tasks.
Increasing administrative tasks, documentation requirements, and paperwork can take time away from direct patient care and contribute to feelings of frustration and burnout.
It is important to note that these are just some of the common causes of nurse burnout in healthcare. Several other factors contribute to this phenomenon.
Healthcare management is expected to understand these causes to create better strategies for their nurse and staff.
Use PatientCalls’ medical answering services to reduce the pressure and workload on nurses. Our expert customer service team is trained to triage and document patient information according to standards.
What Are Common Signs of Nurse Burnout?
Nurse burnout usually has tell-tale signs, but this does not mean that the signs are similar for everybody. Some individuals are more capable of handling job stress and do not show immediate burnout symptoms.
Recognizing signs of burnout is critical for maintaining the well-being of nurses. It is also important to develop effective strategies for preventing burnout in healthcare.
Here are the most common signs of nurse burnout:
- Physical exhaustion (e.g., fatigue, muscle aches, and headaches)
- Low immune system (nurses become sickly)
- Emotional exhaustion (detachment, erratic emotions, and reduced empathy)
- Reduced enthusiasm for the job
- Cognitive impairments (difficulty concentrating and making sound judgments)
- Decreased productivity
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Negative self-perception
To spot these signs, healthcare organizations can implement regular assessments, such as surveys or check-ins, to gauge the well-being of their nursing staff.
Early identification of burnout allows for intervention and support to prevent its escalation and impact on nurse and patient outcomes.
Extend Help and Alleviate Stress from Nurses with PatientCalls
There are many ways to support nurses and prevent burnout. The keys to an effective strategy include recognizing the signs and causes of nurse burnout.
Healthcare organizations can help reduce the pressure on nurses by using advanced solutions for better and more efficient patient care.
PatientCalls offers medical outsourcing solutions and medical answering services mainly for healthcare organizations. Our expert customer service representatives can efficiently handle scheduling appointments, interviewing patients, and documenting critical information for nurses.
Our HIPAA-compliant solutions can provide comfort for all healthcare providers. PatientCalls can free up their workload and become more effective in patient care.