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.
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.