Nursing can be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world—but it can also be one of the most stressful. Being on the front lines dealing with patients for 12-hour shifts is physically exhausting, in addition to the mental and emotional stress that comes with caring for the sick and injured. It’s no wonder that many nurses feel overworked and underappreciated. This scenario often leads to one of the most dreaded words in the working world: burnout.
What Is Nurse Burnout?
Being a nurse is far more than checking patients’ vitals and changing bedpans. Nurses provide both physical and emotional support for their patients (and many times the patient’s family members), are constantly on their feet, and are charged with responding to these needs quickly and efficiently. These factors can, over time, cause sleep deprivation, which can directly lead to physical problems like cardiovascular disease and obesity.1
According to a recent study2, nurses also rarely have time to eat full meals or enjoy active social lives, and the lack of authority they feel is rivaled only by the compensation they receive. 3 All of these factors combine to create an incredibly stressful environment, which makes some nurses simply give up and walk away from the profession.
Nurse burnout has far-reaching implications beyond the effect to nurses themselves.4 Sleep deprivation impairs cognitive function–which may contribute to mistakes by nurses. Low pay, stress, unhealthy factors (poor diet and poor sleep) and lack of authority contribute to increased frustration, which can negatively impact their interactions with patients. But, as a study by the Vicki Milazzo Institute notes, poor management and administrative politics are some of the biggest contributing factors to burnout, leading many nurses to believe that they do not have a voice and, as a consequence, are not important and undervalued. 2
How to Reverse the Trend
Everyday Health notes that there is likely to be a nursing shortage of epic proportions over the next fifteen years.5 With the profession itself on the decline, it is more important than ever to keep current nurses satisfied by and excited about their careers.
Nursing World notes that one of the easiest ways to keep good nurses and help them avoid burnout is by offering multiple shift lengths. Because there is a direct correlation between average shift length and the likelihood of burnout, the study’s results suggest that a reduction to 8 or 9-hour shifts may help avoid such an occurrence. The study also recommends a healthier respect for nurses’ days off and vacation time, allowing them time to decompress completely in order to revitalize them for later work. 4
According to the Vicki Milazzo Institute, nurses also must be given a “voice” in how patient care is delivered–particularly longer-tenured RNs who might have institutional knowledge not available to younger or less-experienced nurses. It also indicates that improving access to break rooms and providing nutritious snacks may greatly decrease on-the-job burnout, allowing a bit of a daily refreshment to break up the monotony. 2
How Can Help
The experience makes it possible for you to engage with every person who comes through your doors. Through training and communication, patients and patient guests can become more actively involved in their own or their loved one’s care. For too long, hospital staff, including nurses, have had an unfair burden in solving HAIs. With , patients and their visitors better understand the role they play in their health and recovery and support the fight against HAIs.
Further, enables your facility to more easily add qualified staff, easing the work burden of nurses. With additional resources, your nurses should be able to better manage patient care activities and focus on the needs of the patient, while also reducing the stress associated with long hours. With IntelliCentrics , you do not have to worry about the increased credentialing volume. The experience guides you in selecting the right requirements for all individuals entering your facility and then efficiently verifies those credentials for you, freeing your staff for onboarding and privileging activities.
Respect for Nurses Is Respect for Patients
At the end of the day, nurses’ goals are the same as hospitals’: Provide a safe and healthcare experience, which facilitates each patient’s recovery. Nurse burnout can impact patient satisfaction and contribute to any number of problematic patient interactions. However, by instituting a few changes like adjusting shift lengths, listening to experienced nurses, and decreasing factors that frustrate nurses hospitals can help decrease the likelihood of burnout–and with it, improve patient satisfaction and the patient care environment. After all, the environment where patients receive care is as important as the doctor they choose.