Burnout amongst nurses continues to be an epidemic in hospitals and other healthcare systems. How can the nursing experience evolve to enable nurses to deliver better care and reduce staff turnover?
Imagine if you could understand the emotional distress that nurses are experiencing, when does it happen, who is better situated to handle it, how do we promote the life skills required to prepare people for this job and the stress that it entails, how do we change the job landscape to make it more attractive for younger generations and keep people engaged for longer?
The current landscape
Caretaking careers are infamously associated with high levels of stress, making it difficult to hire nurses, retain nurses, and maintain a certain quality of care. They are regularly cited as one of the top 7 most stressful careers — 90% of nurses are thinking about leaving their hospital because of inadequate work-life balance, and it's expected to rise over the next 5 years.
Problems impacting the nursing role:
Moral distress due to the inherent nature of the job
Poor resilience to stress
Underutilized EAP and employee survey outcomes
More turnover than a crazed baker
Overburdened work staff
Why current solutions aren't working
Healthcare is notoriously slow at adopting and implementing changes in workplace culture. We have conversations with healthcare professionals daily that culminate with “let’s circle back to this next year”, or “this is a high priority but we don’t have the resources to address it now”. Data is being collected, the problem is glaring, but administrators need help to quickly identify and address staff maladies as they arise so they don’t have to defer to a later date when the damage is already done.
On top of this, tools that were designed to simplify the job, like EMRs, are largely overburdening staff, and work-life balances are often neglected. Disheartened staff members negatively impact patient outcomes and lower peer morale, posing a large financial risk and driving turnover. Stress multiplies exponentially.
What needs to be done
Self-care is the solution to help nurses manage job stress, communicate effectively with their organizations and peers, and deliver more empathetic care. Managers need insights that clearly illustrate the root cause of staff dissatisfaction, and quick solutions to avoid larger problems. When one nurse is unhappy, it can quickly incite a chain reaction - Stop it before it spreads.
Increased staff self-care skills; data that is actually useful; targeted stress relievers delivered with urgency.
A positive workplace culture is similarly integral to improving communication within nursing staff and keeping stress at bay. Taking the initiative to understand what motivates and engages staff at an individual and team level is a must.
Ultimately it boils down to recognition. Building a culture that endorses recognition, both horizontally (peer to peer) and vertically (praise from management), will reinforce the importance of the work being done and inspire staff to stay positive and engaged.
How to start
There are simple tricks to begin building such a system and culture.
1. Promote self-care tips and tricks to staff. Deep breathing at the onset of meetings or during stressful periods is the most simple yet effective start.
2. Engage in team-building exercises and breaks to foster social connection and build a support system within teams.
3. Take action on employee data with urgency. Treating staff like customers is a helpful way to approach the problem.
Get a move on
A nurturing culture alleviates and prevents stress and burnout, yet this culture doesn’t seem to be growing fast enough. In today’s healthcare environment, nurses are leaving clinical roles in less than two years’ time. It’s time to revamp what it means to be in a nursing role by first designing an employee experience that better caters to personal desires and drivers. With the right systems in place to keep staff happy and engaged, profitability and patient outcomes dramatically improve.
Psocratic is a proactive behavioral AI on a mission to advance workplace culture and wellbeing. Schedule a demo or say hello: firstname.lastname@example.org 🙌