Occupational burnout has long since been a problem but has only recently been acknowledged as the spark behind the fire that has led to our critical nursing shortage. Considering the emotional aftermath of the pandemic and the hardships that a strained economy will bring, we must learn how to extinguish these flames rather than adding fuel to this complex problem. Burnout is causing a vicious cycle within the healthcare workforce that will lead to detrimental effects on quality patient care. We must learn how to break the cycle.
The cycle starts with experienced nurses leaving unprecedented numbers and units primarily populated by new or travel/agency nurses. In several cases leads to chaos where the blind are leading the blind. Chaotic departments and worn-down staff increase the likelihood of errors that could be harmful to the patient and the nurses.
Units are being run short-staffed, and nurses are working even longer hours than ever before. Hospitals where nurses continually work over 13 hours are correlated with hospitals that receive the lowest HCAHPS ratings (Symplr, 2021). Patients know when they are getting lower quality care because it clearly shows. A 2010 Annals of Surgery study that measured the three critical areas of burnout found that for every one-point increase in depersonalization, there was an 11% increase in error reporting (Symplr, 2021). The cost of burnout is evident, which is demonstrated by the increased turnover rates alone. According to an article by Katulka (2022), the average cost of refilling one bedside RN position is 46,100, and the financial toll turnover can cause on a hospital can range from $5.2 to $9.0 million.
It is true that burnout has many causes and will take a multifaceted approach to find a lasting solution. However, the best foundational starting place is in promoting the physical and emotional wellness of the nursing population. If nurses are better cared for by the organizations they work for and themselves, they will become a part of the solution. Nurses at their core want to help, but how can we when we have nothing else to give at the end of the day? It is for this reason that resiliency training should be utilized in all hospitals because a more vital workforce, both physically and emotionally, is a workforce that will be the fundamental catalyst for lasting change at an organizational level.
Date of publication
MSN Capstone Project
Gaelle Raissa Bieleu
Labinsky, Kimberly, "Impact of Resiliency Training on Combating Burnout" (2022). MSN Capstone Projects. Paper 206.