Burnout is very common within the nursing profession. You start your career off burning out with energy and enthusiasm. However, you’re not alone if you feel that heat and light begin to dwindle. If left unaddressed over a long period, burnout can have tremendous negative repercussions for everyone involved. Nurse burnout results from long shifts, med surge nurse shortages, lengthy working hours, and the consequential lack of sleep. Burnout does not only impact staff turnover but also impacts the quality of patients’ care, their satisfaction with their ongoing treatment, as well as other medical outcomes.
A research study conducted on American nurses’ found that nurse burnout can cause a severe lack of performance and eventually increase absenteeism. The research findings revealed that almost 35.3 percent of nurses had burnout symptoms. Moreover, 30.7 percent of the nursing staff suffered from depression, which significantly impacted their work performance and often caused them to leave work entirely. This article explores the top 10 ways to reduce nurse burnout.
10 Ways To Reduce Burnout
Healthcare leaders can use several strategies to reduce burnout and keep med surge nurses, ICU, ER, OR, and all nurses from being overwhelmed. Here are ten ways healthcare leaders can assist their nursing staff and provide them with the support they need and deserve, whether they are contract or permanent staff.
1. Improve Nursing Schedule
Revising the schedule timings of registered nurses can be a good initiative for reducing burnout. The majority of the nurses work for almost 12 hours per day, and being on the job for numerous days in a row might lead to weariness. Giving nurses more control over their schedule would minimize the fatigue the nursing staff experiences. Moreover, it would also enable nurses who provide acute care to patients to work more efficiently.
Nurses can manage their professional lives better if healthcare leaders provide them with the option of scheduling their shifts themselves. However, if self-scheduling is not possible, authorities should consider building a better schedule that works for everyone.
2. Reduce Nurse-to-Patient Ratios
Incidences of burnout are directly related to the number of patients nurses handle in a day. Nurses who see more patients in a sitting are more likely to display significant levels of emotional weariness than those who only see a few.
Reducing the nursing workload may require hiring more people, but the cost can be countered by other benefits such as low long-term nurse turnover and higher patient satisfaction. In short, reducing the nurse-to-patient ratio for both ER nurses and ICU nurses will benefit both patients and the healthcare facility. In looking to level the load, the number of patients is a big reason why per diem nursing contracts are rising. [Might be time to consider a per diem gig – read more]
3. Automate Non-Clinical Tasks
Nurses are highly trained clinical professionals. However, many nurses spend a significant amount of time delegating non-clinical tasks. If leaders recruit non-clinical workers as part of their team, it will benefit patients tremendously and take some load off the nursing staff’s shoulders.
Nurses would no longer be accountable for non-clinical tasks, including post-discharge follow-up sessions, preventive visit scheduling, and monitoring. Also, linking patients with community services can relieve nursing strain and allow them to focus more effectively on important clinical activities.
4. Start An On-Site Support System
Nursing is not an easy profession and requires interpersonal skills. If that last few years haven’t proven it already, these workplace heroes deal with and manage day-to-day trauma. In addition, employers can assist their nursing staff by providing access to support and wellness initiatives. This could include anything from improving break scheduling to conducting departmental meetings to discussing health and providing comfortable rest locations for nurses.
For such a support system to work, it is best that nurses actively participate and identify the self-care strategy that works best for them. If healthcare facilities want their staff to perform well without experiencing burnout, it is essential to seek input from the nursing staff. Encourage the nursing staff to share their wants and needs and take steps to address them. This would help the nursing staff do their job better and prevent burnout and make them feel like they are being heard and listened to. This way, healthcare leaders can directly ask for ideas from the nursing staff and implement solutions to help them navigate their working hours more efficiently.
5. Train Leaders To Spot Burnout and Address It
Healthcare leaders can play a critical role in identifying why their nursing staff is experiencing burnout. By discussing the issue with their team, finding areas of improvement, and coming up with possible improvement strategies, they can help relieve staff burnout over time. Less burnout would ultimately allow the nursing staff to provide their patients with excellent care. Leaders within the nursing staff should know all the indicators that a disengaged employee exhibits. Some common behaviors to be aware of include increased callouts, frustration with little inconveniences, and withdrawal from relationships.
By spotting the signs of burnout as early as possible, leaders may be able to help their employees. Please encourage them to seek help on how to manage stress and burnout. It’s best to address burnout-related symptoms as early as possible. Nurse burnouts can also be handled using technology, communicating with nurses, valuing their work, and including them in wellness activities.
6. Provide Access To Therapy
Authorities should organize psychological or counseling services to help nurses cope with burnout. Moreover, nurses should be encouraged to seek out help and support on their own should they be experiencing symptoms of burnout.
If your healthcare facility doesn’t offer these therapy sessions, you can also provide information on where your staff can find the help they need outside of the workplace. Registered nurses should contact their human resources department to find employee support programs. They can also get individual or group counseling on coping with burnout.
7. Encourage Nurses To Participate In Policy Discussions
Allowing nurses to participate in decision-making, especially regarding patient care, is another excellent strategy for emotional wellness. Engage your nursing staff by asking them for feedback. Meet and discuss with the team when it comes to critical workplace decisions such as working hours and the number of patients to see per day.
Nurses who lack autonomy and control over their practice are more prone to burnout. On the contrary, hospitals that include staff nurses in decision-making are more likely to attract and retain nursing personnel.
8. Offer Flexible Hours
Hospitals that allow nurses to choose their shifts through flexible schedules have improved performance. Working on shifts that nurses choose, at times that is convenient for them or with coworkers they like, can help them avoid burnout.
Long shifts increase the risk of fatigue-related events and the time workers are exposed to infectious diseases. Thus, try to avoid scheduling personnel for periods longer than 12 hours. Instead, healthcare leaders must allow flexible working hours and let their staff choose whatever schedule works best for them to prevent burnout.
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9. Maintain Personal And Professional Boundaries
It might get challenging to balance work-life and prioritize relationships as a nurse. It would help if you left any complaints, work-related thoughts, or feelings at work. Don’t take these things back home with you, and make it a point to spend your time at home with family and friends. Indulge in activities that you enjoy to get relief from your hectic days.
10. Encourage Nurses To Take Breaks
While businesses are not required by law to provide breaks, managers should ensure that nurses are not overworked. Most nurses are well-rested when they take breaks, allowing them to get their jobs done with due care.
Encourage nurses to take breaks within their shifts. These breaks can last anything from 5 to 20 minutes and are considered paid breaks. However, breaks of more than 30 minutes can come under unpaid breaks.
To Wrap This Up
Nurse burnout is a severe issue that can impact the well-being of the entire healthcare team. It results in low work efficiency and decreased provision of care to patients. Burnout can prevent nurses from doing their job well and taking good care of their patients. Healthcare leaders can play a critical role in helping their nursing staff navigate their professional lives more efficiently by using some of these strategies. If you’re a nurse, you should focus on your well-being by making it a priority. Only if you are well can your patients feel well. If you think your light is beginning to dwindle, download SwipeFox and take a secure peek what other possible options.