Our healthcare workers are heroes, but nurses feel burned out, and no wonder! They routinely work long hours, experience compassion fatigue, and deal with life-and-death situations. Ever since COVID-19 hit, nurses have been struggling to keep up. Burnout in the medical field leads to detrimental issues, including unsatisfactory patient outcomes, poor health for nurses, and high staff turnover. Recognizing the signs and symptoms is the first step toward preventing burnout.
Recognize the Symptoms
Burnout has many symptoms, but some of the most common include:
Apathy towards patients
Knowing what to look for in your staff can help you make informed decisions about their schedules, hours, and workload. Understaffed workplaces, long hours, high turnover, and poor sleep all contribute. Learning how to prevent nurse burnout allows hospitals and offices to retain employees and improve patient outcomes.
Creating a company culture where nurses feel heard about their concerns is vital. Nurses spend the most time with patients, so they should be the ones leadership listens to. Leaders can give nurses the option to provide input both in-person and anonymously. It’s vital to create an environment where they know they’ll be listened to and there will be no repercussions for complaints. After all, you can’t solve problems if they don’t know they exist.
COVID-19 changed many things for the world, including increased worker flexibility. Nurses often have to work long, stressful hours. Offer as much flexibility as possible, including letting nurses train from home or during their preferred hours, giving adequate time off, and ensuring an appropriate number of pool nurses to cover call-outs. Pool nurses can be harder to find, so put excellent clinical staffing resources in place.
Create a Healthy Environment
A healthy environment for nurses means more than just cleanliness. It also means ensuring they have enough time to take breaks, eat, and be with their families. It means coming down hard on office bullying and retaliation. Nurses should come to work feeling safe and supported by colleagues and leaders. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure appropriate nurse-to-patient ratios. Enough staff takes the pressure off and helps everyone work together better. Working with a reputable healthcare staffing agency can help fill the gaps in your workforce and lower the pressure on nurses.
Acknowledge Their Work
Nurses save lives, literally. It’s easy to fall into the trap of expecting the impossible from people that seem able to keep doing it. Nursing is a high-stress position that involves long hours and constant exposure to illness and injury. They’re often the backbone of healthcare facilities, and they’re the ones providing ongoing care to patients around the clock. Taking time to notice their hard work goes a long way in making them feel appreciated and valued.
Provide Physical and Mental Health Support
Working in the healthcare industry means you understand how important mental and physical health is. You can support nurses by sponsoring workout classes, providing excellent insurance policies, and even offering on-demand mental health counseling.
Preventing nurse burnout is essential for maintaining quality patient care and ensuring the health and well-being of nurses. Working with a healthcare staffing agency, addressing concerns from nurses on the floor, and giving them as much flexibility as possible are all ways to avoid burnout. Ultimately, preventing burnout is a shared responsibility between nurses, employers, and the healthcare industry as a whole.