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In the ever-changing world of healthcare, there are always going to be issues and stressors affecting the industry. One of the major problems that we are facing in the current culture is healthcare worker burnout. This does not just include nurses, but physicians too. Krisberg (2018) reports a study where 15,000 physicians were across 29 specialties, and 42% reported burnout. On top of that 39% of physicians reported depression and 400 physicians die by suicide every year, making that number twice of the general population. This was all data collected before our recent worldwide pandemic, so these numbers have probably increased.
Nurse and Physician burnout can affect the workplace in many ways. Burnout can decrease morale and lead to more staff calling in to work. It can cause an organization to be short staffed and lead to a higher nurse to patient ratio. It can cause extra stress on the employees that decide to stick it out as well. According to a study by DeHurt (2020) there are several things that can lead to burnout including:
- High demands at work
- Problems with leadership
- Bad work atmosphere
- Lack of resources or funding
- Pressure from superiors
Many organizations are currently offering critical pay to internal staff members to retain people. Specifically, a hospital in Little Rock, AR is offering internal contracts to staff for retention. The contract is eight weeks and pays nurses and techs travel nurses like pay. Many hospitals are also offering large sum sign on bonuses in hopes to recruit nurses. Hospitals are also bringing in traveling nurses to fill the gaps of the staff nurses that have either left due to burnout and COVID-19 or have stepped away from the bedside altogether. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2020) discusses coping mechanisms for employees dealing with stress and lack of resilience. They recommend things like reminding yourself that we are in an unusual situation with limited resources and that health care workers play a crucial role in fighting the pandemic.