Update:  Burnout and the healthcare industry

Update:  Burnout and the healthcare industry

  • Posted On : 4/8/2020 10:33 AM

Nurses and healthcare professionals are constantly working long hours, working on their feet and skipping breaks and meals to be sure that their patients are well taken care of. Oftentimes the lives and needs of these professionals are put on the backburner. 

In the long run, nurses putting their own needs aside to help patients can actually affect them negatively. Nurse burnout is a problem that faces many nurses and other healthcare professionals due to long hours and emotional exhaustion. Not only can this be detrimental to the health of the professional, but it can also be noticed when looking at patient care. 

What Is Burnout

What exactly is nurse burnout? This type of emotional and physical exhaustion is defined as, “emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.”

What exactly causes burnout for nurses and other healthcare professionals all across the globe? A number of personal and work-related issues all start to work together to cause this emotional and physical state. The children are not doing well in school, another coworker is taking a day off, there is a shortage of staff members, not enough vacation days, marriage problems, family problems and the list continues to get longer. 

The oncology and emergency response wings tend to have the highest rate of burnout symptoms and stressors. This is because one deals with terminally ill cancer patients and the other deals with high stress life-threatening cases. Nurses should know the signs of when these nurse burnout symptoms start to rise.

The Signs 

Every nurse is different, which means the nurse burnout symptoms can change depending on each person. However, there are some common signs and symptoms that all nurses can start to show:

  • A state of constant exhaustion. At some point, it feels as if you’re always tired, sick and exhausted. This emotional exhaustion is the feeling of being emotionally overextended by one’s workplace and personal life.
  • A detachment from patients. Once a nurse is suffering from nurse burnout symptoms, a detachment from patients starts to occur. This affects the care the nurse can provide for her patients.
  • Your irritability levels are higher than normal. This is one of the first signs of burnout. Are you constantly feeling irritated or upset by something happening at work?
  • A “checked out” mentality.  A chronic feeling of just “going through the motions” is associated with burnout. A 12 hour shift is just another day you have to get through before you can go home, see your family or other events you’d rather be doing.

These are the common effects of burnout syndrome, while this isn’t healthy for nurses, it’s also concerning for patients.  

How It Affects Patients

There are studies that show significant correlation between burnout symptoms and patient satisfaction levels! Patient satisfaction is the notion behind making sure the patient’s overall care is up to par and how the patient was treated during their time in the hospital.

When there are large levels of nurse burnout symptoms this affects the overall patient satisfaction levels in the hospital. At the end of the day, a patient is a consumer who will come back to the hospital because of their overall satisfaction levels. 

This affects patients by hindering nurse’s ability to provide the best medical advice, literacy and practices in place which can cause a number of issues from hospital acquired infections, medical errors and more.  

At the end of the day, when a staff of nurses and physicians are burnout it can cause adverse effects for the hospital and patients involved.

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