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Almost three-quarters of nurses report that their mental health has deteriorated since the start of the pandemic. Even prior to the current health crisis, around 98% of hospital nurses said their work was physically and mentally demanding and 53% said their job had resulted in burnout. Nurses work long hours, deal with disease and death, and often have to complete difficult shifts. A recent study has shown that investing in burnout prevention makes good economic sense. Hospitals that adopt a solid nurse burnout reduction strategy spend one-third less per year on related turnover costs than hospitals that do not invest in this initiative.
Nurse Burnout Costs Hospitals Thousands Per Nurse
The above study showed that hospitals without burnout prevention strategies spend almost $17,000 per nurse per year employed on expenses related to nursing burnout, Those with a solid strategy in place, on the other hand, spend only $12,000 approximately per nurse per year employed. It is easy to see how, in a hospital with hundreds of nursing staff, burnout can cost hospitals Even if nurses don’t actually leave a hospital, they often need to adopt a lighter workload and this can mean a smaller number of patients, a poorer quality of care, and lower amounts billed by their employers.
How are Savvy Hospitals Preventing Nurse Burnout?
In order to lower worker stress, a multifaceted approach is required. This approach should include better organization, outsourcing during peak periods, and offering nurses mental health aid, leave, and support. Hospitals should ensure that nurses are able to set healthy boundaries with respect to work hours, lengths of shifts, and duties. Currently, savvy hospitals are offering wage increases, professional mobility, and stress reduction opportunities for nurses. They are also offering staff the chance to continue learning and training so as to motivate them to see their hospital as worthy of a long-term time investment. Safety is also key; the pandemic has taught hospitals the importance of providing staff with the PPE and protocols they need to feel safe when working in the midst of high viral loads.
Stress Reduction Programs
Some hospitals are offering nurses the chance to take part in programs like Wisdom & Wellbeing, which addresses the main causes of stress. They place a strong emphasis on mindfulness, teaching nurses mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques, mindful eating, and renewal activities for those who already know about this technique but who wish to revisit it. Techniques that can help nurses in high-pressure situations include controlled breathing, awareness of breath/sensation/thought/emotion, and more. Nurses are also being taught self-care practices. Actions such as skipping breaks, failing to eat regular meals, and working overtime are just a few habits that nurses need to curb.
A majority of nurses feel that their mental health has deteriorated since the start of the pandemic. A new study has shown that hospitals that invest in burnout prevention are reaping major economic rewards. Successful strategies include improving wages, teaching stress reduction strategies, and providing nurses with safe working conditions.