How Do We Reduce Burnout Among Nurses?
Nursing is a profession that has been around for hundreds of years, and in that period, nursing staff have developed an extensive knowledge base of how to care for their patients. However, with current staff shortages, increases in nursing burnout, and aging nursing staff, efforts to reduce workload and implement technologies that assist versus hinder patent care need to be implemented to ensure patient safety and improve staff satisfaction.
As the number of patients being cared for by one nurse continues to increase, staffing shortages are becoming more common. These shortages are exacerbated by an aging nursing staff who are retiring at a rapid pace. Nurses are often required to do more tasks than they have time for, which contributes to high levels of work stress experienced by nurses. They also work longer hours without breaks due to increased workloads, leading to fatigue.
In 1974, Herbert Freudenberger was the first to introduce the term burnout when he “observed a loss of motivation and reduced commitment among volunteers at a mental health clinic”1. In 1981, Christina Maslach and Susan E. Jackson developed the Maslach Burnout Inventory, which is a 22-question assessment instrument that is based on the theory that burnout is “a state, which occurs as a result of a prolonged mismatch between a person and at least one of the following six dimensions of work”1: workload, control, reward, community, fairness, and values.
“At more than 6 million in 2019, nurses represent the largest number of professionals in the healthcare workforce, with nurses comprising nearly 30% of hospital employees in the United States.”2 The findings of a 2021 study by Shah et al. “suggest that burnout is a significant problem among US nurses who leave their job or consider leaving their job,” 3 and “a collaborative research project at Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital, including a nurse scientist, associate professor of nursing, clinical nurse specialist, direct care nurse, nurse educator, and chief nursing officer, found that nurses reported low job satisfaction related to heavy workloads and often felt unable to ensure patient safety.”2
The Shah study also recommended that “health systems should focus on implementing known strategies to alleviate burnout, including adequate nurse staffing and limiting the number of hours worked per shift”3 In In their 2022 article, “how do we reduce burnout in nursing?” Dorothy Dulko and Betty Kohal identified behaviors present in the workplace setting that are indicators of burnout, including but not limited to the following:
- Loss of tolerance when attending to patient care
- Medication and treatment errors
- Irritability with peers
- Absence from a unit with no notification to peers or manager
- Exchanges with patients, peers, or superiors that are brief and lack sufficient details
- Lack of support for the organization’s initiatives or policies
With current staff shortages, increases in nursing burnout, and aging nursing staff, efforts to reduce workload and implement technologies that assist versus hinder direct patient care need to be implemented to ensure patient safety and improve staff satisfaction.
The use of technology has become an essential component in modern health care settings due to increased efficiency with minimal errors made when using technology versus paper-based processes. Sotera Wireless's ViSi Mobile® Patient Monitoring System is a comprehensive vital signs monitoring platform that keeps clinicians connected to their patients in bed, in transport, or while ambulating.
Featuring comfortable body-worn sensors that allow for freedom of movement, the system enables accurate, continuous monitoring of all core vital signs with beat-to-beat, noninvasive blood pressure, as well as patient activity and posture. ViSi Mobile is a system designed to enhance patient safety, allowing early detection of patient deterioration and connecting clinicians with their patients anywhere, any time.
Studies have shown that continuous vital signs monitoring is associated with significant improvements in key clinical outcomes in patients treated in the general care ward.
ViSi Mobile bridges the gap between intermittent spot-checking and ICU intensive monitoring. With continuous surveillance monitoring of key vital signs, early recognition and detection of patient deterioration enable clinicians to make timely and effective interventions. Studies have shown that continuous vital signs monitoring is associated with significant improvements in key clinical outcomes in patients treated in the general care ward.
- Dall’Ora, C., Ball, J., Reinius, M., and Griffiths, P.(2020). Burnout in nursing: a theoretical review https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1186/s12960-020-00469-9.pdf
- Dulko, D. and Kohal, B. (2022). How Do We Reduce Burnout In Nursing? Nurs Clin N Am 57 (2022) 101–114 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cnur.2021.11.007
- Shah, M. Gandrakota, N. Cimiotti, J. Ghose, N. Moore, M & Ali, M. (2021). Prevalence of and Factors Associated With Nurse Burnout in the US. JAMA Network Open. 4(2):e2036469.
- Bellomo R, Ackerman M, Bailey M, Beale R, Clancy G, Danesh V, Hvarfner A, Jimenez E, Konrad D, Lecardo M, et al. A controlled trial of electronic automated advisory vital signs monitoring in general hospital wards. Crit Care Med. 2012;40(8):2349–61.