How burned out is healthcare?

Survey says it’s time for a break.

Physically demanding work, long hours, emotional cases — a career in healthcare has all the ingredients for occupational burnout. We recently surveyed our community on this issue, and nearly half of them reported feeling “very” or “extremely” burned out. So how can employers make things better? Here are five takeaways based on feedback from 1,800+ physicians, residents, and nursing professionals.

1. The problem is real

On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being extremely burned out), nearly half of survey respondents — including physicians, residents, and nursing professionals- reported they were at a 4 or 5. This is an important issue. Employees who are burned out are more likely to make mistakes and become clinically depressed.

2. The problem is pervasive

Those in the U.S. are experiencing similar feelings to those in the rest of the world.

3. The system isn’t helping

Healthcare professionals cite excessive paperwork as one reason for burnout. “Update [EMR] software to streamline patient care and eliminate double charting. I’m continuously staring at computer screens and filling out paperwork rather than providing actual care,” said one registered nurse.

4. Empathy is part of the solution

Everyone needs to feel important in the workplace. “Ensure our achievements are acknowledged and make us feel like valued individuals,” said one general surgeon. “Treat us like we matter,” agreed a registered nurse.

5. Ultimately, the workload needs to be reworked

Healthcare professionals want more staff to improve scheduling and the ratio of providers to patients. “Provide appropriate staffing for volume rather than budgeting for bonuses,” said a nurse practitioner.

Treating burnout involves helping the individual and also making systemic changes. One thing is clear — healthcare deserves a break.

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