Not all are leaving nursing; 40% plan to pursue a nursing role elsewhere. But nearly 32% of nurses plan to either retire or the field altogether, according to Nursing in the Time of COVID-19, an annual report by staffing agency Incredible Health, which surveyed 2,500 nurses.
Clinicians have passed their breaking points. Staffing shortages are at all-time highs. And as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, some health systems are reevaluating roles to identify essential functions for maintaining their staff’s emotional and psychological well-being.
On episode 49 of PSQH: The Podcast, Dr. Tammie Chang, author of the new book Boundaries for Women Physicians: Love Your Life and Career in Medicine, talks about how female physicians can prevent burnout, stress, and exhaustion. Part of PSQH’s Patient Safety Awareness Week activities, this episode is presented in partnership with GOJO – the makers of Purell, Nuance, PDC, and the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission.
Healthcare worker burnout was significant before the pandemic and it has reached crisis proportions, according to national healthcare worker well-being expert Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, APRN-CNP, chief wellness officer of The Ohio State University and dean of the university’s College of Nursing. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare worker burnout rates ranged from 30% to 50%; now, burnout rates range from 40% to 70%, Melnyk says.
On episode 46 of PSQH: The Podcast, Dr. Mukul Mehra, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of IllumiCare, talks about how to deal with physician shortages and burnout.
Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, APRN-CNP, is chief wellness officer of The Ohio State University and dean of the university’s College of Nursing. She is a nationally recognized leader on healthcare worker burnout and well-being. Melnyk has published dozens of research articles on healthcare worker burnout and well-being in peer-reviewed journals.
According to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2017, primary care physicians spend about 15 minutes with each patient, and what they cover is extensive—an average of six health concerns per visit. Now, with digital care delivery in the mix and the complications of a pandemic, burnout has become a major problem for physicians. So how can the industry make sure that technological advances help physicians make the best use of their time with the patient and look for the most important data points during each visit?
The AAMC has published seven annual supply and demand reports on the physician workforce since 2015. Projected shortages of physicians pose several implications, including limiting access to care, stymying efforts to achieve health equity, and eroding clinician well-being.
Burnout is one of the top challenges facing clinicians and other healthcare workers nationwide. In a September 2020 report published by The Physicians Foundation, 30% of more than 2,300 physicians surveyed cited feelings of hopelessness or having no purpose due to changes in their practices related to the coronavirus pandemic. Research published in September 2018 indicated that nearly half of physicians across the country were experiencing burnout symptoms.
Clinician burnout as a whole did not originate during the pandemic. Stephanie Queen, senior vice president of clinical services and chief nursing officer of Air Methods, an air medical transport organization, began researching clinician grief and burnout as far back as 2004 to better help her colleagues—and herself—with the experience.