Surgeon General Releases Advisory on Health Worker Burnout

By A.J. Plunkett

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, recently released an advisory to address a growing threat of health worker burnout. The advisory provides recommendations for how to address this issue, with steps that stakeholders can take to make changes in the systems, structures, and cultures that shape healthcare.

The advisory suggests several actions to be taken to address systems-level challenges that are at the root of health worker burnout in all communities, including:

  • Eliminating punitive policies for seeking mental health and substance use care
  • Reducing administrative and other workplace burdens to help health workers make time for what matters
  • Transforming organizational cultures to prioritize health worker well-being and show all health workers that they are valued
  • Investing in public health and the public health workforce

The advisory also suggests actions that healthcare organizations can take to help prevent adverse health outcomes and burnout for its workers. This includes building a commitment to the health and safety of workers into the fabric the organization by regularly assessing, measuring, responding to, and intervening to prevent occupational distress and burnout using validated tools. Organizations can also encourage all workers to take paid leave, sick leave, family leave, and rest breaks to refresh and care for themselves.

The full advisory can be read here.

A.J. Plunkett is editor of Inside Accreditation & Quality, an HCPro publication.