Work Stress and Burnout Among Nurses
The healthcare profession can be categorized as one of the most stressful professions due to the nature of patient demands, long working hours and inter-professional, as well as interpersonal conflicts. It is known that workplace stress can influence healthcare professionals’ physical and emotional well-being (Pittman, & Scully- Russ, 2016). Burnout can be described as workers’ reaction to the chronic stress that is common in occupations involving direct interactions with people. As healthcare evolves with technology, budget cuts and growing patient populations, these contribute to the stress among nurses. The national healthcare issue that I chose to analyze is work stress and burnout among nurses and its impact on my work setting. The purpose of this discussion is to produce evidence that shows how the healthcare working environment can affect the health professionals’ well-being, judgements, and decision-making.
Impact of Work Stress and Burnout Among Nurses in the Work Setting
Work stress and burnout remain significant concerns in nursing, which affects the individual and the organization. Of my current healthcare setting, I know all too well of work stress and burnout among nursing staff in long term care (LTC) facilities. As a nursing supervisor there, it is noted that staff experience more stress, where compared to any other nursing setting, when caring for patients with dementia and behavioral issues. Staff experience loss of energy, loss of optimism, loss of interest of work, resentment and hostility towards others, and anxiety and feeling malaise. As a result of this, staff often calls out due to working longer hours to compensate for the shortage of staffing. Nursing to patient ratios are often affected by nurse burnout which thus affects the delivery and timeliness of patient care. This often causes decreased patient satisfaction and facility rating, increased complaints and concerns, and increased risks for falls and injuries. The emotional and physical demands of the medical profession results in stress, frustration, and physical and mental exhaustion.
Analysis of My Organization’s Response to Work Stress and Burnout
Studies conducted shows that nurses have been found to experience higher levels of stress-related burnout related to work experience and the lack of administrative support. Administrators within my organization noted increased staffs call outs, which impacted the patient to nurse ratio, and an increased number of falls related to staff shortages after call outs. The organization also noted more burnout and staff calls in the older staff population, as there is believed to be a relationship between gender and burnout. The staffs that are burned out tend to be stubborn and inflexible due to physical and mental exhaustion. This creates an unhealthy environment for current and new staff, patients and their families, and other disciplinary members who rely on collaboration and communication from the nursing staff. Due to this, patient satisfaction decreases, retention rates are low, and the overall rating of the organization decreases. The organization notices this issue and intervenes with new measures to decrease stress among staff to improve the way care is delivered in accordance to standards and safety guidelines.
Description of Changes Implemented
Inter-professional collaboration is necessary for the planning and implementation of patient quality care, as well as communication between nurses and physicians, as it creates a culture of safety for all patients (Coombs, 2018). This is important as it affects the patients’ safety and delivery of care. It also helps creates a positive and engaging environment where the patient is at the center of their plan of care. Preventing burnout requires multiple levels of interventions, through planning and staff development to increase autonomy of the individual and provide emotional support (Organopoulou et al., 2016). The organization first identified the issue of burnout among nurses, evaluated the tasks of the workload, assessed emotional needs, and patient ratios. Administrators also looked at the staff’s schedules to determine if days off/days on can be changed around to accommodate more time for rest in between working shifts. The organization also noted increased stress during times of admissions, emergency transfers, discharges, and falls, when they feel a lack of support from administrative staff during these times. As a 24-hour skilled and long term care facility that accepts new admissions of residents at any time of day, seven days a week, administrators approved to have an extra Registered Nurse (RN) seven days a week as a free float supporting staff to help out with nursing tasks throughout the facility while the licensed practical nurse (LPN)/charge nurse focuses on their medication pass to 37-39 residents per unit. Administrators intend to monitor the measures implemented to see if it affects the staffs’ level of stress to decrease potential burnout.
As the demand for acute care services increases, the expectations among workers will increase. Stress and burnout can be reduced when administrators create a work environment that provides staff with access to opportunities, information, resources, and support (Marshall, & Broome, 2017).
Marshall, E., & Broome, M., (2017). Understanding contexts for transformational leadership: Complexity, change, and strategic planning. Transformational leadership in nursing: From expert clinician to influential leader (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer
Pittman, P., & Scully-Russ, E. (2016) Workforce planning and development in times of delivery system information. Human Resources for Health, 14(56), 1-15. doi: 10.1186/s12960-016- 0154-3
Organopoulou, M., Tsironi, M., Malliarou, M., Alikari, V., & Zyga, S. (2016). Investigation of anxiety and burn-out in medical and nursing staff of public hospitals of Peloponnese. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 7, 799-808.
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- Review the national healthcare issue/stressor you examined in your Assignment for Module 1, and review the analysis of the healthcare issue/stressor you selected.
- Identify and review two evidence-based scholarly resources that focus on proposed policies/practices to apply to your selected healthcare issue/stressor.
- Reflect on the feedback you received from your colleagues on your Discussion post regarding competing needs.
- Identify and describe at least two competing needs impacting your selected healthcare issue/stressor.
- Describe a relevant policy or practice in your organization that may influence your selected healthcare issue/stressor.
- Critique the policy for ethical considerations, and explain the policy’s strengths and challenges in promoting ethics.
- Recommend one or more policy or practice changes designed to balance the competing needs of resources, workers, and patients, while addressing any ethical shortcomings of the existing policies. Be specific and provide examples.
- Cite evidence that informs the healthcare issue/stressor and/or the policies, and provide two scholarly resources in support of your policy or practice recommendations.
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