Half of nurses, physicians are burned out, study finds

Between 35 percent and 54 percent of U.S. nurses and physicians are burned out, a situation that won't improve until healthcare organizations, educational institutions and the government all make systemic changes, according to a new report from the National Academy of Medicine.   

Defined by emotional exhaustion, detachment and a low sense of personal achievement, burnout can jeopardize patient care and cause clinicians to leave their jobs, the report found. Burnout is attributed to overwhelming job demands and inadequate resources, not individual mental health diagnoses. With high individual costs, such as occupational injury, alcohol abuse and suicide risk, burnout also has high social and economic costs for organizations and society. 

The Committee on Systems Approaches to Improve Patient Care by Supporting Clinician Well-Being, on behalf of the National Academy of Medicine, examined the causes and consequences of burnout, as well as interventions to support clinician well-being. An estimated one-third to one-half of U.S. clinicians experience burnout symptoms, the study found, with medical students and residents burned out 45 percent to 60 percent of the time.

Clinician burnout is rooted in workplace culture, healthcare policies and societal expectations, the report says, and individual strategies cannot sufficiently address the problem. 

The report gives six goals healthcare systems should have to prevent and reduce burnout:

1. Create positive work environments. Leaders should create environments that promote high-quality care, job satisfaction, and social support, while continuously monitoring and evaluating burnout.

2. Address burnout early. Positive learning environments can be developed by monitoring workload, using pass-fail grading, increasing scholarship access and creating new loan repayment systems.

3. Reduce administrative burden. Standard-setting entities should identify and address sources of burnout related to laws and policies, removing those that contribute little value to patient care.

4. Improve usability and relevance of health information technology. Health IT should be user-friendly and easy to operate. 

5. Support leaders and clinicians by reducing stigma. Barriers tied to obtaining support and services for alleviating burnout should be eliminated.

6. Invest in research: Federal agencies should coordinate research on clinician burnout, prioritizing identification of burnout causes for different clinicians and its implication on the workforce and patient safety outcomes.

"Healthcare leaders at all levels must take urgent action to uphold clinician well-being as a fundamental value that is essential to the fulfilment of their missions," Victor J. Dzau, MD, National Academy of Medicine president, said in the news release.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars