More work-life balance for healthcare workers linked to better safety culture, study finds

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Healthcare workers who have a higher work-life balance reported a better safety culture and less burnout, a study published in BMJ Quality & Safety found.

To assess work-life balance, the researchers asked participants to report behaviors such as skipping meals or working without breaks.

Residents, fellows and attending physicians reported the lowest work-life balance, while psychologists, nutritionists and environmental services workers reported the highest work-life balance.

Employees working day shifts reported better work-life balance scores compared to night shift employees, and those who worked shorter shifts had better scores than those working longer shifts.

The study found work-life balance scores also clustered according to work setting: individuals with different roles within a given setting, such as the intensive care unit or the emergency department, had more similar work-life balance.

Burnout interventions should target work settings rather than individuals because work-life balance appears to be a shared experience within healthcare settings, the researchers said.

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