Nurses at hospitals with burnout reduction programs stayed at jobs 20% longer, UVA study finds

Hospitals that invest in nurse burnout reduction programs may see less burnout-attributed nurse turnover and associated costs, according to a new study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Patient Safety.

The study — led by Charlottesville-based University of Virginia Health System emergency room nurse and School of Nursing doctoral student Jane Muir, BSN, RN — examined the cost of nurse burnout-attributed turnover using data from more than 20 separate studies. Data was compiled using a probability forecasting model called a Markov model, which created hypothetical hospital scenarios.

Ms. Muir and her co-authors found that hospitals with burnout reduction programs — through wage increases, professional mobility, stress reduction and learning and leadership opportunities — spend an expected $11,592 per nurse per year employed on burnout-attributed turnover. This compares to $16,736 per nurse per year employed, or about 30 percent less, for facilities without such initiatives.

The study also found that nurses working at hospitals with burnout reduction programs stayed at their jobs about 20 percent longer than nurses working at facilities without these programs.

"Data don't lie," Ms. Muir said in a news release. "There is an economic argument to be made for properly compensating and supporting nurses."

To address the issue, hospitals should be proactive in supporting programs that reduce nurse burnout prevalence and associated expenses, the study concluded.

Ms. Muir said, for example, that it is important to assess nurse burnout during exit interviews and ensure these interviews are consistent across units or hospital to hospital.

To read more about the study, click here

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