Young healthcare workers report stress, burnout related to racism: 3 new findings

Healthcare workers ages 18 to 29 are experiencing added stress and burnout caused by workplace racism and discrimination, according to a blog post released May 29 going into further detail of survey findings released in February.

The survey is based on research conducted by the African American Research Collaborative, in partnership with the Commonwealth Fund. In early 2023, researchers surveyed 3,000 healthcare workers across various settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient care such as urgent care centers, mental health and addiction treatment centers and community or school health centers. Participants were asked to share their perspectives into how discrimination affects healthcare staff and patients.

Three findings from the survey:

1. Sixty-four percent of younger healthcare workers reported witnessing patients face racism or discrimination based on their race or ethnicity compared to 47% of all healthcare workers.

2. Thirty percent of younger healthcare workers reported feeling "a lot of stress" from dealing with racism and discrimination compared to 16% of all healthcare workers.

3. Fifty-four percent of younger healthcare workers reported witnessing a patient receiving lower quality of care because of their race or ethnicity compared to 38% of all healthcare workers.

"Younger health care workers are experiencing burnout at unprecedented levels due to factors that include racism and discrimination in the workplace and burnout from the COVID-19 pandemic," the Commonwealth Fund concluded. "Healthcare leaders and policymakers must focus on workers' needs, particularly younger and early-career healthcare workers, to ensure a continuing stable workforce. Prioritizing equity will be key to engaging and retaining these workers, reducing burnout, and improving health outcomes for patients."

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