Analysis of a Pertinent Healthcare Issue
Critical care nurse burnout is one of the most pertinent healthcare issues in the patient care field. Nurse burnout often results in the provision of poor patient care, affecting the expected patient care outcomes and the quality of service provided to patients. In this paper, nurse burnout is discussed, with a focus on the University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH). Various recommendations on how nurse burnout and job fatigue in the provision of patient care can be minimized will be discussed. Also, two scholarly articles on the issue and proposed solutions will be discussed.
Nurse Fatigue and Burnout
Nurse fatigue and burnout in the patient care setting is very common as a result of long working hours, increased stress in the workplace, and the traumatic exposure that nurses go through in their daily work. The patient care environment comes with increased work pressure, resulting in a high rate of nurse burnout. Fatigue and nurse burnout easily translate to reduced empathy towards patients and reduced quality of patient care (Cocker & Joss, 2016). At the UNMH, nurse burnout is one of the top reasons for the institution having a high nurse turnover rate. Research on the reasons for the high employee turnover rate at the institution shows a significant relationship between nurse burnout and the rate of turnover (University of New Mexico, 2016). There are various reasons why the facility continues to face the nurse burnout and fatigue problem, including a lack of social support to nurses, a chaotic job environment, the ineffective control and scheduling of assignments and work, and imbalanced job-work life. Currently, UNMH is developing programs and activities that can reduce nurse burnout rates and minimize the rate of nurse turnover (University of New Mexico, 2016).
Gómez-Urquiza et al. (2017), in an article titled Prevalence of burnout syndrome in emergency nurses: A meta-analysis, discuss the occupational health problem of burnout syndrome. The authors recognize burnout syndrome as one of the most common occupational health problems in the patient care field, providing an in-depth discussion of how the syndrome is common for a nurse working in the emergency sections. Also, the authors provide a number of interventions and recommendations that can be implemented to minimize burnout syndrome occurrences in patient care provision. According to Gómez-Urquiza et al. (2017), the formation of professional support peer groups where nurses can share their experiences and feelings, as well as the improvement of working conditions, can minimize the occurrence of burnout syndrome in the healthcare profession.
Gillespie and Melby (2003), in an article titled Burnout among nursing staff in accident and emergency and acute medicine: a comparative study, conducted a triangulated research on nurse burnout using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The researchers aimed at determining the various factors that contribute to burnout and stress in the nursing profession, as well as the effect of burnout on patient care. The impact of stress and burnout on individuals outside the clinical environment was also assessed in this research. According to Gillespie and Melby (2003), there is a need to provide support networks to nurses, improve interpersonal relationships within the healthcare profession, and foster teamwork to improve morale and reduce stress. The researchers concluded that the provision of resources, support, and better education will minimize burnout and improve patient care in the healthcare environment.
To improve patient care, nurse burnout and stress have to be minimized. This can be achieved by incorporating the proposed methods from the two articles reviewed. UNMH should focus on minimizing nurse stress and burnout through the implementation of peer support groups within the facility, the introduction of effective self-scheduling, and the improvement of the working conditions within the institution. To ensure the cooperation of nurses, proper information should be provided to ensure that everyone understands the aim of the changes being introduced. When the nurses and healthcare workers within the institution understand the purpose and the need for change, they are more likely to support the change and do what is expected of them within their work environments (University of New Mexico, 2016). Also, the institution’s management should streamline activities and work schedules to ensure that nurses achieve a work-life balance. Facilities for counseling and stress management should be installed to ensure that nurses can manage work stress effectively and avoid burnout. This way, the quality of patient care provided by nurses within the facility will be greatly improved.
In conclusion, nurse burnout is one of the most common occupational health problems in the patient care environment. It negatively affects nurse morale and performance, directly impacting the quality of patient care. It is, therefore, important to manage burnout through the provision of support and education to nurses. Institutions should ensure work-life balance for nurses and providing work schedules and peer support to minimize stress and burnout. This will ensure the provision of quality patient care and the increased productivity of nurses.
Cocker, F. & Joss, N. (2016). Compassion fatigue among healthcare, emergency and community service workers: A systematic review. International Journal of Environmental Public Health.
Gillespie, M. & Melby, V. (2003). Burnout among nursing staff in accident and emergency and acute medicine: A comparative study. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 12: 842–851.
Gómez-Urquiza, J. L., Fuente-Solana, E. I., Albendín-García, L., Vargas-Pecino, C., Ortega-
Campos, E. M., & Fuente, G. A. (2017). Prevalence of burnout syndrome in emergency nurses: A meta-analysis. Critical Care Nurse, 37(5).
University of New Mexico. (2016). The high cost of nurse turnover. Retrieved March 5, 2020, from https://rnbsnonline.unm.edu/articles/high-cost-of-nurse-turnover.aspx