- Nursing burnout is an increasingly important challenge for healthcare organizations to tackle
- Nursing burnout has been exacerbated by a variety of circumstances, including the pandemic
- Technology plays an important role in reducing nursing burnout
To reduce nursing burnout, healthcare organizations need to first understand why it has become such an increasingly important challenge to tackle. What causes and exacerbates nursing burnout?
As outlined by the video below from HIMSSTV, nursing burnout was present long before the pandemic, but was exacerbated by the urgent, high-pressure environment that came with caring for COVID-19 patients. In fact, a JAMA study conducted this year found that almost one-third of nurses quit their job because of burnout alone.
And leaving the profession has created nursing shortages that are detrimental to care delivery. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has cited many reasons for nursing shortages – from an aging nursing population caring for aging patients, to lower rates of enrollment in nursing education, to (of course) burnout.
So what can be done to reduce nursing burnout? First, healthcare leadership needs to hear what’s driving nursing burnout from nurses themselves. There is research and global surveys that explain trends and provide assumptive explanations but hearing from staff directly is key to creating solutions that will yield results.
Secondly, to reduce nursing burnout, healthcare organizations need to evaluate their technology.
The Role of Technology to Reduce Nursing Burnout
Technology can either help or hinder nursing workflows. To reduce nursing burnout, its essential to know what technologies are critical to nursing care and how you can be sure they aren’t contributing to nursing burnout.
First, as outlined in the HIMSSTV video, care delivery today depends on the electronic health record. However, usability of an EHR has a direct link to burnout. Keys to making sure your EHR isn’t contributing to nursing burnout include reducing unnecessary alerts, continuing training after deployment, and shifting EHR tasks that do not have to be done by nurses to other care staff. All of these are helpful to reduce nursing burnout.
Additionally, as mentioned in the video, remote patient monitoring devices are helpful to reduce nursing burnout. How? Because they can indicate when a patient needs immediate help as opposed to requiring nurses to frequently check on patients. Nurses are constantly on the go, so they need to be able to prioritize tasks based on urgency and necessity.
Both of these technologies are already widely used by hospitals and health systems, however, as mentioned, they can exacerbate nursing burnout. How? By creating MORE noise and MORE things for nurses to respond to. The day-to-day job of the nurse is never consistent – nurses are juggling task after task and juggling multiple devices and responding to a variety of alerts, alarms, and calls…. Well, you can feel the burnout just mentally putting yourself in that environment.
That’s why, to effectively reduce nursing burnout, IT and clinical leaders are empowered when they consider technology that unifies clinical systems and routes information and alerts to nurses based on urgency. A clinical collaboration platform (CCP) is essential to this effort. With a CCP, all clinical systems are brought to one platform, significantly reducing the “toolbelt” nurses need to monitor and carry with them to collaborate with other members of the care team while monitoring their patients.
Clinical collaboration platforms also make finding other care team members easier. Gone are the days of looking up on-call providers on paper schedules and paging physicians, only to find out that they aren’t actually on-call. A nurse simply needs to message “on-call cardiologist” or whatever the appropriate service line, and they are routed to the right person – instantly. It shouldn’t be hard to connect with colleagues and, unfortunately, today that is very difficult for most nurses and contributes to significant levels of burnout.
Technology is essential to reduce nursing burnout. Patient monitoring devices and electronic medical records are essential – the information they provide is vital. However, clinical communication platforms streamline nursing workflows and empower nurses to act on the information those systems provide. Simply put, clinical collaboration platforms are one of the most important answers to reduce nursing burnout.