Staffing, Safety Concerns Linked to Burnout in Hospital Clinicians

Both physicians and nurses rank improving nurse staffing as the most needed intervention.

HealthDay News Nearly one-third of hospital-based physicians and half of hospital-based nurses report burnout, according to a study published online July 7 in JAMA Health Forum.

Linda H. Aiken, Ph.D., R.N., from University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues assessed well-being and turnover rates of physicians and nurses in hospital practice. A survey of 21,050 physicians and nurses at 60 nationally distributed US Magnet hospitals sought to identify actionable factors associated with adverse clinician outcomes, patient safety, and clinicians’ preferences for interventions.

Researchers found that high burnout was common among hospital physicians (32%) and nurses (47%), with nurse burnout associated with higher turnover of both nurses and physicians. Physicians (12%) and nurses (26%) rated their hospitals unfavorably on patient safety; they reported having too few nurses (28 and 54%, respectively), having a poor work environment (20 and 34%, respectively), and lacking confidence in management (42 and 46%, respectively). Fewer than 1 in 10 clinicians described their workplace as joyful. Both physicians and nurses reported that management interventions to improve care delivery were more important to their mental health and well-being than interventions specifically directed at improving clinicians’ mental health. The highest-ranking intervention was improving nurse staffing (87% of nurses and 45% of physicians).

“Enhancing clinician well-being and retention requires deliberate actions by management to improve nurse staffing, work environments, and patient safety culture,” the authors write.

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