Tips For Managing Fatigue In Healthcare Workers
Nurse Practitioners are worn out, stressed out, and burnt out. Yet many don’t speak up. Healthcare workers fear negative effects of complaining within a team.
According to Health Leaders Media, 63% of nurses experience burnout. Nope, that’s not a typo. Almost two in every three NPs you see in your hallways feel tired, stressed, and ineffective. When the problem isn’t addressed, it can lower the quality of patient care and increase staff turnover.
If you’re reading this, you already recognize the problem of burnout in your workplace. That’s the first step. Keep reading to learn other strategies for reducing burnout and retaining valuable staff.
Burnout Hurts NPs And Hospitals
Burnout impacts employees’ mental well-being, but also their physical health. Muscle injuries are more common. Misuse of PPE leaves staff more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
Burnout hurts hospitals, too. The National Association of Community Health Centers estimates the cost of replacing a single position is a whopping 25% of an annual salary. For a Nurse Practitioner, that translates to $28,950 in lost revenue, recruiting and training costs, and more.
Techniques to Reduce Burnout
There isn’t a universal approach to reducing burnout. Each person and organization is different. But one thing is clear: addressing burnout is good for your employees, and it’s smart for your organization. See which of these strategies make sense for your situation.
Assess Your Nurse-Patient Ratios
According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 57% of NPs see three or more patients per hour. That’s a baseline to keep in mind when assessing your own nurse-patient ratios. Higher workload is directly correlated with a Nurse Practitioner’s intention to leave their job.
Increasing your workforce sounds costly, but it’s a measure you can control to prevent the unpredictable and costlier consequences of burnout and staff turnover.
Reduce Non-Clinical Tasks
Nurse Practitioners’ workloads are hampered with extra job requirements (such as non-clinical tasks), taking them away from the fundamental skills required for patient care. Delegate these tasks to supporting staff so that your Nurse Practitioner can focus on a more manageable and thorough level of service to your patients.
Offer Schedules That Promote Wellness
Encourage managers to collaborate with your Nurse Practitioners when scheduling shifts. It’s a small gesture, but it has a big impact. Shift work and long hours take a mental and physical toll on healthcare workers. Allowing staff to have input reduces fatigue and improves work-life balance. If possible, consider flexible schedules such as a condensed four-day workweek or job sharing.
You set the tone with your employees. Help to reduce burnout by mandating them to use their vacation time. If employees hoard vacation time to cover family commitments or personal appointments, offer paid time off (PTO).
Prioritize Staff’s Input
Nurse practitioners bring valuable input to your organization’s decision making. They see how staff, patient, and hospital outcomes are closely tied together. If you improve one, then you improve all. For example:
- Your staff might loathe the outdated software for tracking patient data because it suffers delays and causes staff frustration
- There’s a lag on test results (bad for patients)
- It requires information to be entered twice (inefficient for the hospital)
Listening to NPs’ input on such issues makes them stakeholders in improving their workplace. And that’s good for everyone.
Encourage Professional Development
It can feel counter-intuitive to encourage already burnt-out and overwhelmed staff to pursue professional development. But career development is a key motivator. It renews their passion for their job. Talk to your Nurse Practitioners individually, and provide them the support and encouragement to map out their future.
Continuing education courses are available through many means, including the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. There is even a section for free online courses.
Implement Support Programs
There are plenty of easy, low-cost ways to support employee wellness. Try organizing a staff potluck, book club, or walking group. On their own, these won’t be enough to compensate for larger issues around demanding workloads and burnout. But they can be part of broader solutions you implement across the organization.
Hire Nurse Practitioners to Reduce Burnout
Healthcare management needs to commit to solving workplace burnout. Only you have the power to direct the appropriate resources to the problem – which often means hiring more staff. Contact Palm Careers for talented locum and permanent staffing solutions to make your workplace healthier, happier, and more productive. Invest in the support your healthcare facility needs, and see the effects for yourself.