Nurses Are Burning Out, But Employee Engagement Can Save Them…And Your Patients

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“As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul and body of our patients, their families and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

The above quote comes from the late Maya Angelou. Her touching words help illustrate the great importance nurses have in our healthcare system. And since Maya’s mom was a nurse, she likely had some understanding of the many challenges they face.

While an overwhelming majority of nurses love their occupation, the long hours and lack of engagement in the workplace are causing many to burn out and leave the industry. Luckily, there is something we can do about it!

Before we get into HOW to solve the problem, let’s take a closer look at the latest findings.

Nurses have burned out

A recent Kronos survey entitled “Employee Engagement in Nursing” has some disturbing findings. According to the report, nurses are burning out at record numbers, and chances are their managers aren’t even aware. This isn’t just bad news for nurses -- nearly half of those surveyed fear their patients are suffering because of how burned out they are while working.  

Here’s a breakdown of some of the report’s key findings:

  • 44% of nurses say their managers don’t know how tired they are, and 43% admit they purposefully hide how exhausted they are from their managers
  • Almost 50% of nurses worry that patient care will suffer because of how burned out they are
  • 37% of nurses worry about making a mistake, and 11% state they have made a mistake at work because they were tired while working
  • 60% of nurses say that excessive workloads are among a top cause for their fatigue, and 42% cite that being unable to take breaks for lunch or dinner contributes significantly. 

As a result of these workplace conditions, 83% of nurses say that hospitals are losing good nurses because other employers are offering them a better work/life balance.

The Cost of Burning Out: Human Lives & The Bottom Line

When nurses burn out, it creates major problems for the entire healthcare industry.

Did you know the number one predictor of mortality variation is the nursing staff’s level of engagement? That’s right, more than any other factor, a nurse’s level of engagement helps determine who lives and who dies. The facts are plain and simple: When nurses become burned out and disengaged, people lose their lives.

Although losing a patient is the greatest loss imaginable, the hospital’s bottom line takes a major hit too. In fact, a New York University survey found that nurse turnover rates could cost as much as 5% of a hospital’s total budget. That is insane, especially when you factor in the time and energy needed to train a new team.

Employee engagement can stop the hemorrhaging

Luckily, there is hope! The Kronos study went on to report that 93% of nurses are satisfied with their career choice, even if they aren’t happy at their present employer.

But, there’s a reason that 90 percent of nurses say they have considered leaving the field. They’re in search of a better work/life balance that can only be brought about through a Culture of Engagement. 

When a company develops a meaningful Culture of Engagement, great things happen. The quality of work increases by 41% on average, there are 48% fewer safety incidents, and absenteeism and turnover rates are reduced by nearly 40%. This makes a huge difference -- and not just for the company’s bottom line. 

So, how can your healthcare organization create a Culture of Engagement?

This is a problem that C.A. Short Company has been working on for decades, hand-in-hand with our amazing healthcare clients. Through years of research, development and implementation, we have crafted an Employee Engagement system proven to increase employee engagement, create a safer working environment, and – most importantly for shareholders – grow your bottom line.

If you’re interested in setting up your own Culture of Engagement, be sure to check out our blog, “Improving Patient Satisfaction: Four Ways to Better Engage Your Healthcare Staff,” for some great tips on how to get started. You should also download our FREE whitepaper, “Employee Engagement Matters (a lot!) in Healthcare.”

This will help get the ball rolling, but to truly be effective, your organization needs to put in place a comprehensive engagement program that is custom-tailored to your organization’s needs. If you have questions about how your company can achieve this, we’d love to hear from you.

We’re happy to help in any way we can.

Healthcare eBook

C.A. Short Company partners with companies to manage, drive and facilitate increased employee engagement to increase financial performance, productivity, quality, and core performance outcomes. Our process and research-based platform enables executives and managers to engage their teams to increase the bottom line, motivate staff, and incentivize positive behavior. To Request a Complimentary Consultation, click here.

Topics: Employee Engagement, Healthcare, Nurses, Burning Out, Culture of Engagement, Work Life Balance, Mortality Rates, Healthcare Industry, Health care

Jeff Ross, CPA, CRP, CSM

About the Author
Jeff Ross, CPA, CRP, CSM

CEO & CFO
Mr. Ross, a certified public accountant, joined the C.A. Short Company as its controller in June 1993 and was named Chief Financial Officer in November 1996. From there, Jeff was promoted to President and Chief Financial Officer, and in 2017, was appointed CEO. Before joining C.A. Short Company, Ross was employed as an accountant by Hausser + Taylor, a large public accounting and consulting firm. Jeff presently serves on the Board of Directors of 2XSalt Ministries, Charlotte, NC and is a member of North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants, The Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Mr. Ross graduated from The Ohio State University with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in 1989.

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