Healthcare burnout: an epidemic inside a pandemic
The healthcare industry has always been in a unique league of its own. A highly governed institution, its complex infrastructure and stringent compliance regulations can neither be overlooked nor overstated. The demanding, intensive medical environment is well-known for high turnover and employee churn; this was common knowledge long before COVID-19.
Unfortunately, the everyday life-and-death challenges of the pandemic only made matters worse, exacerbating healthcare burnout. As a result, it’s never been more real or rampant than it is right now. It should come as no surprise, then, that healthcare burnout has become an alarmingly serious problem.
After nearly two grueling years of constantly coping with Covid, a staggering 60% to 70% of clinicians “suffer from symptoms of exhaustion, depression, sleep disorders and PTSD.” It’s apparent these burnout numbers have reached crisis levels.
As researchers work tirelessly to find new ways to combat the virus and its virulent variations, front-line doctors and nurses take their lives into their own hands every day as they care for their patients. But as you can see from the numbers, it’s taking a critical toll on medical professionals across the board:
How do doctors feel about physician burnout?
- An alarming 61% feel burnt out from the rigors of the pandemic, compared to 40% in 2018. [2021 Survey of America’s Physicians]
- 74% feel workplace culture contributed to their burnout and the burnout of their peers. [Physician’s Money Digest]
- Nearly 60% of physicians and therapists have considered early retirement or a career change to escape from pandemic-related burnout [Software Advice].
- 20% know of a colleague who’s considered, attempted or passed away by suicide since the pandemic’s beginning [The Physicians Foundation].
- 83% agree the risk of clinician burnout is a public health crisis today [State of Healthcare Communications Survey]
- 71% feel workplace culture contributed to their burnout and the burnout of their peers. [Physician’s Money Digest]
- 40% of doctors feel pandemic-related burnout has decreased patient satisfaction [Software Advice].
How do nurses feel about nurse burnout?
- 25% indicated they plan to leave the job in six months, with another 30% stating they were thinking about quitting due to the stress. [U.S. News]
- Reports indicate up to 50% of nursing staff have experienced “serious symptoms of burnout, including emotional exhaustion, cynicism and low sense of professional accomplishment” throughout the pandemic. [National Academy of Medicine (NAM)]
- 40% of American nurses feel depressed, a recent American Nurses Foundation study found which is up more than 10% from 2020. [American Nurses Foundation]
- The country needs an “additional 1.2 million nurses by next year to meet the growing demand for their services and to replace those leaving.” [U.S. News]
- Nursing burnout during Covid has increased to urgent proportions, with over a third of nurses reporting emotional exhaustion. [National Library of Medicine]
- 30% of oncology nurses have experienced emotional exhaustion and 35% have indicated feelings of low personal performance — both of which are signs of burnout syndrome [University of St. Augustine Health Services]
Root causes of the healthcare burnout crisis
It shouldn’t take a doctor to tell you that burnout is unhealthy, counterproductive and exhausting. Clocking too many hours for extended periods of time wears down even the most hard-working employees. But are there other factors that contribute to healthcare burnout?
At Click Boarding, we’ve uncovered three primary dilemmas faced by employees in the current medical employment environment that have contributed to the widespread burnout within the industry:
1. Compliance & regulations
Saddled with significant legal and financial risks, healthcare is one of the most regulated industries within the United States. But despite inflexible laws which have been in place for decades, many healthcare providers have copious work ahead if they want to effectively achieve compliance.
Meeting regulatory compliance standards is vital to patient health and safety, as well as protecting the organization from fines and litigation. Operating without a targeted onboarding compliance strategy and tactics exposes healthcare organizations to significant legal and financial risks. Therefore, this will not be a simple or quick effort. With the unpredictable ebb and flow of the virus, compliance demands are further evolving and presenting new challenges daily.
2. Professional worker shortage
The next crisis is the ever-growing shortage of healthcare professionals in virtually all types of medical positions: physician, nursing, diagnostic, surgical and countless more. Because of the heightened challenges created by the pandemic, it’s become a critical necessity for healthcare HR teams to holistically attract and satisfy staff. It’s the single most effective way to offset the third crisis that faces the industry head on: employee turnover. Staff shortfalls and the cost (both in time and money) to find and replace those employees can damage finances, morale and patient care.
3. The threat of turnover
Hospital and medical clinic staff shortfalls – combined with mounting costs to find and replace departing employees – can potentially damage a healthcare organization’s finances and overall bottom line. This doesn’t even take into account the devastating effect it will likely have on the morale of the employees left behind and the patients in their care.
Thankfully, Click Boarding has a heartbeat on healthcare:
- A need for labor-limited, guided experiences due to administrative lift
- Security of data and documents tied to certifications and licensures
- Flexible, API-friendly integrations to healthcare-specific HRIS and ATS systems
- Configurable workforces for unique roles and departments (nurses, physicians)
- End-to-end transitions that go well beyond 90 days, into employee exits and alumni
The prognosis? Capitalize on the moment!
Your healthcare employees deserve more, and it’s time you delivered efficient, foolproof engagements….from onboarding throughout their entire lifecycle at the organization. While the challenges over the past couple of years have been difficult, your employee journey experience doesn’t have to be! When you’re ready to focus on your people and let the process run itself, we’re only a click away.