The quality of nursing care provided in hospitals, other healthcare institutions, and primary care settings is a significant factor in determining healthcare results. Patient and employee safety is a problem that cannot be overlooked in the healthcare industry. Hence, the provision of healthcare places emphasis on patient safety. This is because there are protocols that have been established, and the nurses are required to follow these protocols while providing care to patients constantly. On the other hand, nurses might suffer from exhaustion and overwork, which can harm the safety of the patients and the personnel working in healthcare facilities. (McHugh et al., 2020; Olley et al., 2018). Inadequate nursing personnel at the institution, a large number of patients per nurse, and a lack of good planning by the administration to assign tasks fairly are reasons for nursing burnout and heavy workload. Burnout impacts the effectiveness of nurses and prevents patients from reaching their intended results. The high prevalence of physician burnout sends a clear message to health care executives that enhancing the clinical work and learning settings should be a national and corporate priority.
With its rigorous days at work, intolerable expectations, and mental limitations, the healthcare environment may place healthcare professionals and other practitioners in great danger of exhaustion. Burnout is a chronic stress response marked by estrangement, depersonalization, lack of personal accomplishment, and tiredness. As caregivers face more significant vocational hurdles, new technologies, fluctuating workloads, and varying payment methods, nursing burnout becomes more dangerous. A 2018 study by the NJEM Catalyst Insights Council, comprised of clinicians, clinical leaders, and executives, revealed that 84% of healthcare organizations had nurse burnout (Swensen et al., 2018). Further, the research findings demonstrated that other healthcare professionals are equally susceptible to burnout, not only nurses. According to the study’s findings, 71% of doctors experience burnout, while 78% of Registered Nurses (RNs) are affected by the same phenomenon (Swensen et al., 2018). In addition, at least 64 percent of advanced practice registered nurses and 57 percent of clinical executives have the same issue (Swensen et al., 2018). The burnout problem needs a lot of attention if we want to prevent its potentially negative impacts on nurses and other health professionals.
One common factor that leads to burnout is long working hours. Some nurses have to work longer than the stipulated time due to increased demand for health services, poor work plans, and understaffing (Cañadas-De la Fuente et al., 2018). Nursing executives overlook to recognize the strain their workforce suffers while working longer hours, culminating in burnout (Caadas-De la Fuente et al., 2018). Long work hours are related to sleep deprivation, which leads to burnout. Lack of sleep is especially prevalent among nurses who work long hours and frequent shifts. A high-stress atmosphere that demoralizes employees from executing their responsibilities with the appropriate energy may also contribute to burnout (Butler et al., 2019). For example, suppose a nurse works in an intensive care unit or emergency room. In that case, she may be exposed to a high fatality rate, ethical dilemmas, traumatic stress, and belligerent patients related to heightened depression levels and an increased risk of burnout. To correctly manage burnout, it is necessary to address these problems.
There is a significant likelihood that nurses may have diminished productivity due to exhaustion. Burnout among nurses is a widespread problem affiliated with a decline in the number of energy practitioners. This decline in motivation leads to emotional distress, a lack of enthusiasm, and feelings of despair and frustration, all of which typically interfere with the amount of work that can be accomplished effectively (Mudullal et al., 2017). As a result of burnout, nurses endure significant mental and emotional tiredness and are less likely to realize their hopes and ambitions in providing medical care.
The intense pressure has its adversities as most nurses resort to quitting their job. For instance, when nurses feel that they can no longer withstand the constant strain of their jobs and the stress that comes with it, they are more inclined to leave their jobs. As an impact, this may increase the turnover rate (Kelly et al., 2021). Increasing turnover rates cause even more disruption in an already overburdened working environment. Another way that burnout hinders nursing performance is that it may lead to a decline in the overall quality of care provided (Salyers et al., 2017). The tiredness that comes with more work prevents nurses from performing as well as they would want to be able to. Concerns of this kind might be challenging for some nurses to manage, resulting in more unsettling results.
Impacts of Nursing Burnout
The patients’ health results and safety depend significantly on the nurse’s practices in the healthcare setting. The purpose of healthcare is to enhance the patient’s quality of life and welfare. Conversely, healthcare facility staff employees would want to function in an atmosphere that is secure for them. There are substantial consequences to the safety and health results of the patients and staff when nurses face excessive workloads and burnout.
High Nurse Turnover Rates
Additionally, there would probably be a high employee turnover rate in a facility where nurses are overworked and experience burnout. Nurses are people who recognize the value of standard precautions in the medical field. Anxiety and mental trauma are exposed to nurses due to burnout and excessive workload, such as long shifts. Thus, maintaining the stressors while providing quality care at the hospitals and medical facilities is a significant physical demand on their part (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2019). The nurses may analyze the factors contributing to workload and burnout as cruelty and a disregard for their welfare on the part of the healthcare management. They may quit and seek better opportunities where their welfare is recognized. As the facility would act to educate new nurses on their procedures and operations, high turnover rates would impact the quality of healthcare delivery. This would affect patients who had grown attached to some of the patients.
Consequently, nursing burns out from their excessive workload are more prone to make prescription mistakes. In many hospitals, medication mistakes are the root cause of unfathomable pain and deaths. Medication errors are a crucial cause for worry in the healthcare industry. These mistakes can lead to unfavorable health outcomes and significantly cost medical institutions. When nurses are overworked beyond their capabilities, it is far more likely that detrimental consequences like these may occur. Although any medical practitioner may produce medication mistakes, the likelihood of a medication error being caused by a nurse suffering burnout is relatively high. This is despite the fact that any medical practitioner can cause medication errors. Thus, the issue is a highly essential element because it concerns the personnel and patients’ health and safety. It takes a straightforward mistake to bring about a patient’s demise.
Leaves and Absences from Work
As a result, nurses who experienced work overload and burnout frequently took sick leave and had high absenteeism rates. Physical exertions made by nurses while dealing with patients can occasionally result in occupational concussions. These injury problems can include musculoskeletal injuries and fatigue, likely to result in employee absences (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2019). The tendency of absenteeism can negatively impact the facility’s healthcare service delivery. This is because, in most cases, nurses are assigned a certain number of patients for a predetermined time. When one or two nurses with burnout are unforeseen absent from work, the remaining nurses are strained because they must cover for their absent colleagues (Ball & Griffiths, 2022). Although it may appear to be a typical situation, it would ultimately perpetuate the cycle of burnout and overwork. The result would be increased health and safety risks for staff and patients.
The connection between the nursing staff and the patients is crucial for enhancing the patient’s quality of life. Stressed and depressed nurses who are exhausted cannot communicate successfully with patients. Clear communication is difficult when one party lacks the necessary focus, concentration, and time (Vermeir et al., 2018). A nurse with an excessive workload would not spend much time developing a lasting health connection with a patient. As a result, the nurse will likely overlook vital indications that might enhance the patient’s health outcome. In such instances, nurses would prefer to keep crucial hints worth discussing with a medical expert to themselves (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2019). Similarly, other employees may experience miscommunication when transferring responsibilities at the end of the day. Communication breakdown in healthcare may have disastrous consequences and should be avoided as a top concern. Thus, nurse burnout and excessive workload impact their relationships with patients.
Nursing administrators should play crucial roles in preventing their employees from experiencing burnout. National Academics (2019) states that nurse leaders must monitor their employees’ emotional and psychological well-being in the clinical setting to spot signs of nursing burnout. According to Bru-Luna et al. (2022), caregivers can be seen experiencing burnout by submitting their instances to administrators with burnout worries and other mental illnesses. Thus, Bru-Luna et al. (2022) propose that nursing staff, who often lack professional acumen, get the necessary assistance and attention to accomplish their jobs and avoid burnout. Additionally, seasoned and capable nursing personnel that suffer emotional and moral hardship due to burnout might benefit from the administration providing counselling and leadership direction.
Further, avoiding extended work hours is another way to prevent burnout. If feasible, nurse leaders should limit shift durations to nine hours (Zhang et al., 2018). Nurses should avoid mistreated facilities and desist from working beyond suggested hours, and promote a work plan that includes time for hobbies, family, and other interests (Zhang et al., 2018). Failing to establish and execute an appropriate work schedule may lead to poor working conditions and length.
It is possible that taking sufficient intervals to relax and recuperate from work impacts might be an effective method for combating nursing burnout. Wendsche et al. (2017) recommend that nurses take a vacation to acquire sufficient relaxation and a change of environment. To promote and execute this, facilities may establish a mandatory vacation day rule with a frequent check to guarantee their employees have sufficient rest (Wendsche et al., 2017). Breaks and relaxation periods enhance work satisfaction and reduce the desire to quit. It is feasible to manage the problem of nursing burnout by seeking help when feeling overwhelmed by a job and other responsibilities. Support groups inside and outside the hospital may provide health care professionals with a safe area to vent their unhappiness and resolve issues, allowing them to have a decent night’s sleep when they return home.
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