The Burden of Clinician & Physician Burnout - A Study
Anyone interested in the staggering burden of clinician burnout will want to read the original investigation by Linda Aiken et al, “Physician and Nurse Well-Being and Preferred Interventions to Address Burnout in Hospital Practice: Factors Associated With Turnover, Outcomes, and Patient Safety."
What makes this study so compelling — in addition its large multicenter survey study of 15,738 nurses and 5312 physicians — is the finding that respondents “rated improvements in staffing and work environments as more important to their mental health and well-being than instituting clinician wellness and resilience programs.” In other words, the very focus that most hospitals have adopted — expanding wellness and resilience services for employees — misses the mark. While the addition or expansion of such services may offer some short-term benefit to beleaguered clinicians, they do not address the underlying causes of burnout. In short, the problem is not the worker, it is the workplace.
Senior Leadership & Their Role of Preventing Workplace Burnout
Senior leaders must “own” coming up with affirmative steps — in consultation with their clinical staffs — to change the conditions in the workplace and workflow which give rise to burnout. It can be done. It must be done. Those hospital leadership teams which recognize their responsibility vis-a-vis burnout — and who can successfully improve the work environment for clinicians — will become ascendant. Those that fail to do so will continue to struggle with staff turnover, patient safety and patient experience issues, and poorer outcomes.
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Paul DeChant, MD, MBA and Bruce D. Cummings, MPH, LFACHE are recognized experts in clinician burnout and the healthcare innovators behind Organizational Wellbeing Solutions.