The healthcare industry has witnessed a tremendous amount of change over the past few years and as we approach the third year of the coronavirus, the toll of these changes continues to seep through the industry. Across the country, more and more healthcare providers are experiencing severe staffing issues related to clinician burnout and stress, which has ultimately led us to a national crisis.
According to a recent survey from the American Nurses Foundation, more than 90% of nurses are considering leaving the workforce. Though nursing shortages were present prior to the pandemic, with a significant population of nurses reaching retirement age, COVID has catapulted nursing shortages into crisis levels. Furthermore, fewer new nurses are entering the profession, ultimately creating issues that could outlast the virus. With this national nursing shortage knocking on healthcare’s doorstep, it is vital for healthcare executives to recognize and understand why clinician burnout is occurring and what can be done to help solve this immense issue.
Clinician Burnout is Real and It’s Not Going Away
Clinicians truly are the backbone of healthcare, an empathetic group inherently driven to take care of people because they want to, and an essential component in driving patient care and quality. The U.S. has faced sporadic nursing shortages in the past, but the current national scarcity has been especially grave showcasing extreme persistence. So, what are the reasons for this nursing shortage? And what can be done to help find a resolution that satisfies expectations across all care settings?
At Real Time Medical Systems (Real Time), nearly one-third of our team members are nurses, so we decided to ask those who know it best for their insights on how healthcare leaders can better address clinician burnout. What we learned is that there is no shortage of reasons for burnout varying across clinician roles, specialties, and provider types. Several of the reasons which contribute to clinical burnout are increased workloads, perceived lack of control, and increased administrative burdens.
Clinician burnout can also be attributed to long working hours (including wearing multiple hats) and not being compensated well. This comes with constant evolving policies, increasing demands of meeting the patient needs while staying compliant with CMS regulations, as well as caring for a population with an increasingly higher acuity of patients.
But most importantly, lack of appreciation is leading to increased burnout. Clinicians and nursing staff are helping patients heal and overcome traumatic health conditions, and to not feel appreciated or feel taken advantage of is extremely disheartening and continues to increase clinician burnout.
Real Time’s Senior Clinical Account Manager, Kathy Derleth shares “The last three years brought a spotlight to an industry that, in prior years, was able to continue to adapt to change with several staff having the commitment and passion for caring for those who needed day-to-day support mentally or physically, but now that reserve is tired. Tired from constant regulatory changes, not enough resources to compensate sufficiently, and the increasing demands of regulations for documentation and individual patient needs. This industry needs more…more resources, more staff, and less regulatory changes so they can do what they do best. Nurse those who need it.”
How Can Healthcare Leaders Begin to Address Clinician Burnout?
Often, nurses feel overwhelmed due to the large number of responsibilities, so it is important for healthcare leaders to implement tools and programs that help mitigate clinician burnout. For example, care management solutions can aid care providers by directing their time and energy to the right patients, at the right time, helping them to focus on what is most important and who needs prioritization. The right care management solutions can empower clinicians to take control of their work life by helping them assess their time and effort. “For infection preventionists, having technology and care management tools that assist with surveillance and with logistical components of the infection prevention control programs can be exponentially timesaving. With the data being pulled and populated for you from the EHR, in an efficient way, these tools can tremendously improve patient outcomes and avoid adverse events from occurring,” states Cheryl Scalzo, RN.
Care management tools can also help reduce administrative burdens by automating workflows, identifying high-risk patients, providing early care interventions, reducing re-hospitalization risk, and identifying coding errors resulting in healthcare providers and staff spending less time staring at a screen and more time interacting with patients. Additionally, these tools enable clinicians to better collaborate with one another, both internally and with external care settings – allowing acute and post-acute providers to share data important to the patients’ care, collaborate on standards of care, and provide communication systems for available shifts and workforce models of staffing based on acuity.
According to Katie Brickey, Care Coordinator/Network Program Manager and RN “Clinician burnout stemmed from the ‘more is less’ mentality that the healthcare industry has been battling for years and even more so since COVID hit. When implementing care management tools, it is imperative to select technologies that don’t create additional work for the clinician. The goal of these solutions is to reduce administrative burdens, help better prioritize care, and provide a starting point for patient care collaboration without having to do any extra work.”
And most notably, care management tools can play an integral role in clinicians feeling as though that the work they are doing is making a difference and is rewarding to them. Implementation of these tools can help them to focus on what they can do to make care differences and spend more time at the bedside while feeling more accomplished at the end of their shift. By having processes and systems in place for clinicians to do their best will help them to feel rewarded and appreciated.
Tackling Clinician Burnout with Live Data Analytics
Solutions like Real Time’s Interventional Analytics helps alleviate clinician burnout by providing live, actionable data pulled directly from the post-acute electronic health record (EHR) and sharing this data with all clinicians involved in the patients care – no matter the care setting. “Real Time can really help with clinician burnout by prioritizing what patients the staff needs to focus on, giving them the path forward, and provide insights on what kind of things they can do to prevent bad outcomes”, states Real Time’s Executive VP, Health Systems Solutions, Phyllis Wojtusik, RN. “So, kind of a two-part thing: identifying those people who need additional support, assessment or evaluation, but then helping with that evaluation and determining what are the next steps they might or should consider doing; guiding them to what the outcomes should be.”
With the change in workforce and influx of agency staff, there are many younger, inexperienced nurses coming to the workforce. With Real Time’s care management tools, accessing live data within the post-acute EHR can help prioritize patient care, improve care collaboration across care settings, and empower clinicians to make informed care decisions.
“As a nurse that had the privilege to utilize Real Time in the field and now working with our customers, I was able to and continue to, see the positive impacts our solution brings to both clinicians and their patients. We can provide care teams with detailed clinical alerts and interventional recommendations that lead to improved quality of care, while mitigating clinician burnout. But our customers say it best, earning Real Time a 95% Overall KLAS Customer Satisfaction Rating.” Cindy Kreider, RN, BC, RAC-CT, VP, Clinical Operations.
To learn more about Real Time’s Interventional Analytics and ways we can help reduce clinician burnout, contact us today.