Analysis of a Pertinent Healthcare Issue
The healthcare system in the United States faces significant issues or stressors that might negatively affect care outcomes unless leaders implement effective solutions. The challenges create uncertainty and pose a risk for health care organizations, which are expected to provide safe and quality care. Regardless of such issues, hospitals and other medical facilities should improve efficiency across functions. Besides, leaders in organizations should develop and use practical leadership approaches to address the challenges and improve quality (Marshall & Broome, 2017). Although leaders will contend with many issues or stressors in the healthcare sector, burnout is among the most pertinent concern directly related to turnover, which leaders should address using an effective health and wellness program.
Burnout among Nurses
Among health care professionals, nurses experience the highest level of stress and burnout. Burnout is an excessive mental exhaustion because of job-related stress. Nurses suffer the highest level of burnout because of the nature of their work. They have the most contact with patients with critical illnesses and other complex needs, including mental illnesses. They are also working in an environment with a shrinking workforce, which increases the demand for their work (de Paiva, Canário, de Paiva China, & Gonçalves, 2017). Therefore, the increasing complexity of patient demands and growing nurse-patient ratios have increased the rate of burnout among nursing professionals. Data in the organization indicate that since 2016, 36 nurses have quit their work because of exhaustion. The most affected department is the emergency department. Besides, the research reveals that more than 60% of the remaining nurses report being considerably exhausted by the demands of their work (de Paiva et al., 2017). Burnout is a significant problem in the hospital and mostly affect the nurses.
Burnout has severe effects on the health care organization. Among nurses, burnout is the leading cause of presenteeism and absenteeism and nurse turnover. The overly exhausted nurses reveal a high level of intention to leave the profession shortly after graduating and beginning to work. The issues also affect the quality and safety of care provided to patients and, ultimately, the level of patient satisfaction. Exhausted nurses are at a higher risk of committing medical errors and other adverse drug events in the healthcare organization. The negative effects of burnout among nurses eventually affect the hospital because of low levels of satisfaction among patients (Portoghese et al., 2014). Besides, the health care organization bears the cost of hiring new nurses every time some resign due to burnout. For example, since the beginning of 2019, the administration has hired 15 new nurses while the organization is still understaffed.
Research affirms the negative outcome of burnout among nurses in health care organizations. Fida, Laschinger, and Leiter (2018) propose the development of self-efficacy in the workplace as a useful intervention to address the adverse effects of burnout among nurses. Nurse leaders should create educative programs to develop high-quality nurses and protect them from the negative outcomes of the demanding workplace, such as the emergency department demands. Such programs should focus on occupational coping self-efficacy to protect nurses from the detrimental outcomes of burnout. In a systematic review, Henry (2014) explored interventions that health care organizations use to prevent the damaging effects of burnout in nursing. Some of the proposed responses include “Self-care using expressive writing; assistive programs such as retreat; mindfulness-based stress reduction program; mentoring program; compassion fatigue resilience program; and other education programs to promote health and wellness.” The programs are implemented in different forms in health care organizations.
Effective interventions in health care settings to deal with burnout should focus on developing resilience and self-efficacy among the professionals to avoid compassion fatigue, exhaustion, and burnout. Health care organizational leaders should create mechanisms to support the programs that would help nurses to overcome burnout. Since burnout is a psychological response to stress and pressure in the workplace, leaders should create programs to educate nurses on the approaches that can increase their self-efficacy and resilience. People with an ability to believe in themselves and have control over their lives experience low-stress levels. The training program should also include the ability to perform their works at the expected performance level to eradicate the stress that accompanies poor performance in highly demanding workplaces, such as in the emergency department. Health and wellness programs are effective in dealing with work stressors.
Overall, health care organizations in the United States face many work-related challenges. One of the severe issues in the modern system is nurse burnout and turnover. Hospitals are losing nursing staff, making the shortage crisis even worse. Hence, instead of replacing nurses regularly, the most cost-effective solution is to create an intervention to address the burnout problem. The program should improve the resilience and self-efficacy of nurses to prevent exhaustion and the associated impact on nurses, patients, and the organization. It should implement a health and wellness program to help nurses to recover from the effect of the pressures and demands of their work.