A new study
that looks at clinician wellbeing as a factor to decrease turnover and improve care was recently published in JAMA Health Forum.
This was a refreshing angle to address the current staffing crisis, focusing on improving the work environment as opposed to resiliency training, which often puts the added burden on individuals themselves – many of whom are suffering from compassion fatigue, burnout and moral injury
In summary, the US Clinician Wellbeing Study
was a large, multisite collaborative investigation of the health and well-being of clinicians from 60 Magnet-recognized hospitals. Researchers looked at improving the work environment versus bolstering resiliency of clinicians to impact turnover and patient safety.
Data on wellbeing, turnover, and safety
All of the data of this original investigation
, which looked at responses from both physicians and nurses, can be reviewed in the report; here are some highlights:
- One half of the nurse-respondents reported experiencing high burnout.
- Over 40% of nurses would leave their current hospital if possible.
- Five in 10 nurses report a great deal of stress because of their job.
- Problems with overall health and sleep were more characteristic of nurses than of physicians.
- Approximately 26% of nurses gave their hospital an unfavorable grade on patient safety.
- More than half of nurses reported there were too few nurses.
- Both physician and nurse turnover were significantly associated with nurse burnout, nurse dissatisfaction, and nurses’ intentions to leave their current job.
- For both nurses and physicians, the highest-ranking intervention was improving nurse staffing (87% and 45%, respectively).
Key takeaway: Improve care delivery
Prioritizing organizational improvements is key. For their health and wellbeing, both physicians and nurses reported that interventions that improve care delivery is more important than those directly focused on improving their mental health. Providing safe workloads and better work-life balance should be the priority, and one way to do this is to improve nurse staffing. In a recent blog on nurse staffing, Dr. Anne Dabrow Woods breaks down staffing ratios and the importance of focusing on competency of new nurses and retaining experienced nurses
Nurses – our time is now. As the largest group of health care professionals, we can continue to impact the health of patients and the public by advocating for ourselves and our profession. Use your voice to share this data and look to leadership to invest in improving care delivery where you work.
Aiken, L. H., Lasater, K. B., Sloane, D. M., Pogue, C. A., Fitzpatrick Rosenbaum, K. E., Muir, K. J., McHugh, M. D., & US Clinician Wellbeing Study Consortium (2023). Physician and Nurse Well-Being and Preferred Interventions to Address Burnout in Hospital Practice: Factors Associated With Turnover, Outcomes, and Patient Safety. JAMA health forum, 4(7), e231809. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamahealthforum.2023.1809