Healthcare Workforce Burnout: How to Prevent Burnout in Hospitals

November 10, 2023

Understand the top causes of burnout in staff and five strategies hospitals can utilize to prevent it.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of healthcare workers reported symptoms of burnout, and many faced mental health challenges. Even with the pandemic behind us, burnout levels are still high among healthcare workers in the U.S.

From doctors and nurses to clinical staff and non-clinical support workers, a new survey has found high rates of work fatigue in nearly every type of job associated with healthcare — fatigue is even a current priority of the U.S. Surgeon General.

While hospital staff burnout is a clear challenge currently affecting the healthcare industry, there are steps hospitals and healthcare facilities can take to help prevent it. However, to plan for prevention, healthcare facilities must understand what’s causing burnout in hospital staff. 

Key Causes of Burnout in Healthcare Workers

There are a wide range of societal, cultural, structural, and organizational factors that contribute to burnout among healthcare workers. By definition, burnout is a work-related stress syndrome resulting from chronic exposure to job stress. Some of the top causes include:

  • Demanding labor - Most healthcare workers work long hours at a demanding pace, even after hours, to keep up with daily duties and administrative tasks. 
  • Emotionally tense situations - Workers are often exposed to high-stress environments and may experience emotional exhaustion. 
  • Lack of organizational support - One study found nurses with low resilience and those who perceived inadequate social and organizational support had a higher risk of reporting more burnout. 
  • Packed schedules - From excessive workloads to limited say in scheduling, many health workers get little to no downtime and often do not get to choose their schedules.
5 strategies to help prevent healthcare worker burnout in hospitals

5 Strategies to Help Prevent Healthcare Worker Burnout in Hospitals

While preventing staff burnout in healthcare workplaces isn’t always possible, there are steps hospitals can take to help stop it from happening in the first place — here are five proactive strategies to consider.

1. Leverage Scheduling Best Practices

One possible solution to help lower burnout rates and dissatisfaction among healthcare workers is to let staff choose their weekly working hours and starting times. Having a say in scheduling can help some workers achieve a better work-life balance and feel more in control of their day-to-day lives. Other scheduling best practices include:

  • Avoid last-minute scheduling and unpredictability
  • Decrease the use of long shifts
  • Ensure adequate rest periods between shifts when approving schedules
  • Find ways to ensure nurses leave on time at the end of a shift
  • Know the staff members you’re scheduling
  • Vary the experience levels on each shift

2. Listen to Employee Feedback and Adapt

Employee feedback is one of the best sources for understanding not only employees’ needs, but also their expectations. Hospitals should prioritize two-way communication between staff and their managers, fostering a workplace that accepts and listens to candid feedback. 

To help improve workers’ feelings of control, healthcare leaders should use regular active listening programs to gather real-time feedback and find what changes can be made to ease workers’ stressors. One hospital tried this during the recent pandemic and found real-time employee feedback resulted in small but important workplace support that may have saved lives.

3. Minimize Threats of Duress

Healthcare workers often cite high-stress environments as a cause for burnout — hospitals can help make the workplace safer with a staff duress solution, such as Cox Prosight. Prosight allows for hospitals to streamline safety responses, helping facilitate quicker responses to staff in times of duress. 

With this RTLS platform, hospital staff can activate alerts at the press of a button on their tablet or smartphone, triggering automatic notifications. Using real-time visibility, security can quickly pinpoint the staff’s location in the hospital. Staff can even heighten alert severity so security can respond appropriately. 

4. Plan Ahead for Workflow Fluctuations

It’s common for hospitals and healthcare facilities to experience workflow fluctuations, especially during the holidays or seasonal illnesses. However, hospitals can improve workload management, preventing employees from becoming overworked, and ensure they always have the equipment they need with inventory forecasting

Cox Prosight’s inventory capabilities help hospitals gain real-time inventory visibility and plan for future demand, eliminating unwanted surprises. Nurses are often burdened by missing equipment and stockouts, and Prosight can help hospitals ensure staff always have the equipment they need to care for patients. 

5. Improve Operational Efficiency and Workflows

Lastly, healthcare facilities can help prevent burnout by improving overall employee communication. One method to improve employee communication is by leveraging an RTLS platform, like Cox Prosight, to use real-time location technology to share the pinpoint location and status of important medical equipment, medical staff, patients, and temperature-sensitive environments. 

foster a healthy work environment in your hospital with cox prosight

Foster a Healthy Work Environment in Your Hospital with Cox Prosight 

Not only does burnout have harmful consequences for healthcare workers, but it affects patient care and safety as well. By addressing healthcare workout burnout, hospitals can help retain staff, create a positive work environment, and improve overall patient satisfaction. 

The Cox Prosight platform is one tool healthcare facilities can utilize to improve organization workflows, minimize stress, and help improve inventory forecasting. Prosight is an affordable platform solution that’s customizable for individual hospitals’ needs. 

Want to learn more ways Cox Prosight can help your hospital prevent workforce burnout? Contact our team today to learn how Prosight can help streamline operations in your healthcare facility. 

Meredith Strachan
Manager, Marketing

Meredith leads strategy and execution of Cox Prosight's comprehensive marketing strategy including events, digital, content, campaigns and social media. She has a passion for bringing awareness to innovative, digital healthcare solutions through marketing programs enabling organizations to fully engage patients and improve patient experiences. Meredith holds a B.S in Finance from the University of Alabama and resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and child.