Nurse Shortages Leading to Concerning Levels of Burnout, MPs Warn.
10 Jun 2021 | Anne Marie Fogarty
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Burnout among nurses and other healthcare workers has now become so common that it should be classed as an emergency, according to an influential group of MPs. 1
What’s driving these high levels of burnout?
The key issue appears to be workforce shortages, a long-standing problem even before the pandemic, according to a report by the Commons’ Health and Social Care Committee.1
Not only is workload chronically excessive, but the added pressure of working through Covid has negatively affected nurses and healthcare workers’ wellbeing. Before the pandemic hit, there were approximately 50,000 nursing vacancies and many nurses were considering leaving the profession due to stress, workloads and staff shortages.
So, as a solution-driven flexible staffing organisation, we ask what can we do collaboratively as a country – the UK Government, the NHS and the flexible workforce solutions to solve this critical problem? First, we need to better understand burnout and its key causes.
What is Burnout?
Burnout is unfortunately not a new concept for many overworked and undervalued healthcare professionals. However, the pandemic seems to have stretched an already pressurised workforce to breaking point. With many left feeling exhausted, depressed and stressed beyond their limits-burnout is a real threat to both the private and public health systems.
Defined as a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion caused by prolonged stress, burnout is essentially when we run out of fuel to keep going.
Nurses have for years given their all into their passion to care. There now needs to be a rapid and effective change in working conditions to secure a safe level of staffing, the wellbeing of our healthcare workers and the welfare of the industry. Workforce staffing levels are a key concern directly linked to the burnout emergency we are seeing among nurses now.
Through the partnership between government, the NHS and flexible workforce solutions, we can look deeper into the root causes of why we are facing detrimental staffing levels in nursing across the UK.
Some of the root causes appear to be:
- An insufficient number of graduates – We have a low number of graduates in the UK – so if we do not have sufficient numbers going in, we do not have them coming out. We asked why are we failing to attract people into healthcare? What makes someone want to be a nurse?
- Retention – The people who do come into healthcare are leaving in high numbers -Why? What needs to be in place to retain these skilled professionals?
- Extra pressure – Look at the imposed pressure from international sources –Are we giving international workers enough time to adjust? If not, then it is adding pressure on an already stretched UK workforce?
These concepts are contributing to workforce shortages, high stress levels, poor wellbeing and the current crisis we face with burnout.
Fair pay, a good work-life balance with flexibility, and staffing levels that ensure safe patient care are essential if we are to address burnout from staff shortages.
If you are a healthcare worker looking for an opportunity with a great work-life balance, excellent pay rates and flexibility- contact us today!