Nurse burnout is an exceedingly growing and real problem in today’s modern nursing workforce. There are many factors that contribute to why a nurse can become so burnt out, and evidently it is due to unsafe nurse-to-patient ratios, stress, work environment dissatisfaction, and workplace violence. Seventy percent of nurses have declared being burnt out and have also stated the desire to leave the profession completely. Recognizing these problems could bring awareness that nursing is a very underappreciated and demanding job because there are nurses who still carry a smile and try to provide the utmost best care to their patients while still facing burnout and the exacerbating problems associated with it. The course of a nurse in one shift can be very hectic and includes but is not limited to administering treatments and medicating patients, providing intimate hands on care, calling the doctor, documenting, dealing with family and the patients support system, and maintaining the safety for these patients.
Modern day nurses are confronted with many situations that lead them to be burnt out. The biggest problem I believe that nurses face in being the number-one associated problem in leading to burnout, is short staffing that then turns into what is believed to be unsafe nurse-to-patient ratios. The typical ratio from nurse-to-patient in the Medical/Surgical unit is one nurse to five patients, that is also true for a Telemetry unit, Psychiatry, and the Emergency Department. Critical Care is more high acuity and sometimes the acuity can be so high that it’s a one-to-one with a nurse. Typically, in critical care it is a two-to-one ratio because patients are super sick and need constant monitoring and assessing. A nursing assignment can be very stressful and lead to burn out if different factors aren’t considered such as acuity, and supervision level. If nurses aren’t careful and smart in navigating through there shifts, they will become burnout and this comes with additional problems like depression, fatigue, job dissatisfaction, and higher rates of mistakes in the nursing practice. As a nurse you are told to do no harm and, in my opinion, it starts with proper nursing staffing to accommodate proper nurse-to-patient ratios. A lot of unsafe events like falls happen when not enough nurses are on the floor supervising and are stuck in other rooms medicating or providing care. There are situations in which a nurse can feel It is so unsafe that they feel like their license is on the line and tend to be very dissatisfied with their job. This adds to the problem where nurses leave their job and add to the already growing problem of a shortage of nurses, that is primarily due to turnover from nurses who are dissatisfied from their jobs and the continually growing unsafe to nurse-to-patient ratios. The quality of care and patient satisfaction seems to also be a common repercussion from patients feeling like they haven’t been able to be properly cared for because the nurses isn’t around as much as the patient would like, because they’re buried in their assignment and there is medications that have been overdue for 2 hours because one patient is already too high acuity, leading to patient dissatisfaction.
A strategic standardized nursing delivery system must be put into place so that nurses can come to work and safely and effectively care for their patients and not have to worry about mistakes, risky assignments, and provide exceptional patient care. Placing in a plan that would include patient acuity and safety would most definitely make for a better and safer job environment that would decrease the amount of burnout nurses experience, and higher satisfaction with nurses and their working environment. Proper care would be provided if there were enough nurses. There is always going to be a nurse no matter the circumstances, who would get burnt out, but it should create a standard of care so that nurses are just as happy as patients are. Another thing to help nurses become less burnt out is for organizations to implement resilience in nursing modules or classes. This could help nurses to help cope and understand why nursing is a tough job and how to get through it by teaching them to set boundaries, engage in healthy habits, delegating tasks as appropriate, and just saying no at times. Nursing health is just as important as a patient’s health. It is important for nurses to feel job fulfillment so that they can continue and grow as a nurse rather than hoping to get through the week and coming to work already dissatisfied because of how crappy your unsafe and unappealing your assignment is. A nurse should come in and look forward to coming to work and caring for people, and a patient doesn’t deserve to receive a nurse who burnout and lacking in interest of the patient’s health. Nurse burnout is a real thing, and it starts with proper staffing so that care is efficient and patient satisfaction is high. This gives the nurse job fulfillment, a good career outlook and a positive attitude, all while being able to provide proper care based on evidence-based practice. Organizations could then achieve magnet status and charge more, for higher care and high nurse satisfaction. A former Chief Nursing Officer that I currently work with said that if you have happy nurses you have happy patients [clients] and a happy and booming organization. Nurses really are the backbone of a hospital. Without nurses a hospital really isn’t much. In my opinion you always give the nurse what they want. Nurses want to be able to care for their patients as if they were there family member. Exceptional care, with the utmost dignity, and compassion. Safe assignments and effective care due to safe nurse-to-patient ratios. Healthcare is a business, but its one that is still being standardized and has yet to be reformed by nurses coming together and defining what a safe shift is and implementing safe nurse-to-patient ratios.
In conclusion, nurse-to-patient ratios have a huge impact on many things. From nurses becoming depressed, stressed, and fatigued to patients feeling they have not been cared for effectively because a nurse is just too tired and is experiencing the exacerbating factors of burnout. We need a strategic standardized nursing delivery system where all of the factors that lead to burnout and dissatisfaction between nurses and patients is met so that it doesn’t become a problem. A system that defines modern day safe nursing practice like evidence-based practice. California has strict laws that mandate nurse-to-patient ratios and I believe that should be something that is nationwide to provide excellent care always. Nurses work very hard, are underappreciated and underpaid and deserve recognition for all they do to keep society in balance. They serve people at there most vulnerable and difficult times and are also a population that is underserved and underheard. They work long hours, deal with things most people don’t have a stomach for, and work in highly demanding and stressful situations. Whenever I hear nurse, I think of a heroic person because they have the toughest job and people don’t realize that. Nurses do so much, and it is rewarding because you do it because you care and not for the money, because clearly nurses aren’t paid what they really deserve.