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How to Help Nurses During Hard Times

nurse helping patient

Nurses are at exceptionally high risk of burnout. Working in healthcare is physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging – and nurses do some of the most intense work in the field. Plus, nursing has gotten even more demanding since the COVID-19 pandemic, with rates of burnout among nurses reaching an all-time high.

While nurses can certainly take steps to prevent burnout, healthcare leaders also need to step up. There’s plenty that leadership can do to keep nursing staff rested, healthy, and happy. If you’re a healthcare leader dedicated to helping your nurses steer clear of burnout, here are some anti-burnout ideas to consider:

Stay on top of scheduling

A sleep-deprived nurse is a risk for both patients and staff. Creating a fair and efficient scheduling system should be your top priority as a nurse leader. Make sure your team has enough time to rest and recharge. This will keep everyone functioning at their highest level and improve patient care.

Offer stress management training

Give nurses access to convenient on-site stress-management training. You can ask employees within your team to lead the discussion or hire an expert to conduct a seminar. Offering resources like these assure nurses that you care about their mental health – that you’re going above and beyond to keep them happy. Plus, staff-wide training sessions are a great team-building activity.

Provide mental health benefits

At the very least, your staff’s mental health benefits should meet the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires coverage for mental health, behavioral health, and substance use disorders that’s on par with their physical health coverage. If you already have these benefits, look for more ways to bolster your employee’s mental health coverage. Consider choosing a plan with out-of-network benefits so staff can access a broader range of mental health specialists.

Get management on board

Train your managers and supervisors on best practices for mental health in the workplace. Mid-level management typically has the most contact with employees, which gives them the best opportunity to help staff directly. Teaching management how to recognize signs of burnout and support employees helps reduce turnover and absenteeism. Managers should understand that employees have a life outside work and always strive to model and promote healthy work/life balance. 

Listen to your nurses

Nurses are the backbone of your facility, so it’s essential to respect and listen to them. Give nurses a voice in important decisions by asking for input on company policies. You can gather feedback from team meetings, surveys, or anonymous suggestion boxes. Then, discuss the results and devise a plan to address any identified problems.

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