How Nurse Leaders Can Reduce Burnout: Focus on Mental Energy!

  • Author Footnotes
    1 Stephen Young, PhD, is a research faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina. He can be reached at
    Stephen Young
    Footnotes
    1 Stephen Young, PhD, is a research faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina. He can be reached at
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    2 Sacha Duff, MS, is a research associate at Design Interactive, Inc. in Orlando, Florida.
    Sacha Duff
    Footnotes
    2 Sacha Duff, MS, is a research associate at Design Interactive, Inc. in Orlando, Florida.
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    3 Kay Stanney, PhD, is president and founder of Design Interactive, Inc.
    Kay Stanney
    Footnotes
    3 Kay Stanney, PhD, is president and founder of Design Interactive, Inc.
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 Stephen Young, PhD, is a research faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina. He can be reached at
    2 Sacha Duff, MS, is a research associate at Design Interactive, Inc. in Orlando, Florida.
    3 Kay Stanney, PhD, is president and founder of Design Interactive, Inc.
      The U.S. workforce, including those in the health care sector, is in the midst of a workforce burnout crisis. For the past 20 years, annual surveys consistently show that organizations with employees reporting higher energy at work have greater customer satisfaction, increased productivity, higher profit margins, lower employee turnover, and fewer accidents.
      • Gallup
      Q12 Meta-Analysis: The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organizational Outcomes. 2014. Gallup website.
      Yet, with demand for our time and energy increasingly exceeding our capacity in a leaner, highly competitive, post-recession workforce, both personal and professional burnout has become ubiquitous. This burnout, or complete draining of one's energy due to overwork or overstress, is negatively impacting organizations. In a 2014 Insights Study of 160,000 employees across a broad spectrum of the U.S. workforce, the most important factor driving employee engagement was an employee's ability to manage stress.
      • Manciagli D
      How to Keep Your Rock Star Employees From Burning Out. July 18, 2014. The Business Journals.
      This factor may explain why of the approximately 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs, only about 30 million (30%) are engaged and inspired at work, with professional workers (e.g., nurses) mirroring the national trend. Active disengagement (20%) costs the United States $450 billion to $550 billion per year according to a 2013 Gallup study.
      • Gallup
      State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders. 2013. Gallup website.
      Beyond cost, the health care industry is also charged with ensuring patient safety. When nurse vigilance declines, strict observance of safety protocols may be reduced. In fact, research has shown that higher nurse burnout is associated with significantly higher rates of infection.
      • Cimiotti JP
      • Aiken LH
      • Sloane DM
      • Wu ES
      Nurse staffing, burnout, and health care–associated infection.
      Despite increased executive awareness, a human energy crisis continues to plague the health care sector as well as the entire U.S. workforce.
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      References

        • Gallup
        Q12 Meta-Analysis: The Relationship Between Engagement at Work and Organizational Outcomes. 2014. Gallup website.
        (Accessed May 2, 2015)
        • Manciagli D
        How to Keep Your Rock Star Employees From Burning Out. July 18, 2014. The Business Journals.
        (Accessed May 1, 2015)
        • Gallup
        State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders. 2013. Gallup website.
        (Accessed May 1, 2015.)
        • Cimiotti JP
        • Aiken LH
        • Sloane DM
        • Wu ES
        Nurse staffing, burnout, and health care–associated infection.
        Am J Infect Control. 2012; 6: 486-490
      1. Johnston M, McNeil M, Del Giudice K. Evaluation of fatigue and sleepiness at baggage screening checkpoints using CogGauge. Poster presented at: the International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society; October 30, 2014; Chicago, IL.