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.
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.
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.
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.