What do NFL running backs and bedside nurses have in common? While the two occupations seem completely different, they share a common hazard: burnout. Nurse burnout has become an increasing concern for health systems, especially as hospitals work to manage and care for COVID-19 patients.

Turnover and Burnout: Bad for Sports Teams and Hospitals

The NFL season recently kicked off and similar to past years, it’s time to get to know the new names on the back my favorite NFL team’s jersey. But I have to wonder why are there so many new names?  Wouldn’t you think that would have a negative impact on the team’s success? One commonly cited statistic is that the average career of an NFL running back is 2.57 years. The physical toll the job takes on the body is so high that the best running backs in the world cannot continue to deliver at a high level for long. But that means every 3 seasons, offenses across the NFL are trying to train and build a team with a brand-new player getting handed the ball. It doesn’t matter if you are a coach, teammate, general manager, or fan–drafting a new running back every couple of years can be frustrating, and not to mention a great deal of work. This running back churn certainly has a negative impact on the continuity of the team and their ability to win games.

As unbelievable as it sounds, an NFL running back’s career is longer than the bedside career for 1 in 3 nurses! That’s right, 1 in 3 nurses (33.5%) leave the bedside within their first two years, to pursue other opportunities. Imagine how frustrating it is for a nursing manager when after two years of training and team building, a nurse on your staff that you invested 2-years developing since graduation walks out the door for a non-bedside role. This contributes to an average nurse turnover of 17% across the US, the resulting lack of continuity within the nursing staff ultimately has a negative impact on a team’s ability to deliver consistent, high-quality patient care.

Heavy Workload and Unpredictable Schedules Contribute to Nurse Burnout

So, what makes nursing, specifically providing care at the bedside, as exhausting as running the ball in the NFL? Could it be the lack of schedule consistency in a 7 day a week, 24 hour a day workplace? Could it be the constant requests, and sometimes begging, to pick up another shift or stay a couple of hours longer? Could it be adjusting your personal schedule again and again, only to be informed minutes before your shift that you are no longer needed? Is it coming to work, only to find out you are once again not needed in the unit you are familiar with, and instead, will be spending the next 12 hours with unfamiliar teammates and processes? Or is it simply the shortage of staff from all of these examples results in consistently high nurse to patient ratios and contributes to a vicious cycle of more nurses leaving the bedside?

Take Care of Your Team with Hospital IQ’s Predictive Staffing Solution

Most, if not all, of these challenges, are rooted in the fact that healthcare, and specifically bedside healthcare, is complicated and complex. Balancing staffing needs with an ever-changing patient load and infinite acuity variations might just be more complicated than Sunday afternoon game planning. So, is there anything that can be done to reduce nurse burnout? Just like the NFL coach uses data to understand the opponent’s tendencies and craft a game-day strategy, you should be leveraging the vast amounts of data within your organization to understand the tendencies of your patient care needs. At Hospital IQ, our Predictive Staffing solution provides you those insights. By combining historical data with machine learning we are able to accurately predict future staffing needs days in advance. Taking advantage of these insights will enable your leaders to proactively and confidently make decisions–proactive decisions made knowing where and when staff will be needed days in advance. Proactive decisions contributing to more schedule consistency, less last-minute changes, and better work-life balance for your nursing team. This will keep your team together season after season.

Take the first step towards reducing nurse burnout, download our whitepaper: Improve Your Staffing Practices with Predictive Analytics

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