Nurse leaders say the job is a ‘no-win’ role

Burnout and turnover remain high among overwhelmed and under-resourced nurse leaders, according to a study from AMN Healthcare.

Article By: Susanna Vogel

Blog Source From : https://www.healthcaredive.com/

Dive Brief:

  • The top three workplace challenges facing nurse leaders are staff recruitment and retention, burnout and labor shortages, finds a new study from AMN Healthcare, a talent acquisition company.
  • Only 34% of nurse leaders reported having a “great deal” or “a lot” of financial resources to address their workforce needs, and more than 70% say they sometimes, often or always experience burnout.
  • Resource constraints and burnout may be linked to turnover intention, according to the study. Nearly a third of hospital nurse leaders report planning to leave their jobs in the next year.

Dive Insight:

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the well-being of clinicians has taken center stage as labor shortages, harassment from patients and a perceived lack of support from employers increased clinician burnout and turnover.

The AMN study, which surveyed hospital 186 nurse leaders, such as chief nursing officers and nurse managers between August and October 2023, found that leaders are suffering alongside their frontline staff. 

Nurse leaders said they are tasked with weighing in on a growing range of topics from workforce management to setting the hospital’s strategic agenda.

For example, more than 80% of nurse leaders reported a medium to high involvement in their facility’s strategic mission or financial management. Others are involved in planning patient protocols or developing nurse education and training. 

The majority report burnout associated with their expanding job requirements. A survey respondent said being a nurse leader is a “no-win role. No one is ever happy with you.” Another called the job “expansive, overwhelming, and all-encompassing.”

“Like millions of front-line nurses, nurse leaders are facing challenging work conditions that can exacerbate stress and fuel turnover,” said Christine Mackey-Ross, president of AMN Healthcare Leadership Solutions in a statement accompanying the survey. “The job satisfaction and personal well-being of nurse leaders therefore should be a primary concern of any healthcare facility seeking to maintain the continuity and effectiveness of its nurse staff.”

There are methods available to improve nurse hiring and retention that allow nurse leaders to better plan for and address workplace needs with minimal disruption, according to Mackey-Ross. 

Many are increasingly using technology to manage workforce operations. Approximately half of nurse leaders use virtual interview platforms to hire, such as online interview tools, while 47% use online tools to streamline onboarding. However, some nursing leaders report financial barriers to implementing such tools or a lack of informational technology expertise.

To meet their scheduling needs, nearly 60% of nurse leaders use internal float pools, which allow hospitals to act as their own travel nurse agencies and assign permanent staff nurses temporary assignments.

Float pools were the most frequently cited tool used to manage workforce needs, and respondents said it was the most effective option to improve scheduling. Sixty-five percent of respondents said internal float pools were extremely or moderately useful at improving hiring and scheduling processes in their facilities.

Nurse leaders say they also use contingent nurses to address turnover among the permanent nurse staff, meet hospital quality goals or scale up operations.  

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