News Post

United States Surgeon General Warns of Healthcare Worker Burnout

by Cade Webb

As the United States healthcare sector feels numerous continued effects since the onset of the the COVID-19 Pandemic, healthcare systems and facilities are searching for answers on how to proceed.

In an unprecedented advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, M.D., the federal government this week recognized the stress being placed onto healthcare outputs due to factors such as employee burnout, resignation, and employees outright leaving the profession.

“At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and time and time again since, we’ve turned to our health workers to keep us safe, to comfort us, and to help us heal,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra. “We owe all health workers – from doctors to hospital custodial staff – an enormous debt.”

Healthcare systems across the country are feeling a continued staffing pinch due to the pandemic. Outlined in the advisory are several topline recommendations that are to be used to address burnout and keep employees engaged:

  1. Transform workplace culture to empower health workers and be responsive to their voices and needs.
  2. Eliminate punitive policies for seeking mental health and substance use disorder care.
  3. Protect the health, safety, and well-being of all health workers:
  4. Provide living wages, paid sick and family leave, rest breaks, evaluation of workloads and working hours, educational debt support, and family-friendly policies including childcare and care for older adults for all health workers. 
  5. Ensure adequate staffing, including surge capacity for public health emergencies, that is representative of the communities they serve. 
  6. Organizations, communities, and policies must prioritize protecting health workers from workplace violence and ensure that they have sufficient personal protective equipment. 
  7. Reduce administrative burdens to help health workers have time with patients, communities, and colleagues.
  8. Prioritize social connection and community as a core value of the healthcare system.
  9. Invest in public health and our public health workforce.

The advisory comes on the heels of a recent projection that indicates a projected shortage of nearly 140,000 physicians by 2033, and a shortage of three million nursing, allied, and other lower-wage healthcare professionals.

The time to address critical healthcare worker burnout is now, and you need a partner you can trust. Contact us today to learn about how we can partner with you in these unprecedented times.

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