By Will O’Connor, M.D., chief medical information officer, TigerConnect
When the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that COVID-19 was no longer a global pandemic, everyone breathed a maskless sigh of relief and tried to put the devastation of a three-year-long crisis behind them. But now, the healthcare industry faces another pandemic – a nurse staffing crisis years in the making.
A recent report by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing found that nearly 100,000 registered nurses had left the profession since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, when exposure was high and support was low. What’s more startling is that another 600,000 nurses intend to leave by 2027 due to stress, cognitive burnout, and retirement. This labor shortage adds to the factors pushing nurses to leave as their workloads inevitably increase while available resources remain scarce. But what’s at the root of this mass exodus?
Navigating The Great Attrition
As of March 2023, 45% of inpatient nurses reported they are likely to leave their role in the next six months because they feel undervalued by their organization and have an unmanageable workload, contributing to burnout, stress, and cognitive burden. As nurses navigate the complexities of providing care to multiple patients, they face the challenge of using ineffective communication methods such as phone and email and balancing various interruptions and disruptions, all of which obstruct patient care. In fact, miscommunication is the root of over 70% of sentinel events, resulting in $1.7 billion in malpractice suits over five years.
In a recent joint survey conducted by Becker’s Healthcare and TigerConnect of more than one-hundred clinical leaders across various healthcare ecosystems, respondents provided valuable insights into the perceived risks to patients and care providers stemming from communication and workflow processes that put care on the line. These risks include:
- 68% of respondents cited an increase in staff frustration with slow response times or lack of response
- 64% of respondents noted that numerous alerts and system notifications lead to cognitive overload, also known as alarm fatigue
- Over half, or 56%, stated that suboptimal communications create the risks of delays in patient care
Enhancing Clinical Collaboration
Given these insights, it is evident that to develop a successful staffing strategy, healthcare leaders need to understand how nurses spend their time, their desired allocation of time, and how communication methods affect job satisfaction. By identifying the detrimental effects of inadequate workflows and broken communication methods, healthcare organizations can seek ways to alleviate the burdens on nurses and allow them to thrive and deliver exceptional patient care.