Trying to keep up with patient demands while navigating the complexities of technology, nurses are under serious pressure to perform at a high level throughout the day. As a result, burnout is at an all-time high, and nurses report spending as little as two hours of a typical 12-hour shift with patients.
Hospitals are looking at how different technologies and practices can help reduce nursing stress, thereby improving overall satisfaction and reducing turnover rates. This can be a key component to improving patient care, as nursing satisfaction is highly correlated with patient satisfaction and outcomes.
Given that nurses spend about one-third of their shift interacting with technology, it’s essential that these tools improve care delivery rather than slowing it down. Beyond improving job satisfaction, technology tools, such as smart watches, can be used to reduce provider stress.
Engineers at Texas A&M University are developing a new smartwatch that can help monitor nurses’ well-being and stress levels to help better manage their workloads. This data gives nurse managers a new way to view the units and oversee nurse performance.
While factors such as staffing ratios are already monitored, this technology would better indicate which nurses are available to take on other tasks and label those with high stress levels as “do not disturb.” Prototypes are currently under development now, but this would also allow nurse managers to redistribute staff based on real-time data, helping combat burnout due to stress.
Prioritizing Self Care
In addition to recognizing and monitoring stress, nurses need to practice self-care, which better positions them to take care of patients. Holistic nursing views everything as interrelated – so mental, physical, and social aspects all influence each other.
To help negate burnout, nurses need to prioritize factors like meals, bathroom breaks, and even occasional pauses to take a step back and regroup during the day. Many aspects of a nurse’s role can be emotionally taxing alongside the more physical aspects of the job, so it’s important to let both mind and body replenish throughout the day. Other strategies that prioritize total wellness include getting adequate sleep outside of work, and remaining calm before shifts.
Negating nursing burnout is a priority for hospital leadership across the country and mitigating its risks could separate successful units from struggling ones. By using new tech tools and prioritizing self-care for employees, hospitals can be confident their nurses are providing excellent patient care while improving overall hospital morale.