Healthcare is a demanding field and has only become more so over the past few years. Since 2020, nearly 20% of healthcare workers have left the field, and burnout rates have jumped from an average of 30% to 50% of all workers to 40% to 70%. Increased workloads and health risks and the ever-changing dynamics in the workplace are making life more challenging for both nurses and physicians. With all that’s at stake for our healthcare staff members, nurse retention should become a focal point for those in charge of healthcare facilities.
A 2022 survey found that the top reason nurses are leaving their jobs is burnout, and about 33% of those surveyed said they planned to leave by the end of the year. We know that burnout is the leading reason, but what is causing nurse burnout? Long hours, poor work-life balance, lack of mental healthcare, increases in verbal and sometimes physical attacks by patients, and lack of support from leadership have all been cited as contributing factors.
For nurses, the symptoms of burnout include exhaustion, compassion fatigue, emotional detachment, workplace-related anxiety, loss of joy or purpose, and a weakened immune system, which all detract from their ability to provide care to patients. Because nurses are the unsung heroes and backbones of the healthcare industry, changes must be made to alleviate their burdens.
Reducing Burnout Among Nurses
One update that can significantly lighten nurses’ loads is telehealth technology in hospitals, as telemedicine solutions can not only reduce the in-person risks of disease and aggression, but also streamline daily operations.
Despite these benefits, many healthcare workers are hesitant about buying into the technology because of previous negative experiences, such as messy EHR implementations. Nurses and other healthcare workers are already so overloaded that the idea of learning yet another cumbersome-seeming technology is a non-starter. But telehealth technology in hospitals doesn’t have to add to nurses’ workloads; in fact, a proper telehealth platform would streamline their work.
The key to adoption, then, is finding the right solution that fits within the existing workflow and saves staff members time. New technology in telehealth should be easy to use and mimic in-person interactions to fit within the routines of everyone involved.
Once telehealth is in place, it can reduce burnout by helping healthcare workers feel like they’re making a difference at work and staving off monotony. The necessary first step is getting workers ready to use the tools that will help make their jobs easier.
Preparing Nurses to Embrace Telehealth Technology
For healthcare organizations to take full advantage of telehealth technology, they need to understand how they can integrate the solutions seamlessly into their nursing staff’s workflows, which begins with training. To that end, here’s what to prioritize when training nurses on new telehealth implementation:
1. Educate nurses thoroughly and help them practice efficient telehealth use.
The only way staff and patients alike will experience the benefits of telemedicine is if they receive a thorough education on how telehealth works and what to expect from visits. First, educate nurses on the new software and ensure they understand how to use it, how to effectively communicate with patients or other clinicians during consults, and where to go if they need help with the new technology. They should also be able to discuss the benefits of telemedicine with patients who are hesitant about virtual visits. The confidence to efficiently use and implement new platforms comes from a place of knowing, and knowing comes from being educated.
To that end, make sure nurses practice using the telehealth solutions. By facilitating a thorough understanding of the telehealth platform and tools, nurses can minimize room for errors during actual patient interactions and create the best possible patient experience. Arrange a mock system to test: Your staff can benefit greatly from doing a test run on the telehealth system before they start seeing patients live.
2. Ensure that nurses can educate patients, too.
Telehealth technology is new for many patients as well, and when healthcare organizations prioritize the patient experience, patients are less hesitant to embrace the solutions. Ensure that the nurses can educate their patients on what telehealth is and what to expect during telehealth consults. Engaging in open communication on what to expect during telehealth experiences allows both parties to set realistic expectations and enables the patient to ask questions or set an agenda around what they need from the consult. Virtual experiences can sometimes create a disconnect, but by minimizing that disconnect through more streamlined care, nurses can create better patient experiences overall.
New telehealth technology can have a hugely beneficial impact on the well-being of nurses and, by extension, the welfare of their patients. The implementation might feel like a big hurdle, but it doesn’t have to be. To see how AMD’s expertise can help support your organization through the addition of telemedicine technology solutions, request a demo today.