December 5, 2023

Looking more closely at nurse burnout, impact on quality care

Editor's Note

A recent story on PBS NewsHour has recently looked at nurses’ vulnerability to burnout, and how it is impacting quality care. The story is part of the PBS series titled, “Critical Care: The Future of Nursing,” released on November 28.

According to the story:

  • A federal study last year found that nearly half of all US health workers reported feeling burned out. 
  • Research also shows that nurses are more likely to suffer from mental health conditions, and the suicide risk for females nurses was nearly twice that of the general population, even prior to the pandemic. 
  • One researcher from Ohio State University (OSU) noted that her studies found that the more depressed and burned out nurses are, the more they are prone to making preventable medical errors, adversely impacting patient safety. 
  • The researcher says OSU has combated stress and burnout in nurses through a wellness-based approach that includes peer-to-peer counseling and a cognitive skill-building program called MindStrong, among other measures.

Burnout among health workers, including nurses, can lead to preventable medical errors, which adversely affects healthcare quality and patient safety. This story emphasizes the importance of creating a culture of wellness within healthcare organizations–institutions that invest in the well-being of nurses see lower levels of burnout, depression, and stress, which ultimately benefits both providers and patients.


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