Crisis in Healthcare: Nurses are Burnt Out

There’s a crisis in healthcare.

Our front-line caregivers, the army of nurses who work 12-hour-plus shifts, are getting worked to death and burnt out emotionally and physically while caring for ill strangers and treating them like family.

To most patients, nurses are the face of a healthcare organization; the people who interact with them while they are at their most vulnerable. Patients are very rarely the best version of themselves. They are almost always scared, hurting and can feel like they are nothing but a patient ID number. In addition to caring for patients, we ask our nurse heroes to respond professionally to patients’ families who are oftentimes overwhelmed and frustrated as advocates for their loved ones and concerned about the new normal they will face as caregivers after their loved one is discharged. 

As the safety instructions on airplanes remind us, “Put your own oxygen mask on before helping others,” it’s impossible for nurses to care for others if they’re completely depleted. In the scramble to take care of patients, it’s the nurses’ well-being that often pays the price;  77% of nurses say they do not eat well regularly because they don’t have time and their focus is on their patients and responding to never-ending call buttons.

Nurses deal with some extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Getting close to someone who
loses their battle with cancer. Feeling stuck in between opposing forces—their patients and their administrative responsibilities from the length of stay to insurance questions. At the end of the day, in response to the business of healthcare, many nurses feel like they aren’t doing enough even though they are miracle workers to their patients.

While nursing professionals may not take a Hippocratic Oath and its promise to “do no harm,” many take the Nightingale Pledge and all are guided by a similar code of ethics. So, not having the support and structure in place to provide a quality patient experience goes against everything that they stand for. In my own personal life, I have witnessed this dedication of nurses to go above and beyond for the care of their patients.

Without nurses, our healthcare system will collapse. We must do everything we can to help them sustain themselves as they literally fight to saves others’ lives—they've earned it.

Aside from the emotional and physical toll of nursing, it would seem like nursing has all the right ingredients to be the ideal profession. Taking care of others and helping them in their time of need is a meaningful way to make a living (having meaning in your work has been shown to lead to higher job satisfaction and engagement). Nursing professionals are in high demand and that will only continue to increase as our population gets older and sicker. By 2030, it is estimated that there will be 70 million people over the age of 65 and many with chronic diseases.

Even though 81% of the respondents to the Nurse.com Job Satisfaction Survey said they would recommend nursing as a profession to others and 71% said they had a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction from their work, fewer than half surveyed said morale at their organization was high and only 47% said they felt acknowledged for their job performance.

When nurses are burnt out, depleted and morale is low, it’s difficult to provide a quality patient experience. And, it might even be the difference between life or death. If nurses have too many patients to look after or they’re not bringing the best version of themselves to work they might miss signs of infection or changes in their patients like 36% of nurses in one survey confirmed.

Red Shoes Living Offers a Solution to the Burnout of Nurses

Since there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight to the long hours, intense patient load and stressful working conditions for nurses, now is the time to give them a framework to help them take care of their bodies, minds and spirits.

Red Shoes Living is a framework our front-line caregivers can always go back to that will help them be the very best version of themselves and stand out in the positive in the work they do and the life they lead. Not only will nurses benefit from learning the pillars of Red Shoes Living, but the patients, doctors and administrators will also reap immediate impacts and be inspired by its philosophy.

A healthy dose or steady drip of Red Shoes Living helps nursing professionals stay healthy and strong for their patients and sustain their passion for the work they do. This is a very effective way to improve morale in your organization and send the message to the nursing staff that they are valued and their hard work is appreciated. And the lessons and tactics they learn from Red Shoes Living stick with them even when they leave their patients, so it continues to impact their personal lives in a positive way.