Is nurse fatigue leading to an unengaged workforce?
Jennifer Zannotti, Kronos
What should the work environment be like for a nurse? Nurses choose to do what they do because they enjoy it. They are passionate about caring for their patients. Nurses spend each shift taking care of patients because they love what they do — they're passionate people, but are nurses being cared for?
A new survey commissioned by Kronos Incorporated shows an astonishing 93% of U.S.-based registered nurses are satisfied in their career choice. The survey also finds that nurse fatigue is a persistent problem, with 98% of nurses stating that the work of a nurse is both physically and mentally demanding. Forty-four percent also say that their managers don't know how tired they are and 43% state that they hide how tired they are from their managers.
Nurses are hardworking and dedicated to their profession that they chose. They're engaged which is important, and also hard to come by. Fatigue, however, is a persistent problem which puts the engagement of nurse at risk. The results of the survey indicate we need to start caring more for the care providers.
Work/life balance is a common terminology in the workplace today. A strong work/life balance can keep employees engaged or even increase employee engagement. More than four out of five (83%) of nurses surveyed say that healthcare organizations today are losing good nurses because corporations and other employers offer a better work/life balance. In fact, more than half (55%) of nurses say that if they had more control over their schedule, it would help alleviate a lot of their fatigue and three in five (60%) agree that more control over their schedule would help them obtain a better work/life balance.
To put this into a bit more perspective, a good friend of mine recently resigned from her director of nursing position at a long-term care facility due to the inability to manage her schedule. As a newlywed and a student enrolled in a nurse practitioner program, she found the work/life balance almost nonexistent. If there were more flexibility in her schedule and responsibilities were shared she would have been able to manage, but the fatigue and lack of work/life balance ultimately led her to the decision of resignation.
Having a say in the schedule goes a long way.
When it comes to the reasons for nurse fatigue, some of the biggest reasons are too heavy of a workload, not being able to have lunch/dinner breaks during a shift and not being able to take breaks during a shift. These are all factors of an undesired schedule which ultimately leads to little work/life balance and a fatigued nurse.
It is now time when organizations need to care for the caregivers. Nurses love what they do, but it is hard for them to manage their workload and lives without having much of a say in their schedules. Providing nurses with more opportunities to partake in their schedules will in return decrease fatigue, increase work/life balance, and ultimately lead to a more engaged workforce
Jennifer Zannotti, MBA, is a marketing manager, post acute, senior living and non-acute care practice groups at Kronos Incorporated.