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Burnout. It’s a word we’ve become all too familiar with. And 2020 gave “burnout” new meaning.

Burnout in the workplace can be found in all industries. And right now, extra focus is being put on essential workers. Especially on those working in healthcare.

The rate of burnout in nurses has been significant for a few years. The nursing field endures high emotional and physical stress, so it’s not surprising when some nurses decide to leave their careers within a few years of obtaining their license.

Healthcare leaders have grappled with what can be done about employee burnout and how can they stop the growing shortage of healthcare workers? Bonuses and benefits are offered up to attract healthcare staff, but does that really solve the problem of burnout and staff shortages?

It is easy to see why burnout among healthcare workers is so prevalent. If nurses are constantly showing up for their shifts and their unit or department is running short staffed, it can be an aggravating burden to pick up the extra load. Or, maybe their department is constantly overstaffed so they never really know if their shift will be canceled due to not being needed or floated off to another unit — both of which dissatisfy staff.

One solution that could help curtail staff burnout is predictive analytics. Predictive analytics is a valuable method of accurately forecasting staffing needs weeks in advance of a shift. Crunching historical census data and other metrics highlights trends and patterns that recur over time can forecast patient in and out flows in a hospital, allowing managers to align the appropriate amount and type of staff needed to deliver care.

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Automating the scheduling process and utilizing predictive analytics helps ensure nurse schedules are balanced and staff commitments are being met. This software also optimizes self-scheduling, open shift management, and requesting time off processes, which further boost staff satisfaction.

Another major factor in staff dissatisfaction is working a shift that did not have the right amount or mix of resources. When resources are short for any shift, it results in increased use of core staff in extra and overtime, and/or charge nurses taking patients. In short, core staff is stretched too thin to cover these vacant shifts, causing frustration and burning them out.

The resolution to staffing issues is more accessible than you might expect. Data that hospital leadership has available at their fingertips is able to provide valuable insights that highlights areas of opportunity and trackable metrics. Analyzing payroll data and department metrics can reveal a lot about what is happening on a particular unit.

Being innovative and seeking all avenues toward workforce optimization clears the path to continued growth, keeps staff satisfied in their work, and ensures the right staff are in the right place at the right time to deliver excellent patient care.