5 tools designed to prevent nurse burnout

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I recently attended an Advisory Board session on nurse manager overload and the contributing factors that lead to nurse burnout. We all know that nurse burnout is an issue that affects both staff and patients, so it was an enlightening topic to learn more about.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, burnout is emotional exhaustion that results in depersonalization and decreased personal accomplishment at work. A recent Becker’s article states that 70 percent of nurses report burnout in their current positions; needless to say that’s a high percentage that seems to keep growing. Factors include stress, time crunches, and workflow challenges, to name a few.

Ultimately, burnout can put a patient's safety at risk.

With all the mandates required by the government, nurses can end up spending a painstaking amount of time on reporting all the required measures and metrics. And in order to get the metrics, you have to document. In addition to reporting to the government, nurses also have to capture this information to get the quality outcomes that you're looking for.

We don't document metrics purely for documenting metrics' sake. And if we don't document, does it mean that it didn't happen? Documentation should provide more than just a means of recording of your observations. There has to be value added or the insurmountable balance can contribute to nurse burnout.

Here are some technology tools that can help prevent nurses from succumbing to burnout:  

Surveillance

A surveillance tool works in the background of your EHR, and gives you real-time, meaningful information to evaluate and interpret whether your patient may meet the criteria for sepsis, chronic heart failure, pneumonia, or any other condition, as well as fulfill core measures.

Surveillance takes all the live, actionable, real-time data that has been captured 24/7 and pushes it back to you as an early warning system, enabling you to quickly identify patients that may be trending toward a bad outcome. This tool is a real asset for nurses, helping them to take advantage of the data collected as part of their normal workflow, so they can intervene earlier in the patient’s journey.

Status Boards

Real-time tracking boards can help nurses to prioritize care and manage patient populations. Software with evidence-based rules will search the clinical and demographic data in your EHR, 24/7. Any patients who meet profile criteria will automatically populate these boards, indicating when quality measures are due, or if the patient is showing signs of a potential hospital-acquired infection, saving critical time in care delivery.

These boards give nurses the power to manage their patients. They see everything that they need to do for the patient, can sort tasks by time, and can also highlight the normals and abnormals. The board lets you know which of your patients have met a certain criteria and more importantly, why they met that criteria.

Watchlists

A watchlist can give you real-time accurate information to help identify your most vulnerable patients, by itemizing every profile your patients meet and their qualifying criteria. Look for a solution that will compile your information (fall risk, restraints, CAUTI, sepsis, etc.) and deliver it to you electronically, in real-time rather than on a printed report. This will help you to focus more on patient safety, and ensuring higher-quality care.  

Data Analytics

Find a solution that analyzes your clinical, financial, and operational data to help you increase efficiency, measure progress, and improve performance. Specialized dashboards allow nurse managers, CNOs, CMOs, and other executives to do things such as track readmissions, hospital-acquired conditions, level of service analysis, etc. You’ll be able to see if one unit is performing better than another unit and why, instead of having to make a blanket statement about the whole organization.

A solution with customizable dashboards enables your executives to analyze your organization's data in meaningful ways, while identifying performance drivers and areas for improvement. Being able to analyze your data at this granular a level will help you to improve patient outcomes, review benchmarks, and more.

Toolkits

Secure a solution that includes toolkits with evidence-based content and workflows built directly into your EHR. These toolkits should include optimal workflows, standard content, educational webinars, and other supplemental materials to help your organization improve outcomes, save time, and conserve resources.

No one has time to hunt for data, and no one wants their workday to be hampered by unnecessary processes. Implementing these tools and resources will give you more time to do what you do best: care for your patients.  

Topics: Nursing, How to, Nurse

Written by Cathy Turner, BSN, MBA, RN-BC, Associate Vice President, MEDITECH

Cathy Turner, BSN, MBA, RN-BC is a member of the Healthcare Information Management System Society (HIMSS) and the American Nursing Informatics Association (ANIA), as well as director of MEDITECH’s Nursing Informatics Program.
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