A recent article in The Baltimore Sun newspaper highlights nurse complaints about working conditions at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The grievances from nurses imply that the often acclaimed hospital, which was rated first in Maryland and number three in the country in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018-2019 best hospitals rankings, may be putting profits before patient care. A nurse quoted in the newspaper article said that “current working conditions prevent us from providing the best care possible.” Complaints from other nurses echo this sentiment. The criticisms of the hospital come as attempts are being made by some nursing staff to unionize.
In a survey of the hospital’s nurses, some common complaints among respondents included the following:
- There are not enough skilled nurses to properly attend to patients, which leaves patients vulnerable and nurses burned out.
- The hospital lacks a system for ensuring that nurses receive adequate breaks.
- There are frequent supply shortages and/or poor-quality supplies provided to nurses. One example the article mentioned was that the gloves nurses wear tear easily, which is especially a problem when dealing with patients with infectious diseases.
Additionally, the majority of nurses who responded to the survey said they sometimes feel at risk of injury at work. And more than one-third of survey respondents (37 percent) said they have experienced workplace violence, and about half of that percentage feels their safety concerns are being ignored by the hospital.
All of these issues are compounding the feeling of burnout among the nurses and leading to a high turnover rate, according to the article.
Burnout Can Be Deadly
While burnout is something that can happen to workers in any profession, in the healthcare field it can be deadly because it can directly impact patient well-being. When nurses and other healthcare professionals are feeling burned out and fatigued, they are most likely not performing at their best. Burnout causes mental and physical exhaustion and even detachment from the job, which can lead to nurses and other healthcare staff cutting corners, underperforming and making mistakes, sometimes dangerous ones.
A paper published on the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality states, “In the past few years, the growing prevalence of burnout syndrome among health care personnel has gained attention as a potential threat to health care quality and patient safety.”
How much is burnout growing among medical providers?
Past estimates assert that anywhere from 10 to 70 percent of nurses suffer from burnout and 30 to 50 percent of doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants do. A more recent study done by the Mayo Clinic and the American Medical Association in 2015, found that over half of the nation’s doctors show at least one sign of burnout, which is an increase of 9 percent from a study by these organizations three years earlier.
We Are Here for You
Most nurses and other medical professionals strive to provide quality care to patients, but sometimes the working environment doesn’t allow for the best care. If you have recently been in a hospital or were a patient in another medical setting and were injured because of the actions of a healthcare professional, Steven Heisler is here for you. Call us today at 410-625-4878 for a free initial consultation, or use our convenient and confidential form.