Nursing burnout How El Camino Health aims to support nurses during the second year of the pandemic | Your health

Nursing shortages were a national story long before the pandemic, but after two years of working with extremely high levels of stress and vigilance, nurses, like many others, are suffering from burnout.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, just under 200,000 openings are projected each year through 2030, with “many of these openings…expected to result from the need to replace workers who change occupations or leave the work market “. And California tops the RegisteredNursing.org trade organization’s list of states with the biggest difference between projected supply and demand for nurses by 2030.

Cheryl Reinking, chief nursing officer at El Camino Health, said listening to nurses was key to tackling the vicious cycle of shortages and burnout. El Camino has implemented a number of strategies that allow nurses to focus on patient care.

“I think what we’ve learned is that we have to listen,” Reinking said.

According to Reinking, hospital administrators have learned a lot by creating councils that allow nurses to share their experiences with each other and with hospital administrators. A group, for example, has been formed to help ease the burden of data collection and entry for nurses.

Anyone who has ever registered as a patient with a new doctor or specialist has likely had to fill out medical history forms, insurance information, and now COVID-19 symptom screeners. Nurses face a similar situation – they often have to fill out care plans and symptom information for each of the patients in multiple places.

Reinking said the nurses let him know “how many hours a day you can spend putting information into this computer system and not get a lot of satisfaction out of it because you’re away from your patients.” As part of its efforts to minimize this tedious work, El Camino saved its nurses 486,000 clicks over the past year.

The improvements are aimed at “helping the system work for us,” Reinking said, rather than making nurses work for the system. In addition to reducing clicks, El Camino is now using its IT systems to take a more proactive approach to care through the Spoilage Index.

The system accepts information such as vital signs and lab results and runs them through a machine learning algorithm. After evaluating factors such as the subtle drop in blood pressure, the algorithm can send a notification to a rapid response nurse, who can in turn assess the patient in person. After implementing the deterioration index code, the “blues” – when a patient needs to be resuscitated – decreased by 15%.

However, preventing burnout doesn’t always require high-tech solutions. often it’s about showing appreciation and being responsive.

The El Camino Nursing Department tries to avoid scheduling problems, such as double shifts. Reinking acknowledged that “it’s a tough job,” so while it makes planning more difficult, allowing nurses to work part-time has been essential for El Camino. The hospital also holds monthly Zoom meetings to reward nurses for their efforts.

Briana Squiers, a registered nurse, who sits on a board made up of nurses from different units, said she felt empowered by management.

“The council gives nurses a voice and helps us implement meaningful change as we work to advance care, develop workflows and best practices to help prevent burnout,” a- she declared.

Squiers also pointed to the Save Our Staff (SOS) program, which allows nurses to call an SOS and get a temporary discharge from their duties.

“For example, if we’re struggling to deal with the loss of a patient, we can call SOS, and someone will be there to relieve us, so we can go into the meditation room and process what just happened. pass,” she added. “This is still available to us, but particularly useful during the pandemic.”

Reinking has found that boosting morale can give him insight into more systemic ways to improve conditions for nurses.

“It sounds simple, but it means so much to executives like me to tour,” she said.

Transporting his “We-care Wagon” through the hospital floors, Reinking opens up conversations with nurses by offering a trail mix or a Mounds candy bar – something healthy or sweet – allowing him to meet the needs of patients. nurses, whether it’s a light bulb that needs fixing or just making them feel appreciated.