Finding and keeping great talent is challenging in any industry. But the stakes are especially high in hospitals where lives depend on having a high performing team.
In recent years, staff acquisition and retention have become a big issue for nursing leaders. Stress and fatigue are taking a serious toll, and burnout among nurses has become a real and present danger. Nurses are leaving the profession faster than at any other time in history. So much so, the American Journal of Medical Quality predicts a nationwide nursing shortage by 2030 as nurses leave the profession to preserve their sanity.
The root causes for burnout are varied, ranging from intense emotional empathy to the demands of the job. And studies show that nurses that care the most are the most vulnerable.
How can hospital leaders stem the tide of burnout and retain the best and brightest? Using real time data to make hospital staffing decisions can have a tremendous impact on preventing caregiver burnout.
Savvy chief nursing officers look at staffing holistically, but far too often, staffing decisions are made on a hunch rather than hard evidence. If an RN leaves, is it really a foregone conclusion that they should be replaced by another RN? Or could there be a better fit that will balance the workload while allowing every caregiver to operate at the top of their license? And what is causing staff to leave in the first place? Are undetected performance issues bringing high performers down?
Clear and actionable data provides the valuable insight nursing leaders need make objective staffing decisions to balance clinical workloads and create a culture of engagement.
The ability to make data-driven staffing decisions is one of the prime benefits of new technology. It wasn’t that long ago that nursing leaders assessing staffing workloads used a complex series of steps to gather material.
A World Health Organization study published in 1999 detailed five ways of accumulating data to determine workloads in health care facilities:
1. Direct observation of staff activities
2. Self-monitoring using a log or a diary
4. Interviewing relevant staff
5. Expert opinion
Technology has made these methods seem extremely outdated in a relatively short period of time.
Technology-driven data provides a more accurate picture of what is needed. Virtually every industry now has a metric to determine appropriate staffing levels. A company that sells widgets may use a factor of sales. A call center may look at call loads and abandoned calls.
Hospitals can track patient demands. What do patients need and when? Can patient demands be met by an aide, or does it require a higher level of care?
Of course, data on its own cannot guarantee the right decisions. Harvard Business Review says:
“Many organizations lack a coherent, accessible structure for the data they’ve collected. They’re like libraries with no card catalog and no covers on their books. The rise of social media, new selling channels, and devices such as tablets and smartphones has made it even harder to manage analytic content. Fewer than 44% of employees say they know where to find the information they need for their day-to-day work.”
Data for data’s sake isn’t the answer. Organizations need a strategic roadmap for how they will use data to make decisions. They also need easy access to data in a reporting platform that provides clear and actionable insight.
Amplion Alert provides data and a powerful reporting platform to improve quality outcomes and to help hospitals make strategic staffing decisions to achieve balanced clinical workloads. It captures every instance when a patient is visited. It closes care loops, documenting not only when care was requested, but also when care was delivered. This leads to accountable care, allowing patients and families to clearly see what care was provided and when. But over the course of days, weeks, even months, it also provides unprecedented insight into what occurs on the floor day in and day out.
What are the patient demands at any given time? How is the team performing? What care mix is needed to deliver an optimum patient experience and provide quality outcomes? Being able to see patient demand in real time and rebalance the workload as needed makes a huge difference in patient and caregiver satisfaction. Identifying low performers and quickly addressing issues as they arise improves employee morale, promotes caregiver engagement and prevents burnout. Highly satisfied caregivers lead to highly satisfied patients. And a highly satisfied and engaged workforce leads to less staff turnover.
Want to learn how Amplion can help you assess and balance your staff workloads while improving patient and caregiver experience? We would love to show you our reporting capabilities and discuss how our platform could be a game-changer for your organization.