Burnout Is Trending Up: A View from Frontline Managers in Hospitals

Laudio is a platform that focuses on the frontline manager in hospitals and health systems throughout the US and UK (improves employee engagement, increases retention, and reduces burnout). As head of our analytics and customer success operations, I have a great window into how managers in hospitals are communicating with their team members during the Covid-19 crisis.  

We’ve also had a chance to compare against their baseline for communication from a few weeks and months ago. There are a couple of ways we can do this.  One is based on the discussions I’ve had directly with our users. The second is based on how they have actually been using the Laudio platform.  

In this article, I’ll focus on the second method – what the data is telling us.

Burnout is Trending Up

One component of Laudio is that we connect into data sources in the hospital and prioritize a few observations for a busy manager that they may have otherwise missed.  We then make it easy for the manager to act on those observations.  While we may give managers ten or twenty observations in any given week, they can choose which ones they act on.  

Over the past 6-8 weeks, as the Covid-19 crisis has turned hospital operations upside down, the mix of the types of observations that managers have been acting on has changed. Actions on observations related to burnout have increased by 2x-3x during this time. 

Managers are getting regular notices to check in on team members who have been going above and beyond, who have been unable to take lunch breaks, and who have seen shifts extend long into the night. Managers are reaching out to team members in these situations and offering appreciation, as well, a promise, that when some normalcy returns, that they will work with them to make sure there are no lasting effects.

We are also seeing an appreciation for part-time and contract nurses who are working more during this time than is typical. In many hospitals, there is a great need for ICU nurses and this section of the workforce is doing more than ever.  Some of these are retired nurses who typically might work a couple of shifts a month. Now, they are coming in weekly, and managers are thankful.

Trying to Get Back to the New Normal

In the last week or two, we’ve noticed that some managers have begun to re-engage in coaching and counseling discussions.  We’ve observed messages along the lines of “I know times are crazy but you still need to complete your competencies by the end of the month.” Based on the data, there are early signs that managers’ are starting to figure out how to keep their teams as accountable as they need, while still working their way through the chaos of Covid-19.

Conclusion

We formed Laudio purely to support frontline managers in health systems.  If we’ve been able to make their lives a bit easier over the past few weeks, then I’m grateful.  If the fog is starting to clear and managers are looking to regain a sense of normalcy, then I also look forward to being here to support them with that as well.