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Burnout Indicator for ICU Nurses

At Laudio, we serve hospitals and health systems throughout the US and the UK.  As head of our analytics and customer teams, I see firsthand the stress that our clients are going through – as well as the interventions that they are taking. One of the core use cases of the Laudio platform is measuring indicators of burnout and helping frontline managers react to those indicators in real-time. Over the course of the past few months, I’ve been keeping an eye on many burnout indicators and tracking how hospitals have been proactively managing them.

Burnout Indicator in Hard-Hit COVID-19 Areas 3x Normal Level

In the US, the New York-Boston metropolitan areas have been the hardest hit by COVID-19. Looking at >500 ICU RNs and multiple facilities within this region, one burnout indicator jumped out very quickly — over-scheduling of ICU RNs.

In the chart below, you can see that the % of ICU RNs who work 6 or more days in a row is typically very small in any given month (1-2%).  Normally, these are exceptional cases and can be managed by the frontline manager to ensure that there are no particular nurses who are consistently being over-scheduled.  However, during the first 2 months of the COVID pandemic, we see that percentage increased 3x, to 5-7%.


Chart depicts work days and its impact on nurse burnout

Our analysis of dozens of hospitals around the country over the past few years has shown this indicator is an early warning signal for burnout and, over time, employee turnover.  We are tracking this indicator closely and are hopeful that the decreasing trend from April to May continues into June and July and eventually resets to the normal range of 1-2%.

Hospitals, in our experience, are managing the crisis and balancing the pressures as best they can.  But it’s a good reminder to all of us of the extraordinary pressures this pandemic has put on the highly skilled frontline clinical staff in our hospitals – especially those in ICUs and those who serve the hardest-hit metro areas.