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Survey: Burnout and Stress May Cause Healthcare Workers to Look for New Jobs

April 30, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Heavy patient loads, smaller staffs and higher stress levels may be causing healthcare workers to check themselves out of their facilities, according to a new survey by recruiting firm CareerBuilder.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive between February 11 and March 6, included more than 500 U.S. healthcare workers and more than 240 U.S. healthcare employers.

 More than a third (34 percent) of healthcare workers plan to look for a new job in 2013, up from 24 percent last year. Nearly half (45 percent) plan to look for a new job over the next two years. Eighty-two percent said that while they are not actively looking for a job today, they would be open to a new position if they came across the right opportunity.

 “Not only are healthcare organizations dealing with a shortage of high skill workers, they are facing higher demand fueled by an aging population and more Americans having access to medical benefits,” Jason Lovelace, president of CareerBuilder Healthcare, said in a statement. “Nearly half—46 percent—of healthcare organizations said they have seen a negative impact on their organizations due to extended job vacancies. Long hours and juggling multiple patient needs are taking their toll on morale and retention. The survey shows healthcare workers are seeking a more manageable work experience.”

A tougher hiring situation can have a direct impact on patient care with current staff becoming more stressed as they cover positions open for extended periods of time. Sixty percent of healthcare workers say they are burned out on their jobs. Twenty-one percent always or often feel burned out. Of workers who feel always or often burned out, 67 percent plan to look for a new job this year.

Given heightened stress levels and workloads, it’s not surprising that healthcare employers said their top staffing challenge for 2013 was lifting employee morale (34 percent). This was followed by retaining top talent (33 percent), finding skill workers (32 percent) and offering competitive compensation (30 percent).

More than one-third of healthcare employers (34 percent) said they currently have open positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates. Among healthcare organizations with more than 50 employees, that number is 43 percent.

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