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Barbara Balik: Why Clinician Burnout Needs to Be Addressed


Barbara Balik, EdD, MS, RN, co-founder, Aefina Partners; senior faculty, Institute of Healthcare Improvement, explains the importance of addressing clinician burnout and the effects its if isn't addressed.


Why does clinician burnout need to be addressed, and what are the effects if it isn’t?

The data we have around the impact of burnout is profound. Approximately 50% or more of physicians and nurses are clearly burned out. That means they don’t have the emotional energy to contribute on a daily basis to the work that’s so vital. So, just when we need compassionate, effective, efficient clinicians and team members the most in this rapidly changing, crazy environment we have, we’re seeing people who just don’t have that personal energy to give as a result of that. We know that burnout contributes to poor patient outcomes, more likely associated with errors, more likely to have less of a connection with patients, just when they need it the most. Failure to address that human suffering we have in our care giving world, leads to bad outcomes, both for the individuals: our caregivers, and to patients and families. It’s an essential item that we need to address, and the National Academy of Medicine is really taking this on as a great priority.

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