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Nurse Burnout Remains an Issue in the United States

FRIDAY, Feb. 5, 2021 -- Burnout remains a significant problem among U.S. nurses who leave their job or are considering leaving their job, according to a study published online Feb. 4 in JAMA Network Open.

Megha K. Shah, M.D., from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues measured rates of nurse burnout and examined factors associated with leaving or considering leaving employment owing to burnout. The analysis included 3,957,661 participants in the National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses.

The researchers found that respondents were predominantly female (90.4 percent) and White (80.7 percent), with a mean age of 48.7 years. In 2017, 418,769 nurses reported leaving their jobs, with 31.5 percent reporting burnout as a reason. Burnout was reported less in the West (16.6 percent) and more in the Southeast (30.0 percent). Nurses who worked more than 40 hours/week had a higher likelihood of identifying burnout as a reason they left their job (odds ratio, 3.28) compared with nurses working less than 20 hours/week. Nurses leaving or considering leaving their jobs due to burnout reported a stressful work environment (68.6 and 59.5 percent, respectively) and inadequate staffing (63.0 and 60.9 percent, respectively).

"Health systems should focus on implementing known strategies to alleviate burnout, including adequate nurse staffing and limiting the number of hours worked per shift," the authors write.

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