AACN Seeks Solutions to Nurse Burnout at Summit

Jul 30, 2015

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AACN summit attendees affirm necessity of solutions to nurse burnout

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses continues to explore ways to build nurse resilience, develop healthy work environments

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — July 29, 2015 — Critical care nurses confirm burnout remains a challenge for hospitals and healthcare institutions across the country, with repercussions beyond nursing for all members of the healthcare team and their patients.  

More than 500 nurses participated in a recent summit to discuss the importance of deterring burnout and creating solutions to address the issue in clinical practice.  

The interactive event was part of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses’ (AACN) National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI), held in San Diego in May.

Research shows that nurses in critical care are at increased risk for burnout due to factors such as work complexity, conflict with colleagues, time and outcome demands, expectations from patients and families as well as ethical challenges and a host of other issues. Understanding the impact of these factors on clinicians’ personal and professional lives creates the opportunity for solutions and resilience.

“The NTI Summit has become an important forum to explore our challenges on various topics of common interest,” said AACN Chief Clinical Officer Connie Barden, RN, MSN, CCRN-E, CCNS. “The insights gained from this year’s dialogue provide valuable information as we continue to seek ways to build nurse resilience and develop healthy work environments.”

Curtis N. Sessler, MD, FCCP, president of the American College of Chest Physicians, opened the NTI Summit with a discussion on the prevalence of burnout in the critical care setting. He characterized the challenging work environment nurses face as the “perfect storm,” attributing personal characteristics, organizational factors, quality of working relationships and end-of-life factors as reasons for burnout.  

Using an audience response system, attendees answered questions about their personal experiences and opinions related to nurse burnout:

  • Sixty percent of summit participants described their burnout as moderate or severe.
  • More than 75 percent said they have experienced moderate or severe burnout at some point during their career.
  • “A conflict with nursing colleague” is the main cause for burnout among 36 percent of participants; 33 percent said they could not keep up with assigned tasks and end-of-life situations and conflict with physician colleagues was associated with a combined total of 11 percent of the responses. 

Debriefings, mentorship programs and creating a behavioral emergency response team may be effective ways to support staff during and after stressful situations, said panelist Meredith Huffines, RN, BSN, MS. 

Panelist Mary Bylone, RN, MSM, CNML, suggested being persistent and supplying data when presenting concerns to healthcare leaders.

Over the past decade, AACN has been at the forefront of addressing issues associated with healthy work environments, including burnout and compassion fatigue, through its research and advocacy, scientific and clinical journals, and professional development programs. 

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: Founded in 1969 and based in Aliso Viejo, California, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. AACN joins together the interests of more than 500,000 acute and critical care nurses and includes more than 225 chapters worldwide. The organization's vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution.

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
101 Columbia
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4109

Phone: (949) 362-2000
Fax: (949) 362-2020