Nearly half, 46%, of all healthcare workers nationwide reported experiencing burnout following the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC).

The CDC called the reported burnout numbers a crisis. Dr. Casey Chosewood with the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) said, “Health workers are human, and they’re telling us as we listen to their stories that they really can’t do anymore and that we must address the system.”

CDC officials recommend hospitals nationwide prioritize the physical, mental and emotional health of their employees.

At Conway Medical Center, Assistant Vice President of Inpatient Services Heather Bader has been a nurse for more than 20 years, and said COVID-19 left a big impact on all of their employees.

“It was very tragic; but I think, I like to say in a positive and optimistic kind of point of view, because there was kind of some really brilliant phenomena that occurred,” she said. “I’ve never seen a body of nursing that worked together in such a compassionate and get it done kind of perspective.”

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She said the pandemic changed how things operate within hospital walls, but not changing the core of nursing — caring for people.

Just like patients, Bader said they care for their workers individually, because burnout can look different for everyone.

Some of the suggestions from the CDC to lower healthcare burnout include:

  • Taking time off
  • Fair wages
  • Allowing staff to have more say in day to day decision making
  • Communicating within your team

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However, Bader said CMC is already implementing all of these things to keep their staff’s physical, mental and emotional health at the forefront.

“I’m so proud of my team. I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to establish moving forward knowing better, not necessarily knowing better, but just being able to do better to be okay,” said Bader. “We’ve conquered this, we’re a strong unit. How do we keep proving the things we need for our staff and to keep CMC healthy?”

Conway Medical Center also launched a new nursing residency program, that works with new nursing graduates and seasoned nurses to help grow teamwork and allows workers to feel more prepared for what’s expected of them in their day to day treatments.

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