Reducing Nurse Burnout through Online Social Support
Already strained from high levels of burnout and secondary trauma in their normal caregiving activities, nurses are now facing immense Covid-19 related challenges that are likely to increase post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and burnout over the next few years. Existing evidence suggests that employee burnout is associated with negative health outcomes, high turnover, and poor organizational performance. Among health care workers, high rates of stress and burnout are linked to increased medical mistakes and substandard patient care. However, there is limited causal evidence about the relationship between burnout and health care delivery, or about how to effectively reduce burnout among health care workers. Pilot projects conducted by this research team have generated promising evidence that affirming social belonging and providing online social support can reduce burnout and increase retention. In partnership with a large health system, CommonSpirit Health, we aim to adapt this intervention for use in a health care delivery setting. In a large-scale randomized experiment, we will test the impact of a low-cost online program of communications on social belonging and support among nurses and, in turn, on burnout, retention, patient outcomes.