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Feb 14

What are the Main Causes of Healthcare Worker Burnout?

Burnout among healthcare workers has been a topic of much conversation for those in the industry for several years now, with the prevalence of burnout only increasing since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. With the potential safety concerns for both patients and staff that burnout creates, organizations everywhere are looking for solutions on how to ease its occurrence. Before you can mitigate something, though, you must understand what causes it. Let’s explore how common burnout is among healthcare workers and five of its most common causes.

How common is burnout among healthcare workers?

While burnout has long been an issue among healthcare workers, specifically providers, in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic the effects of burnout are more intense and widespread. According to a survey by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, 55% of the more than 1,300 front-line healthcare workers surveyed reported burnout.

Before the pandemic, the average rates of healthcare worker burnout ranged from 30 to 50%. Post-COVID this rate has increased to a range of 40 to 70% with nurses seeming to be hit especially hard. Since the pandemic, there have been reports of between 30 and 60% of new nursing graduates leaving the profession.

Five Causes of Healthcare Worker Burnout

While the causes of burnout are many and varied, and certainly a global pandemic is a valid precursor, the following five causes are characteristics of a healthcare career that can take their toll on individuals over time.

  1. General workplace stress: Issues like administrative burdens, limited input on scheduling, and excessive workloads with a lack of organizational support can create an unhealthy situation for staff, leading to burnout.
  2. Inefficient workflows: A common complaint among healthcare workers is the added burden that comes with using an EHR that isn’t user-friendly, and this type of situation can greatly increase the rate of burnout. This is why it’s so important to choose a streamlined EHR that fits with your existing workflow and eases the administrative burden on your providers and other clinical staff.
  3. Long hours with too little sleep: The idea of a 40-hour workweek would be a dream to many healthcare workers, however this is rarely the reality. This is unfortunate, because as the number of hours worked in a week increase, so does the rate of burnout. It’s estimated that at least 50% of individuals who work more than 60 hours per week experience burnout, a statistic that’s understandable when you consider that working this many hours negatively impacts a person’s ability to get enough sleep, affecting their physical and mental health.
  4. Loss of autonomy: Almost a quarter of burnout cases are due to the loss of autonomy many doctors are facing. Many patient-care decisions have been shifted from care providers to financial stakeholders, such as health insurance companies and administrators. This leaves providers feeling helpless to be able to simply do their job properly, adding to the stress they experience.
  5. The high stress nature of the industry: Healthcare is literally life and death. Providing patient care is a high-pressure, high-stakes job that can understandably take its toll over time.

Whatever the cause of burnout, the effects of an unhealthy and stressed staff can be devastating. The best course of action for any organization is to mitigate as many of these causes as possible to create a better work environment for their care team. One important step is to ensure the use of an efficient EHR software, such as the simple, customizable, and connected MicroMD EMR.

For more information on this and other technology solutions to ease the burden on the healthcare workers in your organization, visit or call 1-800-624-8832.

About the author,
Crystal Stanton

Crystal is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Henry Schein MicroMD. Content creation, social media management, and SEO optimization are just a few of her areas of concentration as she seeks to educate clients and prospects alike about the simple, customizable, and connected solutions we offer at MicroMD.

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