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A burnt-out female healthcare worker dressed in scrubs and a headscarf sits cross-legged on the floor with her left hand holding her head in stress.
This guide provides six strategic steps for hospital systems to make organization-level changes that will impact and improve the mental health of their employees.
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CDC Releases Guide to Address Healthcare Worker Burnout

The hospital-tested, evidence-based resource provides six steps to address and support mental health

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Swathi Kodaikal, MSc
Photo portrait of swathi kodaikal

Swathi Kodaikal, MSc, holds a master’s degree in biotechnology and has worked in places where actual science and research happen. Blending her love for writing with science, Swathi enjoys demystifying complex research findings for readers from all walks of life. On the days she doesn’t write, she learns and performs Kathak, sings, makes plans to travel, and obsesses over cleanliness.

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Published:Mar 27, 2024
|2 min read
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As part of Impact Wellbeing™, the first federal campaign to address healthcare worker burnout in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently released an evidence-based and actionable guide for hospital leaders to improve healthcare worker well-being—Impact Wellbeing™ Guide: Taking Action to Improve Healthcare Worker Wellbeing. This guide provides six strategic steps for hospital systems to make organization-level changes that will impact and improve the mental health of their employees.

Per the CDC Vital Signs, nearly half (46 percent) of health workers reported feeling burned out in 2022, which is a steep increase from 32 percent in 2018. They felt fatigue, loss, and grief at levels higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic. This could be why around 44 percent of healthcare workers intended to look for a new job in 2022; many others chose to leave the workforce early.

How is the Guide helpful? 

The NIOSH and the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation developed the new, free, evidence-based Guide to help hospital system leaders make practical and effective workplace improvements quickly. Also, the experts acknowledge the challenge most hospitals and laboratories face in finding additional time, cost, and staff to implement this plan.

“We know hospital leaders have a lot of competing demands and it can be overwhelming to know where to start when working to improve professional well-being,” said Stefanie Simmons, MD, chief medical officer, Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation, a board-certified emergency medicine physician, and healthcare executive, in a recent press release. “The Guide provides hospital leaders across the country the tools for putting together a more cohesive well-being strategy, allowing them to take stock of where they are now, highlighting some of the missing pieces, and taking action to get to where they want to be.”

Six steps to better employee mental health

The Guide outlines six pilot-tested actions that hospital leaders can take:

  1. Conduct a review of your organization’s operations to determine how they support professional well-being.

  2. Build a dedicated team to support professional well-being at your organization.

  3. Eliminate barriers to seeking support, such as intrusive mental health questions on credentialing applications.

  4. Develop a suite of tools that foster transparency and clear, consistent, and open communication about your organization’s journey to improve professional well-being.

  5. Integrate professional well-being measures into an ongoing quality improvement project.

  6. Create a long-term plan to work toward your organization’s professional well-being commitment.

The CDC/NIOSH will host a webinar series beginning in late April 2024 for hospital leaders to learn how to use each section of the Guide. The goal is to start implementing the Guide immediately after the webinar series.