Surgeon General Issues Landmark Report with New Solutions to Combat Crippling Worker Burnout Issue
The U.S. surgeon general is highlighting the urgent need to address healthcare worker burnout. In a new advisory, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, offers a number of recommendations to fight burnout — which was an issue before COVID-19 but exacerbated by the pandemic. With more than 500,000 registered nurses planning to retire by year-end and a shortage of more than 3 million low-wage health workers projected over the next 5 years, the situation will likely get worse. A shortage of 139,000 physicians is also expected by 2033, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. The surgeon general's recommendations include providing a living wage, paid sick and family leave, and an assessment of workloads and hours for all healthcare workers; reducing the documentation and other administrative burdens for healthcare workers; developing mental health support services that are geared for healthcare workers; and protecting healthcare workers from violent and unsafe conditions. "COVID-19 has been a uniquely traumatic experience for the healthcare workforce and for their families, pushing them past their breaking point," Murthy said in a statement. "Now, we owe them a debt of gratitude and action. And if we fail to act, we will place our nation's health at risk."
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