An alarming 76% of healthcare staff reports exhaustion and burnout, according to a recent survey from Mental Health America.
The burnout is nothing new, of course, but the numbers spiked in the last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many healthcare staff, the providers at Coxhealth — a locally owned, not-for-profit health system based in Springfield, Missouri — have been working long days. Many worked five 12-hour shifts for months without a break.
“With a lot of employees having to take leave of absence with themselves being sick or their family being sick, we required a lot more,” said Rachel Westervelt, the administrative director of nursing at CoxHealth.
Coxhealth tapped its healthcare staffing partners to send in extra help — increasing from about 50 agency staff to an incredible 400.
These short-term contracts not only helped with increased patient need among shortages, but also provided a much-needed relief to permanent staff.
“We've been trying to tell them that they're not taking your jobs. We want you long term. So I need you to rest. And it's important to rest and take care of yourself,” Westervelt said.
“We're encouraging them to take time off. I want you to schedule a vacation, even if you just stay home, you need to take time off. And it's okay to do that and giving them permission.”
In an exclusive interview, Westervelt also spoke about how her facility has been more creative and proactive about real-time research in the clinic.