3 ways doctors can help keep nurses in the profession

It’s not just doctors who are feeling the effects of burnout. Nurses are, too.

A survey (PDF) of some 600 nurses by RNnetwork earlier this year found half of them are thinking about leaving the profession. Much like doctors, their reasons for wanting to get out are they feel overworked, they don’t enjoy the job anymore and they are spending too much time on paperwork.

Sound familiar to doctors? Ironically, it turns out many physicians aren’t making it easier for nurses. Some 38% of nurses in the survey said they have been bullied or verbally abused by physicians.

There are ways physicians can help the situation, writes Bill Heller, who has almost 20 years of experience in both physician and nursing staff, in a MedPage Today blog post. Here are some of his suggestions, which can also work with other team members:

1. Show nurses the same compassion you show patients. The best doctors understand the importance of a good bedside manner with patients, Heller said, and can use those skills to interact with members of their healthcare team. 

2. Consult nurses before making major changes in policies or procedures that impact them. Make sure nurses feel they have a voice in your practice.

3. Thank nurses for the job they do. Simple handwritten notes, small gifts and gift cards are all good ways to convey the message.