After months of COVID strain, NHS burnout has become a widespread reality. Mental health problems have also quadrupled in NHS staff during the first wave of Covid-19, according to the largest survey carried out into the psychological effect of the pandemic on UK health workers.
The research, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry Open found that 21% of respondents reported high levels of depression compared with 5% before the pandemic. Severe levels of anxiety rose 8% to 36%, while severe stress increased from 11% to 46%.
The link between nurse staffing levels on patient outcomes and staff burnout was also highlighted in a speech made at the Nursing Times Workforce Summit and Awards.
According to large-scale observational studies, hospitals with more nurses have lower levels of staff burnout and improved outcomes, including patient satisfaction.
By comparison, interactions between staff and patients are nearly three times more likely to be characterised as negative when each nurse cares for eight or more patients. This includes interactions that were rushed, task-orientated and, in some cases, inconsiderate, disrespectful or rude.
These interactions were also found to be triggers for escalating patient’s behaviour.