Surgeon General Vivek Murthy Issues Advisory to Tackle Healthcare Worker Burnout
India-West News Desk
WASHINGTON, DC – Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has released a general advisory surrounding healthcare worker burnout, an issue that was present before the pandemic but has worsened with the onset of the pandemic.
Murthy has called for collaboration among regulators, health systems, communities as well as other key stakeholders and to take a “whole-of-society” approach to the problem.
In a statement, Murthy said, “COVID-19 has been a uniquely traumatic experience for the healthcare workforce and for their families, pushing them past their breaking point.” He added, “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.”
Healthcare worker burnout is real with the Association of American Medical Colleges expecting a shortage of 139,000 physicians by 2033. The government expects more than half a million registered nurses to retire by year-end and a shortage of more than 3 million low-wage health workers is projected over the next five years.
Murthy is making recommendations to mitigate this which includes providing a living wage, paid sick and family leave and an evaluation of workloads and hours for all healthcare workers. This includes ensuring there is enough adequate staffing for any emergencies, a major factor in burnout during the pandemic.
Reducing documentation and other administrative burdens also features in the suggestions. The Surgeon General has also recommended developing mental health support services that are tailored for healthcare workers.
Protecting healthcare workers from violent and unsafe conditions figures in the advisory.