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WKYT Investigates: Nursing burnout

Recent COVID-19 surges are exposing shortages in our hospitals.
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 2:26 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Recent COVID-19 surges are exposing shortages in our hospitals. ICU nurses are often working longer shifts and aren’t always addressing the emotional toll of the the virus.

“Nurses are always there, they’re always at the bedside, they’re always with a patient, and so that does take a toll,” notes Kent Brouwer.

Brouwer is a registered nurse and a professor at the University of Kentucky’s College of Nursing. He gives his nursing students a toolbox of resources to help with burnout.

“Showing people that there are a multitude of ways that you can de-stress, that you can relax, that you can create what we like to say resilience and that’s really the ability to bounce back in the face of adversity, stress, trauma, what we’re seeing now,” he says.

Brouwer’s employer, UK Healthcare, offers pastoral care for its nurses and a program providing peer support, called SOAR.

“I think a lot of people may not understand what we go through but other nurses do, other healthcare providers do,” he notes.

“Now you have COVID, you have the increased work load from COVID, you have the decreased staffing ratios because nurses don’t want to work anymore which is only in turn making nurses burn out quicker and want to leave,” says Morgan Curry. She is a former nurse and is supporting her friends still working in the field. Curry and her business partner Shane Slone are creating a program for nurses and their supervisors.

“It is a software that can be sold to hospitals that can be used not only on the nurses that need it, but also by the nursing managers, nursing administrators, and the executives,” says Curry.

The software is a work in progress. Curry and Slone are still seeking funding to develop it. They currently help nurses complete continuing education credits through their company, Nursing CE Central.

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