CDC reports that more health workers are facing burnout and harassment
In the CDC's Vital Signs report, the agency suggests more than double the number of health workers reported harassment at work in 2022 than in 2018.
More health workers say they're feeling burned out and face harassment at work, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the CDC's Vital Signs report, the agency suggests more than double the number of health workers reported harassment at work in 2022 than in 2018, including threats, bullying and verbal abuse from patients and co-workers.
Health workers have faced a mental health crisis since before the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by challenges like long hours, overnight and holiday shifts, and caring for people who are sick and suffering. But CDC researchers found that work conditions continue to deteriorate for many.
"The COVID-19 pandemic only intensified long-standing challenges and contributed to new and worsening concerns including compassion fatigue, depression, anxiety, substance use disorders and suicidal thoughts," CDC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Debra Houry told reporters Tuesday during a press briefing. "Burnout among these workers has reached crisis levels."
The 1199 SEIU, Florida's largest union of health care workers, called attention to the crisis during a national rally this month in Brickell. They demanded higher pay and hiring of more staff.
"This is a public health crisis because it doesn't just affect workers, but all the patients in our care," said Deb Montgomery, a registered nurse in Palm Beach County and an 1199SEIU member. "We appreciate the CDC supporting our position, but we've been pointing this out loudly since the start of the pandemic."
The CDC recommends that hospitals and nursing homes urgently make improvements, like cut long hours, reduce stigma around depression on the job and listen to staff suggestions.
Dr. L. Casey Chosewood, a director at the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Office, said: “When working conditions are positive, and where health workers are supported and have the potential to thrive, poor mental health outcomes were less likely."
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call or text 988, or start a digital chat with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Copyright 2023 WLRN 91.3 FM. To see more, visit WLRN 91.3 FM.