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Nurse burnout causing health-care problems

PHOENIX — America’s nurses are stressed out, and that’s causing a problem.

A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing shows that there’s a link between overworked nurses and patients getting infections while in the hospital.

“[Arizona nurses] are definitely getting burned out,” said Robin Schaeffer, executive director of the Arizona Nurses Association.

Schaeffer said much of the problem is because of staffing.

“Often, the staffing is inadequate to fulfill all of the work that they have to do that day,” she said. “The nurses are likely to be stressed. With increased stress comes illness, sickness and burnout.

“Then you have a situation like this, where the research shows that it’s actually linked to hospital-acquired infection.”

Schaeffer said that Arizona hospitals are aware of the staffing problem. They also have to keep track of who is on duty in a department on any given shift, including newly graduated workers and experienced nurses.

Schaeffer said some area hospitals are fighting burnout by offering new nurses classes to prevent it.

“Some of the hospitals also support all of their established nurses with stress-relief programs that they have,” she said. “If you have a stressed nurse, I think everyone would agree that they are more likely to make an error or use some sloppy techniques.”

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