- About three-quarters of the healthcare executives recently surveyed by consulting firm WittKieffer reported feeling burned out within the past six months, with 93% surveyed saying burnout is negatively impacting their organizations, according to a report out Monday.
- Those reporting burnout said they feel less hopeful about the future of healthcare leadership compared to those who reported not feeling burned out, according to the survey, which included responses from 233 healthcare executives.
- Burned out executives also said they feel significantly less productive and unable to overcome challenges at work, and are less determined to make an impact in their work and careers.
Burnout has become prevalent in the healthcare workforce this year as nurses, physicians and those directly caring for patients have reported widespread fatigue throughout the pandemic.
Now healthcare executives are grappling with feelings of chronic stress and exhaustion from their jobs, nearly three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They have the triple challenge of wanting and needing outstanding patient outcomes, provider morale growth and financial stability – all at once,” the survey authors wrote.
The WittKieffer survey authors noted surprise that only 74% of executives reported feeling burned out, “given the challenges these executives are facing,” they wrote.
An earlier survey by the firm conducted in 2018 found 60% of healthcare executive respondents reported feeling burned out.
The report offers recommendations for systems looking to reduce or prevent executive burnout and turnover and suggests making burnout a topic of conversation among board members and senior leadership.
Building up the executive team and considering a broader range of executive roles can also be helpful tools.
And, while executives should be encouraged to seek help if they need it, they may need to change careers in some cases, the report said.
Notable executive departures at major health systems this year include Marc Harrison, who stepped down from his role as CEO at Utah-based Intermountain, and Timothy Babineau, who stepped down as Lifespan’s CEO in May.