Deborah W. Morton
As the backbone of health care, nurses have traditionally faced challenges, but the pandemic has exacerbated a problem that many people outside the healthcare industry aren’t even aware of: nurse burnout.
Mounting patient volume combined with a dwindling supply of nurses has forced nurses to work more shifts and longer hours, further placing them at risk for experiencing burnout. According to a recent survey by Inspire Nurse Leaders, 53% cite challenges with inadequate staffing; 35% say it’s difficult to meet work and family demands; and 28% wish for more support programs for emotional needs and well-being.
Kay Edinger, B.S.N., R.N., would know.
“Certainly I’ve faced burnout during my career, but definitely at the height of the COVID crisis,” she said. “The responsibility of trying to keep everyone safe can be crushing.”
Edinger is a 23-year employee of Saint Vincent Hospital, part of the Allegheny Health Network, where she serves as nurse manager of Labor and Delivery and the Mother-Baby Unit.
She is also in her second year of the online master’s program in Integrative Nursing Leadership at Mercyhurst University, a distinctive Master of Science in Nursing degree that prepares nurse leaders to apply health and well-being strategies with patient populations as well as the healthcare team members they lead.
Nurses often put their needs last, but as Edinger knows all too well: “If you don’t take care of the caregivers, they can’t take care of the patients.”
“Nurse burnout was a vital consideration when we chose to expand our nursing programs and, particularly, in the design of our new master’s in Integrative Nursing Leadership,” said Mercyhurst Vice President for Enrollment Joseph Howard. “As part of our consolidation with Mercyhurst North East, the university is streamlining health care education on our Erie campus with nearly a dozen degree programs, Integrative Nursing Leadership being the latest.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care industry is expected to add 4 million new jobs in the U.S. through 2026. Regionally, health care providers partnering with Mercyhurst have expressed an urgent need for nurses and allied health professionals.
“With heightened pressures on our nurses, particularly during the pandemic, it has become essential that we train our nurse leaders to care for themselves and those they lead, which goes to the heart of our MSN program,” said Judith Stanley, program director.
Mercyhurst is offering its MSN program to nurses in the UPMC or Allegheny Health Network hospital systems at a tuition rate of $300 per credit. That sets total cost for the 32-credit MSN, including registration costs, at $10,110.
Learn more at www.mercyhurst.edu/upmc or mercyhurst.edu/ahn.
Kay Edinger, B.S.N., R.N. at AHN Saint Vincent Hospital, is enrolled in an online master’s program in Integrative Nursing Leadership at Mercyhurst University. Deborah W. Morton is the executive communications officer at Mercyhurst University.