file photo

file photo

Healthcare workers facing widespread burnout amid pandemic, say multiple unions

Healthcare workers unions are pushing for increased staffing to avoid mass resignations.

Healthcare workers in Washington state are currently having a morale problem amid the pressure, stress and danger they have had to endure through the onset and impact of the pandemic which has over-encumbered the healthcare system.

Polling conducted among members of UFCW 21, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and Washington State Nurses Association – who collectively represent more than 71,000 nurses and other healthcare workers in Washington – has revealed 84 percent of WA healthcare workers said they feel burned out.

Additionally, 49 percent reported they’re likely to leave the healthcare profession in the next few years. Among those who said they were likely to leave, 70 percent said one of the biggest reasons was short staffing.

Some union representatives are concerned that the state will lose valuable healthcare workers as they leave to work in other regions.

“I’ve been a nurse for 26 years, and I’ve never seen so many colleagues leaving,” said Julia Barcott, a critical care nurse at Astria Toppenish Hospital and WSNA union leader. “They are retiring early, they are leaving to become travelers, and they have gone to less stressful jobs in clinics or freestanding surgical centers to get out of the pressure cooker that has become bedside care.”

The WA Safe + Healthy campaign, supported by UFCW 21, SEIU Healthcare 1199NW and Washington State Nurses Association, is pushing for hospitals and clinics in Washington to implement safe staffing standards that they say will help protect healthcare workers from dangerously high patient loads.

The campaign is calling on lawmakers to pass safe staffing standards, enforce existing overtime and meal and rest break laws to ensure healthcare workers are getting their legally required break time and end the abuse of mandatory overtime, and to invest in workforce development to increase the number of healthcare workers entering the field.

“You can’t begin to address the long-term staffing shortage without first addressing the massive burnout and exhaustion healthcare workers are facing,” said Derek Roybal, a cardiovascular tech at Providence Sacred Heart in Spokane and a member of UFCW 21. “In no other industry could you expect to attract a new generation to enter the field by promising them that in a year they’ll be burned out, under-valued and overwhelmed.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@covingtonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.covingtonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

The former Econo Lodge in Kent is a King County Isolation and Quarantine Facility for COVID-19 patients. FILE PHOTO, Kent Reporter
Man dies at Kent COVID-19 isolation and quarantine facility

Found dead in room at former hotel during routine medical staff check

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA, who pushed for broadband funding in Washington schools. (Screenshot from murray.senate.gov)
American Rescue Plan Act funding approved for broadband investments in WA schools

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray pushed for the funding, which will benefit several King County school districts.

Courtesy photo
State offers free at-home COVID-19 tests

You can order the tests through the state’s new online portal.

Sen. Mona Das, D-47
Kent Democratic Sen. Mona Das proposes 1% cut in state sales tax

Starting in 2023; Republicans voice support for Senate Bill 5932

File photo
Non-profit sponsors study on how the pandemic impacted arts and culture in Puget Sound

The study helped identify challenges faced by residents and cultural organizations in Washington

Derek Kammerzell
Kammerzell negotiations with city of Kent expected to be ‘lengthy process’

Assistant police chief on paid administrative leave as union, city begin talks

t
Kent School District interim superintendent wants Kammerzell to resign

Incident could impact decision to renew school resource officers’ program with Kent Police

File photo
WA lawmakers propose making companies responsible for recycling improvements

SB 5697 would compel industries to report data, invest in infrastructure, meet standards.

Governor Jay Inslee. Sound Publishing file photo
Inslee: Officials’ lies about election results should be crime

Governor wants lawmakers to pass legislation making it a gross misdemeanor.

Most Read