Burnout in cardiology: Most pediatric heart nurses feel exhausted, with 30% eyeing a career change

Nearly 60% of all pediatric nurses working in cardiac wards and ICUs report feeling emotionally exhausted, according to new findings presented during ESC Congress 2020. In addition, 30% of those nurses want to move hospitals or change their careers altogether.

“Nurses’ wellbeing is central to ensuring the best outcomes for patients,” said lead author Annamaria Bagnasco, PhD, of the University of Genoa in Italy. “When wards have poor leadership and fragmented teams with no development prospects for nurses this should raise an alarm that there is a risk of burnout.”

Bagnasco et al. surveyed more than 2,000 nurses in children’s hospitals throughout Italy from September 2017 to January 2018. Eighty-five of those nurses work in cardiology wars or ICUs, and 58% of that group said they are emotionally exhausted. Various working conditions, including the stress of being responsible for so many patients, were seen as a primary reason for the feelings of burnout. Thirty percent of the nurses said they want a career change, which could mean moving to a new hospital or even quitting medicine altogether.

“Our study shows that nurses value good leadership, being involved in decision-making, having chances to develop their career, and team working,” Bagnasco said. “The lack of these conditions is connected to burnout, which we know from prior research could compromise patient safety.”

ESC Congress 2020 is completely digital due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More information from the European Society of Cardiology is available here.