Dietitian Burnout: Is Your Facility at Risk for a Five-Alarm Fire?

By Sara Glanz, MS, RD, LD, CNSC

Dietitians and other healthcare clinicians suffer from burnout at an alarming rate. Numerous experts estimate that approximately one in three healthcare workers experience burnout.1-4 Forget going out in a blaze of glory, burnout is more like going out in a blaze of exhaustion, fatigue, and resentment.

The pandemic has been an accelerant to this process, stretching some dietitians to the limit. Burnout can combust quickly or smolder. It can be tough to spot in the early stages, but the damage to your team can be devastating.

One-Alarm Fire – A spark ignites

Overtime. All of a sudden, your census is up. This just means a little extra work for you and your team. NBD, right? Your dietitians begin coming in early or maybe staying late. At first glance, the costs appear to be modest—just a few extra dollars in overtime. However, this extra burden is tinder for a burnout blaze.

Two-Alarm Fire – The tinder catches fire

A vacancy. The fire has started, albeit small. Perhaps one of your dietitians is on an extended leave, or someone has resigned. Now a little extra work becomes a lot more extra work. Your dietitians are hustling, trying to keep control. Morale is smoked, and your team begins to feel the effects of burnout.

Three-Alarm Fire – An uncontrolled burn

Patient care suffers. When stretched too thinly, dietitians begin prioritizing which patients or residents are assessed. Everyone else is assessed late or not at all. Best case scenario, you’re out of compliance with your own assessment policies. Worst case scenario, you’re out of compliance with CMS or The Joint Commission standards, and they show up for a survey.

Four-Alarm Fire – Wildfire erupts

Breaking point. The morale amongst dietitians is low, and someone has had enough. Now you have another vacancy. The fire is officially out of control.

Five-Alarm Fire – Your team is ablaze

Burnout. By now, your team is scorched. You finally hire some extra help, but it only gives permission to another dietitian to quit without feeling guilty. Now, you’re in survival mode—sign-on bonuses, higher salaries, additional job perks—anything to find new talent. The problem is no one wants to walk into a five-alarm fire.

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How Dietitians On Demand Can Help

Like any firefighter, we can provide the most effective help before the blaze gets out of control. Call us when you have a one-alarm fire and just need a little extra help. Having an extra set of hands at your facility is like having a fire extinguisher nearby. It’s security, and it’s cost-effective. Dietitians On Demand can help by supplementing day-to-day clinical operations, working extra hours on nights and weekends, and covering your permanent dietitians’ vacations or medical leaves.

In the current job market, facilities are struggling to find candidates. That means higher compensation packages, sign-on bonuses, and extra perks to secure a new hire. Hiring costs can explode in the blink of an eye. With Dietitians On Demand, you’ll have a fixed hourly rate and none of the administrative burden that comes with trying to hire and retain a new employee.

Trust us. We’ve been rescuing facilities for over 16 years. Click here to submit your coverage request today.

Sara Glanz, MS, RD, LD, CNSC worked as a traveling dietitian for Dietitians On Demand for two years before joining the team as the corporate dietitian. In this role, she has championed the continuing education program to empower dietitians everywhere to achieve their professional goals.

Dietitians On Demand is a nationwide staffing and recruiting company for registered dietitians, specializing in short-term, temporary and permanent-hire positions in acute care, long term care and food service positions. We’re dedicated to dietitians and helping them enhance their practice and excel in the workplace. Check out our job openingsrequest your coverage, or visit our store today!


References
  1. Eliot K, Kolasa K, Cuff P. Stress and burnout in nutrition and dietetics: strengthening interprofessional ties. Nutrition Today. 2018;53(2):63-67.
  2. Staffing Industry Analysts. Burnout and stress add fuel to nurse shortage; one-third considering leaving bedside. https://www2.staffingindustry.com/site/Editorial/Healthcare-Staffing-Report/April-8-2021/Burnout-and-stress-add-fuel-to-nurse-shortage-one-third-considering-leaving-bedside. Published April 7, 2021. Accessed July 19, 2021.
  3. Reith TP. Burnout in united states healthcare professionals: A narrative review. 2018;10(12):e3681.
  4. Facing burnout as a healthcare worker. Mental Health American website. https://www.mhanational.org/facing-burnout-healthcare-worker. Accessed July 19, 2021.