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$3.1 million fund launched to combat exhaustion and burnout in nurses

The commitment is for 3 years and it will focus on African-American professionals and those under 35 years of age.

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United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group, in partnership with American Nurses Foundation, recently launched the Stress & Burnout Prevention program, an initiative designed to transform organizational culture, remove the stigma associated with seeking mental health support, and offer nurses a new model of burnout prevention to help them use mental health resources more effectively.

Kate Judge, executive director of the American Nurses Foundation, pointed out:

Burnout cannot just be addressed one nurse at a time. This new partnership addresses burnout at the systems level, especially for those most impacted including younger nurses and nurses of color.

About the program

The American Nurses Foundation will pilot the program, implemented as a train-the-trainer model, in 4 healthcare organizations representing more than 15,000 nurses in rural and urban locations in acute, primary, and long-term care settings. These will be the organizations:

  1. BayCare Health, Tampa Bay, Florida.
  2. Indiana University Health, Indianapolis, Indiana, 
  3. University of South Alabama Health Hospital, Mobile, Alabama.
  4. Wayne Health Care, Newark, New York.

Learnings from these pilot sites will be used to iterate and evolve into a national awareness campaign reaching more than 50,000 nurses across the U.S.

The pilot program, which is based on a framework originally developed for the military, was designed to identify and reduce stress reactions before they become long-lasting problems.

In addition to identifying burnout, the program encourages nurses to talk about their stress/burnout using common language, normalizing talking about it, and providing support to their peers.

A national awareness and education campaign will also be launched, providing free burnout resources for frontline nurses and nurse leaders.

“Given the complexity, intensity and intimacy of what nurses do every day, nurses’ need for mental health support has always existed. This has been exacerbated tenfold by the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Judge.

Data of interest

The new partnership echoes the findings of the most recent Pulse on the Nation's Nurses survey, including:

  • Nurses reported high levels of feeling stressed (71%), frustrated (69%), exhausted (65%), burned out (49%), and overwhelmed (58%).
  • Millennial and Generation Z nurses (age 34 and under) conveyed these feelings more than their older counterparts: stressed (81%), frustrated (76%), exhausted (77%) , burned out (69%) and overwhelmed (69%).
  • Nurses of color echoed these feelings. They report feeling stressed (73%) and burned out (55%).

Additionally, an American Nurses Foundation survey conducted in August 2021 found that 34% of nurses do not feel emotionally healthy, and 42% report experiencing trauma due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 50% of nurses surveyed said they are considering leaving the profession.

“Few could have predicted how unprecedented and demanding the past two and a half years have been for all of us, let alone our country’s nursing staff. Nurses have played a vital role throughout this critical period and we’re committed to ensuring they have the resources they need to deliver care across the country,” said Mary Jo Jerde, RN and senior vice president of the UnitedHealth Group Center for Clinician Advancement. 

About American Nurses Foundation

It is the charitable and philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association (ANA), with a mission to transform the nation's health through the power of nursing. The Foundation supports research, education, and scholarship, which improves health, wellness, and patient care.

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