Burnout, Permanent Exit From Nursing Home Workforce Fed by Rigid Schedules

Over one-third of healthcare workers, including nursing home workers, have needed to take a break at some point. These pauses, often driven by burnout and overscheduling, exacerbate the already significant workforce shortages plaguing the industry because many workers leave the workforce permanently.

According to a new report from ShiftKey released Tuesday, of particular concern is the finding that nearly a third of professionals who paused their careers temporarily exited the workforce altogether, highlighting the urgent need for sustainable solutions to retain talent within the sector.

Regaining these workers means appeasing them with flexible schedules.


About 78% of returning professionals cited flexibility and control over their schedules as the primary factors motivating their re-entry into the workforce. This underscores the critical importance of offering healthcare professionals the freedom to balance their personal and professional lives, Mike Vitek, CEO, ShiftKey, said.

“By 2034, older adults will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history, creating a significant inflection point in the healthcare workforce crisis,” Vitek said. “During a time when healthcare organizations are desperate for talent, it is imperative we address the challenges facing workers, which demand unique and innovative solutions that empower them and restore autonomy.

The report, which gathered insights from 1,000 nurses and healthcare workers across the United States, revealed alarming trends in the industry. A staggering 81% of healthcare professionals report experiencing burnout, with the majority (62%) expressing that they currently face the risk of burnout, while 49% admit to contemplating leaving the field entirely.


“Healthcare workers in skilled nursing facilities often face demanding schedules, which, when combined with working in a high-pressure environment, contributes greatly to burnout,” said Regan Parker, Chief Legal and Public Affairs Officer, ShiftKey. “Our ‘Solutions to Healthcare Burnout Report’ clearly shows that providing a more flexible work environment reduces stress, allows for more quality time with family, and prevents burnout.”

Parker said the report found that 93% of healthcare professionals felt that they could benefit from the flexibility provided by independent contractor work.

“Not just because this type of work offers flexibility and autonomy for those who choose to work independently, but because accessing this group of professionals provides a critical relief valve for traditional workers,” she said. “This helps to protect the overall wellbeing of facilities’ core employees – ultimately leading to a less burnt out workforce and better patient outcomes.”

Furthermore, the report highlights the significant burden of caretaking responsibilities among healthcare workers, with 81% of respondents acknowledging personal caregiving duties. Managing these obligations alongside their professional roles proves to be a considerable challenge, with 64% expressing difficulty in balancing caregiving responsibilities outside of work.

Breakdown of caregiving responsibilities among respondents reveals that 52% are caring for children, 39% are tending to aging parents, 34% grapple with their own chronic health challenges, and 21% are taking care of extended family members.