UofSC College of Social Work to develop strategies to combat health care workforce burnout 

February 1, 2022

COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on overworked health care employees as they battle Delta, Omicron and exhaustion. Burnout and stress are making major impacts on the health care workforce in South Carolina, according to state healthcare directors. As the pandemic continues as a public health crisis, support and relief for the state health care workforce remains difficult yet becomes more critical.

Through a new $1.7 million grant, the University of South Carolina College of Social Work will develop a health care workforce wellness project in South Carolina. HOPE (Health Occupations Providing Excellence in Workforce Wellness and Resiliency) will implement programs and training for state health care professionals, health care CEOs, student health care workers and community practitioners through wellness strategies and interventions.

Why it matters: 

  • Multiple national studies conclude workforce burnout has significantly increased among U.S. health care professionals, negatively impacting patients, reported by nursing, physicians, social work, mental health and other health occupations.
  • An S.C. Nursing Association study indicates 33 percent of nursing staff have considered leaving the profession due to the COVID pandemic.
  • CDC research (September 2021) identified South Carolina being worst in the nation with the greatest number of COVID-19 infections per capita.
  • A 2016 Department of Health and Human Services’ National Center for Health Workforce Analysis projected that by 2025 there will be a shortage of 48,540 mental health and substance abuse social workers in the U.S.

What’s next:                                                                                                                                        

  • Other UofSC health science units will assist with the training, including Pharmacy and Nursing.
  • The South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium will assist in training S.C. health care professionals include physicians, nurses, pharmacy employees, counselors and other areas of health care.

Learn more:

  • Melissa Reitmeier, grant director, is available to discuss how the grant will resolve S.C.’s health care employee crisis. Contact Victoria Montgomery, [email protected], 803-777-9462, to schedule an interview.