I came across this interesting article that correlates nurse burnout with increased hospital-acquired infection such as catheter associated urinary tract infections and surgical site infections. The postulated reason is that burned out staff are less likely to follow best practices and less likely to wash their hands. I can neither confirm nor refute this claim.
In this day of duty our restrictions, increased time on the electronic medical record and growing stress and burn out, hospital-acquired infection rates appear to be decreasing, year in and year out. This may be due to greater standardization and protocolization of infection prevention risk reduction interventions. Ironically, this may be lumped into the many ‘odious’ tasks that drive burnout.
The field of healthcare worker burnout and safety is ripe for further study.