Communities: Work Environment


The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a healthy environment as a place of “physical, mental, and social well-being,” supporting optimal health and safety. This environment allows clinicians and administrators to perform to their maximum abilities. Creating a culture of safety, increasing joy and meaning to work, strengthening diversity, preventing violence and an improved experience with technology all contribute to an optimal work environment in hospitals.

There are some alarming trends that highlight the need to invest in the work environment:

  • The Emergency Care Research Institute has named burnout as a top ten patient safety concern.
  • 44% of physicians reported feeling burned out, and almost one-third of nurses are experiencing high burnout.*
  • Incidents of serious workplace violence are four times more common in healthcare than in private industry.**

“The rapid pace of change in health care, from delivery and payment redesign to increased data reporting and interoperability, is straining the capacity of our workforce to provide the care their communities need,” said AHA Chief Medical Officer Jay Bhatt, DO. “Health care is a labor-intensive field and to achieve optimal quality outcomes, investment in a resilient and supported workforce is essential.”


* Medscape National Physician Burnout, Depression & Suicide Report 2019 and Department of Professional Services, AFL-CIO 2013

** Occupational Safety and Health Administration, December 2015.


Workforce Library


AHA divisions devoted to advancing workforce issues:

AHA Physician Alliance logo
AONE logo
AHVRP logo
ASHHRA logo
ASHRM logo
Institute for Diversity and Health Equity logo

Related Resources

Advocacy Webinar Recording
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The webinar also reviews a case study from Cape Coral Hospital in Florida.