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Annual WVNEC Symposium Health Workforce Crisis: Burnout and Compromised Professionalism--What Should We Do?


Event Cost

WVNEC Members $110
Non-Members $140

Course fee includes morning and afternoon breaks, lunch, course materials, and continuing education credits for those listed in the brochure. Registration is limited to 100 registrants.

Series Description

The fallout from the “crumbling of the healthcare industry due to staffing shortages” may be the most important ethical issue of the 21st Century. More and more, it is being realized that healthcare institutions play a major role in whether their clinicians are experiencing moral distress and burnout. Both are at an all-time high and lead to job dissatisfaction and clinicians leaving their profession. Without clinician healthcare workers, there is no healthcare. In recent surveys, most physicians, nurses, and pharmacists have symptoms of burnout—high emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a low sense of personal accomplishment from work. According to a 2021 Atlantic article, healthcare workers are leaving the field in droves. Those who are not leaving may be “quietly quitting” in which they remain employed but not fully engaged in their work. All these issues have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Burnout has been associated with major medical errors, suboptimal care practices, and decreased patient satisfaction; it compromises professionalism, the fiduciary duty clinicians have to their patients. This symposium will cover these very relevant, timely topics and suggest ways to address them. In addition, the symposium will include two ever-popular challenging ethical cases discussed by an interdisciplinary panel with audience participation.


This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the WVU School of Medicine and WV Network of Ethics Committees.

The WVU School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The WVU Office of CME designates this live activity for a maximum of 5.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This continuing education activity has been provided by the West Virginia University School of Nursing for 6.6 contact hours. The West Virginia University School of Nursing is an approved provider of continuing education by the State of West Virginia Board of Examiners for Registered Professional Nurses, Legislative Rule §19CSR11-4 under provider number 50-26086.

This course is sponsored by the Center for Health Ethics and Law, Provider Number 490095, which is a Certified Provider of continuing education credits for social workers. This program has been awarded up to 5.5 hours of continuing education credit.

This program qualifies for a total of 6.3 credits under the West Virginia Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.

Disclosure: It has been determined that the content of this activity is not related to any products or services of any commercial interests, therefore, no evidence was gathered related to faculty / authors / planners’ relationships with commercial interests.

Series Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, participants should be able to
1. Describe why moral distress in healthcare is a systems problem and how a moral distress consultation service can help to alleviate it;
2. Recognize the harms of stigmatization in healthcare and strategies to address it;
3. Discuss reasons for burnout and compromised professionalism in the health workforce and actions that hospitals have been taking in response; and 
4. Apply the process of ethical decision-making to two challenging cases of ethical conflict.


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