October 16, 2023 | 6 minute

Solving the CIO’s Dilemma: Leveraging IoT and AI to Protect Nurses From Workplace Violence and Burnout

Doctor and nurse walking in hospital hallway
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Nursing staff are essential to patient care and efficient hospital operations. However, cases of violence against nurses and worsening workforce shortages continue to increase and interfere with hospital personnel’s safety, wellbeing, and ability to deliver high-quality patient care. These major challenges require a fast and effective solution that transforms healthcare operations, and the time to make it happen is now.

The Urgent Problem of Nurse Staff Safety and Burnout

Staff safety and burnout are critical topics that require careful evaluation and action to deploy effective solutions. A reported 74% of nurses have experienced violence while at work, while 30% have high levels of burnout. These statistics directly impact both patient care and staff retention.

Many nurses complain about being forced to work in unsafe conditions, feeling undervalued and overworked, and believing healthcare facilities fail to enact appropriate policies to protect their physical and mental health. The consequences of leaving these complaints unaddressed have triggered rising numbers of resignations.

During the past five years, the average hospital reports a staff turnover of 105%. Within the past two years alone, 100,000 nurses have quit their jobs. That number is expected to grow to 610,000 by 2027. The high levels of burnout due to the ongoing staffing shortage only add more fuel to the wave of discontentment and desire to leave the nursing profession.

The turnover rate costs millions of dollars per year and leaves facilities struggling to fill essential staffing positions. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities must act now to retain nursing staff critical for daily operations and maintaining a high level of patient care. The dilemma of the CIO then lies in the need to find a solution that is both well-planned for ongoing success, and that can be deployed quickly to mitigate the problem immediately.

Staff Safety

Safety issues are a top concern of nurses, with nearly three quarters of staff experiencing some kind of violence while at work. Nurses who feel their safety is at risk don’t feel valued by their employers. They are likely to consider leaving their chosen profession.

Wearable devices and wireless location-aware alerting are crucial for keeping nurses safe. Using the Cloud to deliver alerts and consolidate data helps to keep everyone up-to-date and improves learning to create better plans for future scenarios.

Nurse Burnout

Burnout is a common complaint from overworked, stressed nurses. Your staff may experience higher levels of burnout if their personal safety concerns are not sufficiently addressed if they are forced to cover extra shifts due to staff shortages and feel unsupported by hospital management. The top contributing factors to burnout as reported by nurses are:

  • Being responsible for more than four patients
  • Working longer, 10-13 hour shifts instead of 8-9 shifts
  • Specializing in a stressful area, like ED and ICU

New technologies can provide long-term strategies by understanding the care journey and what nurses and patients need, gathering data, and using that information to enact real changes that make a difference.

Solve Nurse Staff and Burnout Issues with

Many current attempts to improve operations deliver fragmented results that make it nearly impossible to achieve consistent, favorable outcomes at scale. The usual model involves a disjointed effort where the IT department takes care of the employees, the guest experience team serves visitors, and the operations team and facilities team operate independently. Also, each area uses different technologies, making it impossible to communicate effectively and deliver support.

Now, and Cisco have the answer in the form of digital transformation using IoT and AI. offers cloud-based productivity and staff safety solutions that, when powered by Cisco’s wireless networks, work together to offer better protection to nursing staff while making them feel more valued.

This solution includes controlling all areas of hospital operations in one convenient app center supported by middleware and IoT devices like BLE tags, BLE beacons, BLE sensors, and IoT sensors. Not only does this model provide unified support and end-to-end visibility, but it’s also highly scalable using Cisco Spaces.


The Cisco Catalyst 9100 series is designed for Wi-Fi and IoT. It has the following components:

  • Cisco Spaces Gateway to host the IoT Services
  • Aps with BLE radio standard
  • Wi-Fi 6|6E capabilities to support your IoT devices and for better device battery life
  • Catalyst 9800 – IOS XE 17.3 provides secure and intelligent wireless services

Cisco’s solution comes at a low cost of ownership as it eliminates many of the overhead costs of proprietary solutions.

The problem with proprietary solutions is you have to either sacrifice fast results to develop a well-planned strategy you can scale in the future, or sacrifice future use cases to deliver quick solutions in the present. gives you both accelerated time to value and future-facing delivery architecture in an IT-led strategy. delivers turnkey service to improve staff safety through the use of IoT devices such as room sensors, tags, and gateways that communicate information. You can set up your system to deliver alerts to cell phones and desk stations to ensure the appropriate parties receive the security alert immediately. Supervisors and security personnel can also access a list of staff members by location to view any active alerts.

This system is effective and makes staff feel secure that their needs are seen and their safety valued. Plus, it saves money by preventing incidents. Nurses who face a safety incident lose an average of eight days of work from their injuries. The cost of a nursing temp to fill in is around $500 per day. The frequency of safety events also contributes to higher turnovers which costs the facilities money.

Benefits of a Platform Solution over Point Solutions

The Cisco and solution unlocks numerous use cases around nurse workflows, safety, and productivity and allows you to immediately improve outcomes by addressing events in real time. The seamless communications system lets a nurse send an alert with the press of a button as soon as they encounter danger. That alert gets sent to administration staff to intervene and diffuse the situation. All events get tracked so you can use data like response and resolution times to improve your deployment tactics.

Another amazing benefit is the impact on nursing staff. All personnel receive a personal badge with a silent alarm that includes the location of the event when pressed. The alert gets sent to the appropriate BLE devices that are powered by the Cloud and HIPAA-secured. Cloud-activated security applications and integrations receive and record the data to create reports for tracking and improvement purposes. Nurses feel valued and seen when they see these innovations at work.

You can have your new health system in place in under 30 days and begin to experience the value of the platform strategy. This fast and secure system is highly scalable and delivers an impressive ROI. Sign up to view our on-demand webinars for more information and insights to help you solve your healthcare operations problems.