Behind the shiny scrubs and the ray of hope, our nurses are subjected to excessive stress and discomfort at their jobs. Professional nurses thrive on the adrenaline rush they receive on their job, but the monotony of the job and the strain that comes with it can lead to burnout.
Hospitals and medical centers take pride in how hard they work their employees. Hospitals work nurses out of their skins and barely offer them some respite from the struggle. Many hospitals say, “If you don’t come in on Saturday, don’t bother showing up on Sunday.“
While you may ideally want to leave a hospital that is overworking you, what’s to say that you will not be treated the same way at some other place? Nurses are the step-children of the medical profession, and the glossy paychecks can barely sugarcoat the rigorous routine.
In this article, we help address nursing burnout and mention a few effective ways nurses can follow to prioritize self-care and well-being on the job.
Symptoms of a Burnout
- Do you find it hard to go to work and have trouble setting up your routine?
- Have you become irritable off late and are impatient with patients and co-workers?
- Do you lack the energy and drive to be productive consistently?
- Do you find it hard to concentrate at work?
Another overlooked but significant sign of burnout is being stagnant in your career. Moving with the times will help you later in your career as a nurse. Study further, learn new skills, and polish existing ones by gaining experience in your current position to apply for a higher post.
This way, you’ll feel more relaxed when managing a fleet of nurses rather than running from one ward to another. While some nurses stay within one area of patient care, others pursue a specialization nurse practitioner degree.
Proven Techniques for Addressing Burnout in Nursing
1. Go for a Vacation
The best way to deal with severe burnout is to take time off from your nursing job. It is best to talk to your manager whenever you feel burnout and head out for a vacation with friends or solo. No, a five-minute break from work or a few days off at home won’t work for you. What you need is a complete cut-off from your professional life.
Explain your reason for the vacation to your higher command and ensure they understand what is happening. Be rational in how you put forth your reasons for the break. You can let them know that you’ll be back after a known, finite period and will be an even better performer after you do.
2. Find a Way to Release Your Emotions
Burnouts can often build within you, leading to a pressure cooker of feelings and emotions. It is highly necessary now that you have a method to release your emotions and let them all come out effectively. If you don’t allow your emotions to flow by, you will eventually do something that hurts your career as a nurse in the long run.
Physical activity is generally considered ideal regarding your coping strategy and release mechanism. You can go for cross fit or martial arts or try something simple like bowling, soccer, and racquetball, among other arcade games.
3. Ditch Alcohol and Caffeine
Many nurses know no way of dealing with the stress and regulation of hectic work life other than turning to a bottle of caffeine or dosing up on food, cigarettes, and even energy drinks. You must regulate your consumption of energy drinks to a certain extent and don’t become dependent on them.
While coffee might seem harmless, it robs your body of sleep and can also put additional stress on your brain and heart. The dangers of alcohol and tobacco are well documented, and you must study them for relevance.
4. Talk to Someone Close
A good way to release the extra pressure is to talk to someone close to you and share your thoughts. Talking your concerns out with someone you can trust will eventually help you in the long run and allow you to feel better.
The person you talk to could be a spouse, a neighbor, or even your best friend. But it would help to carefully mention your pain points and discuss what is troubling you. If you do not have anyone specific to talk to, write a letter to your hospital manager and mention what’s frustrating you to them.
5. Find Ways to Make Your Work Interesting
We can always devise ways to make nursing more interesting and manageable. As a nurse, you can talk to your patients and professionals and hear their stories.
It is good to keep the discussions professional and not be attached, but the conversations and positive attitude can help. A friendly workplace atmosphere can help calm your nerves and lead to a positive attitude.
Also, you can develop new habits related to your profession and incorporate them into your daily routine. The more you follow positive habits after or before work, the more inclined you will feel to go to the hospital.
Burnout is something serious that can significantly affect your mental, physical, and emotional health. It is also something that shouldn’t be underestimated at all costs. Find ways to relax and recharge so that you don’t enter a serious burnout.
We understand that working in a demanding profession like nursing can have its toll on your mind and body, but it is best to identify areas of concern early on and nip them in the bud.
Not addressing burnout in Nursing may lead to severe stress and mental anxiety, with far greater repercussions than what you imagine and feel right now. So, work on the burnout, take some time off, and be a better professional.
We hope this article was helpful to you. If you have anything to add, or if we missed out on something, please tell us in the comments below.