Nurses have a lot to deal with. Whether you are an entrepreneur who decided to start your own business or you offer your services as a nurse at a practitioner’s office, you have to deal with patients, filing, and even sometimes other staff members. The long hours that come with the nursing profession, combined with the stress, can lead to burnout.
Noticing the signs of burnout and knowing how to deal with this issue is important. When you reach the point of burnout, your performance may be severely affected. You might find your ability to make medical-related decisions become impaired. You could also become impatient with the patients you need to serve, and essential skills like concentrating may feel nearly impossible.
Fortunately, with some care and a couple of steps, you can effectively avoid burnout. We share a useful set of actions to take if you notice the signs of a burnout creeping on – make sure to recognize when these symptoms appear and take action as soon as you can.
Recognizing The Signs Of Burnout
A recent survey found that about 50% of nurses in the United States report that they might be considering leaving this profession. Most of these people feel overworked – and this is one of the most crucial factors that essentially causes a nurse to suffer burnout.
One study found that the following are some of the most important causes behind burnout in nurses:
- Lack of time
- Work demands
- Aggression from patients
- Violent patients
- Traumatic event exposure
- Inadequate support from management
As a nurse, make sure you are aware of the signs that burnout is coming on. Take note that burnout can be bad for both your physical and mental health – and the sooner you take action, the less of a risk you face.
Common signs of burnout coming on for nurses tend to include:
- You may consistently experience fatigue – even after you slept well and for a full seven to nine hours.
- There may be a consistent feeling of not being appreciated and always having too much work.
- You may find that you enjoy your job less and less as the burnout comes closer.
Another important sign to look out for is a failure of feeling compassionate. You have most probably decided to become a nurse because of your desire to care for sick people – and that means having compassion. When burnout comes on, you may find that the “caring” feeling slowly starts to fade. You may rather become irritated and feel overwhelmed by the suffering, pain, and fear that you often observe.
Dealing With Burnout
There are ways to deal with the oncoming of burnout. Prevention, however, is truly the best way to go about this. We share a couple of tips below that can help you effectively reduce your risk of burnout.
- When you are in a field that you are truly passionate about, then you are less likely to feel overwhelmed. Nursing has several areas that you can enter. Try to determine which particular area you feel most passionate about. Then try to get a job in that area.
- If you are only starting out, then looking for a medical facility where you won’t be overwhelmed with the task of having to care for a hundred patients at a time can definitely help. Look for a facility that does not treat a lot of patients at a time. These will usually have nurses only caring for a smaller number of patients simultaneously.
- You need to ensure that you take care of yourself and not just the patients that you are overseeing. Make it a priority to go through your daily routine – this will differ between nurses.
- Nutrition should also be a priority. Make sure you eat a healthy diet and that you get enough calories. The food you eat should add to your daily nutritional intake – you need healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and protein.
- A process called “brain dumping” is quite popular among nurses. This involves sitting down and writing about the experiences you had during the day. The idea behind this process is to offload your thoughts about the day onto a piece of paper. In turn, you will find that you stop thinking about things that bothered you during the day less. Journaling is also a great way to keep track of specific thoughts.
- Get a hobby that has nothing to do with nursing – and make sure you participate in it. This could be something as simple as collecting some books and spending more time reading. A hobby can help to take your mind off your job and give you a great way to unwind when needed.
Apart from these tips, make sure you take some time off. As a nurse, you deal with a lot of stress. When you decide to take some time off now-and-then, you get a chance to relax. There is no need to go to the extremes and book a holiday – even a day resting at home could help you feel refreshed and deal with the issues you may be facing better.
A significant number of nurses are actually considering to leave the profession. With the current shortage of nurses, this is a serious problem that the medical industry is facing. Burnout is one common issue faced by nurses, which acts as motivation for these professionals to seek a new field to specialize in. Nurses need to equip themselves with the knowledge to detect signs of burnout and ensure they take the right actions to reduce the risks and issues that come with this problem.