Nurses nowadays list nurse burnout as one of the major reasons for leaving the nursing profession. According to a 2011 survey by the American Nurses Association, three out of four nurses cited the effects of stress and overwork as a top health concern.
Apart from wreaking havoc with one’s health, work burnout plays a role in the incidences of medical errors so it is critical to address it before it could get worse.
Are You Experiencing Burnout At Work?
If you are unsure if you are just tired or already experiencing work burnout, evaluate yourself with the following signs:
- Are you chronically late for work? This is the most noticeable sign of being burnt out from work. You already lack the motivation to appear at work in a timely manner.
- Are your deadlines not always met? Because the deadlines your nurse manager assigns to you are not always met, your work output is compromised. You don’t even want to finish your work at all.
- Do you frequently complain while at work? You are constantly whining about every little thing you can complain about while working. Everything around you seems to be getting on your nerves quickly.
- Do you have relationship problems with colleagues? Because you are always irritated, your fellow nurses are having difficulties getting along with you. Your mood contradicts theirs and you have few friends at work.
- Is your weight fluctuating? It’s either you are losing or gaining pounds quickly. These fluctuations in weight are happening without putting effort in changing your diet and lifestyle.
- Are you frequently sick? Almost every week, you are reporting for sick leave due to colds, cough, diarrhea and other illnesses. You feel like your health is rapidly declining.
The key to preventing burnout at work is to balance your work and leisure activities. Here are some tips on how you can prevent burnout as a nurse:
1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle means a good diet, regular exercise and complete sleep. By following a healthy lifestyle, you will have the energy and resilience to survive the demands of daily nursing work. It is easier to deal and manage stress at work if your body is conditioned and healthy.
2. Groom well.
Take care of yourself as much as you take care of your patients. Apply light makeup and style your hair.
Grooming yourself well aids in boosting your confidence. It also reflects your toughness at work. It’s uplifting to hear your colleagues and patients compliment how well you look despite the heavy workload.
Also Read: 8 Best Hairstyles for Nursing Clinicals
3. Set boundaries.
Don’t push your limit. Learn to say “no” if you really can’t work overtime. Negotiate if you feel your area’s nurse-to-patient ratio is unfair.
Nurse burnout happens when nurses push their limits at work. Set boundaries in your area and talk with your nurse manager about it.
4. Take a break.
If you think the everyday stress at work is making you feel exhausted with your profession, have a short vacation. Take this as an opportunity to recharge your passion and motivation. A vacation can also restore your energy and positivity in dealing with stress once you go back to work.
5. Find someone you can talk to in times of exhaustion.
It can be your friend, your partner or any member of your family. Talk through the problem until you have vented out all your frustrations. It’s a therapeutic way of releasing pressure from work especially if you have found a good listener.
The burden of a problem feels less once it’s shared.
6. Remember why you pursued nursing.
Whenever you feel tired of being a nurse, remember the reason why you pursued becoming one. By going back to the reason why you became a nurse, you can get back the inspiration you had before. This trick is a reality reminder that will keep your passion for nursing alive.
7. Remember the patient that touched your heart the most.
Do you remember how a patient’s simple but sincere gratitude can clear out your exhaustion at work?
Whenever you feel exhaustion is consuming you, just remember the patient that left a mark in your heart. Remember how the care you have given made a big impact in his life.
During these times you will feel that everything you are doing as a nurse is worth the effort despite all the stress you are experiencing at work.
8. Enrich your spirituality.
Start your day with a prayer or meditation. Enriching your spirituality on a regular basis will help stabilize your mood and focus.
Doing yoga, which involves meditation and deep breathing exercises, is also recommended if you want to exercise or calm yourself before going to work every day.
9. Talk with your nurse manager.
If you can’t get along with your co-nurses in your area and things are getting rough every day, ask to be transferred to another area. Some nurses do not perform well in a specialty area and this leads to other problems like unhealthy colleague relationships, medical errors and work burnout.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate your area of assignment with your nurse manager as she is the one who will best understand you.
10. Reevaluate your goals and priorities.
Whenever you feel like giving up, reflect and reevaluate your career plan. Remembering your aspirations and supposed career path will help you set your focus again.
No thanks to the chronic nursing shortage, nurse burnout is just one of the trials you will experience in your nursing career. Don’t let it bring down your dreams and aspirations for your future as a nurse.
Seek help and advice from your seniors as there are many other ways on how you can prevent work burnout from consuming your genuine passion and motivation at work.
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