6 Tips for Combating Burnout Among Nurses
Nurses are hailed for their selfless work; they dedicate their lives to the betterment of their patients. They work continuously without a break, neglecting their families and health to ensure their patients get the best care. But overworking and work-related stress often cause nurses to feel overwhelmed and burned out.
According to a survey, 34% of the participating nurses said they would quit by the end of 2022.
Symptoms of burnout
The common symptoms of burnout are emotional exhaustion, negativity, lack of interest in work, low sense of self-worth, and professional achievement. Burned-out nurses detest going to work, always come late, start to feel disinterested in their job, and constantly feel unappreciated.
Burnout causes nurses to make more errors and neglect their care delivery, resulting in adverse patient outcomes. The burnout issue in nurses must be addressed as a priority. Both nurses and the care facility must collaborate to prevent burnout in nurses.
Some tips for combating burnout in nurses include the following.
Strive for career development
Striving for career development is the best way to cast away the monotony of your career. Research suggests that career-related monotony is detrimental to mental health.
Constantly performing the same duties daily can make you feel disinterested in your job. Therefore, nurses must ensure that their work doesn’t make them feel bored.
One solution is career development by enhancing your skills and qualification.
Nursing is a vast field. After spending a few years in one nursing domain, they can specialize in another domain and change their stream of work. Nurses can specialize in one of the highly sought-after nursing areas, including FNP, CRNA, AGNP, etc.
They can also find the best AGNP online programs or FNP and CRNA degrees and study and work simultaneously. The same goes for other nursing specialties.
Learning new things and skills instills professional curiosity, reduces work-related monotony, and boosts self-confidence—all this is the antithesis of burnout.
Have a dedicated support group
Nurses witness so much trauma, pain, and death, in one day that they need a place to vent their feelings of mental exhaustion and emotional fatigue.
If they have nowhere to go and discuss their worries, this tension can build up and cause burnout. So, to combat stress and burnout, nurses must have a dedicated support group they can approach when in need. This support group can be inside or outside the workplace.
While it is essential to have someone to rely on in the workplace, nurses must make sure they strongly bond with their friends and family. A phone call to a friend or family member in a high-stress critical situation can bring emotional relief.
Apart from discussing your issues, you must spend quality time with your family, watch movies, play board games, and plan outdoor activities. These small initiatives can make a difference in forming and strengthening your relationship.
Nurses can also seek professional help to discuss their emotional suffering and ask for a way to balance their personal and professional pressure.
Set work and personal life boundaries
Work-life balance is integral to avoiding burnout. One of the ways to achieve work-life balance is by not carrying work with you when you leave the hospital.
You must not think about your patients and what they might be doing. You must understand that after work hours, it is your time that you must spend with your family or doing what you like.
As for the patients, they will have someone else taking care of them—you have done your part for the day.
Engage yourself in a healthy activity; engage in a hobby that you feel passionate about; learn cooking, and read a book. Or, you can take your pet to the park for a stroll.
You must declutter your mind and reinstate yourself for work the next day.
Prioritize your health
Prioritizing your health means taking out time for it. This includes doing activities that improve both mental and physical health.
You have to understand that you cannot care for your patients if you are not well mentally and physically.
Practices like yoga and meditation are healthy for your mind and body. Meditation involves concentrating your mind on a happy memory, scene, or location. This activity increases self-awareness and makes you admire the positivity in your life.
Positive thoughts reduce stress, and dissatisfaction, instill contentment and reduce burnout.
For physical health, there is no better way than to exercise daily. Physical exercise strengthens your muscles, improves blood flow, and rejuvenates your body.
Physical exercise has mental health benefits too. It releases endorphin, which reduces stress and triggers a feeling of happiness and accomplishment.
Overall, exercise reduces stress, improves mood, builds resilience, and prepares your mind for combating work-related depression and anxiety.
Create empowering work environment
Management must develop an empowering culture where nurses can make important decisions about delivering care to the patients.
They must have access to resources and information that allows them to dispense exemplary service and makes them feel valued.
Hospitals must have programs that reward and recognize high-performing nurses, highlight them among their peers and give them their due credit and respect. This recognition works as intrinsic motivation, encouraging nurses to put more effort into their work. These efforts reduce burnout as nurses become more inventive in their work and solve patient problems efficiently.
Get enough sleep
The value of sleep is undeniable; everyone is aware of it. Still, sleep is the most neglected element.
For nurses, sleep is even more essential; therefore, they must make an extra effort to get enough sleep. Even if nurses need to adjust their schedule to have ample sleep, it is still worth the effort.
Sleep regulates your cognitive functions, helps you process emotional information, and reduces stress.
Burnout is causing many nurses to leave their profession. According to NAM (National Academy of Medicine), 50% of medical professionals across all domains feel burnout, including lack of interest in the job, cynicism, and emotional exhaustion.
Burnout can profuse the healthcare industry if it is not treated on time. Therefore, both nurses and healthcare must work to reduce nurse burnout.
Hope this article is of help.