How to Prevent Nursing Burnout
As life becomes busier and more hectic, there’s always an excessive amount of stress that comes hand-in-hand. Physical and emotional exhaustion is quite common when daily tasks become overwhelming. More importantly, burnout is greatly associated with overworking yourself. Whether it’s at the workplace or your personal life. Healthcare is an industry where professionals are required to work longer and abnormal hours. Nurses work 12-hour shifts multiple times within a week, not counting the extra overtime or covering shifts. Working those continuous hours and running back and forth can drain all of your energy and mental strength. This is known as the nursing burnout. I would like to talk about this issue and make suggestions on how to prevent nursing burnout.
The Nursing Burnout
So what is nursing burnout? Nursing burnout occurs when a nurse is experiencing symptoms that are caused by extreme stress from work. Long hours are usually the main source of nurse fatigue. Due to the nursing shortage, a lot of the facilities are overworking nurses to cover for the lack of faculty. Even if the shift it 8 am-8 pm, chances are the nurse is unable to leave on time after the shift is over. Working longer hours not only causes over-exhaustion but increases errors in nursing.
Moreover, the duty of a nurse requires them to prioritize the needs of their patients and provide them with the best care. A nurse has a lot of responsibilities that need to be executed for the work environment to function smoothly. Working in such a fast-paced environment can be overwhelming and cause extra stress. Eventually, leading to nursing burnout.
Moreover, being faced with so many diseases, illnesses, deaths, and so much emotional baggage that comes with nursing, it is hard for a nurse not to let it affect their personal life. Sometimes it is easy to get lost in the problems of others that it is easy to forget what is best for your self. The grief and emotions that form by building a connection with a patient is something you can’t let go of easily. It can be difficult to separate work life from your own life. If the boundary between the two aspects becomes blurred, the nurse will not be able to perform his/her best.
So how can the nursing burnout be prevented?
Choosing the right workplace can be the first step to take. There is an obvious correlation between inadequate nurse staffing and nurse burnout. Researching the nurse-to-patient ratio is quite crucial as that will give you an indication of how likely you’d be to have to work more involuntary hours. A medical facility that is efficiently staffed will provide a flexible work schedule for you and can lessen the burden of working such long hours.
Another suggestion on how to prevent nursing burnout is to prioritize yourself. Living with such a hectic schedule, it’s easy to form bad habits that hinder personal growth. The body needs nutrition to properly function, and that can be achieved by eating healthier. Processed junk food can be easy to resort to when you’re six hours into your shift and need a temporary fix. But paying attention to your diet will not only be physically healthy but also mentally. Meal prepping is highly suggested for professionals that work long hours. Take a few hours of your day off to plan and prepare meals for the rest of the week. This will allow your body to heal from exhaustion, and also make you feel generally better throughout the day.
On the topic of taking better care of yourself, it’s important to let out all of the overlying thoughts and feelings from your shift. Maybe consider writing it all out to empty your brain from work stress. You can either discard it, or keep a daily journal, but do not read it again. Write to just let it out. Another way to keep yourself in check is to allow some alone time to relax. Meditation can help connect with your inner self and find peace among the mess. Do something to rejuvenate your mind and body. If you appropriately recharge before you work shift, you’ll feel less burnout. Pursuing a hobby on the side can also be a great way to relieve stress.
Lastly, know when to reach out to someone else. Make some trusting relationships at work and let them know if you need extra help. It is okay to express your fatigue and stress. Don’t keep your work problems to yourself. You can also go to someone with more experience for helpful advice.
These are some suggestions on how to prevent nursing burnout. To be able to follow your passion, you must ensure you are mentally and physically capable. Stress is inevitable, but there are plenty of ways to keep your sanity.