How To Alleviate Nurse Burnout
Working as a licensed nurse may be a dream come true for you, especially if you have a particular desire to help people and make a difference in their lives.
But as you work on rotating shifts and long hours, caring for patients can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Burnout, or what others also refer to as ‘compassion fatigue,’ is a high possibility, and it’s common among health professionals, like doctors, nurses, and first responders.
Symptoms Of Nurse Burnout
Knowing the signs and symptoms of nurse burnout can go a long way in recognizing you’re already suffering from it, sometimes even without knowing it. What you often mistake as just usual tiredness and other mental feelings can already mean something more serious. As a matter of fact, burnout can still happen even when you’re happy with and enjoying your work.
Thus, it’s best not to take for granted the different symptoms of professional fatigue so you can do something about it. Ignoring the signs can aggravate the situation, potentially leading to a decline in your health and instability in the workplace. Before you know it, you’re no longer feeling any fulfillment in your career, causing you to resign.
Among the symptoms of nurse burnout to watch out for are the following:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Change in sleeping habits
- Negative attitude toward work
- Lack of energy
- Becoming more irritable and impatient, especially with patients and coworkers
- Emotional exhaustion
- A diminishing sense of professional accomplishment
Sometimes the symptoms can be as simple as arriving late at work, indicating you’re no longer enthusiastic about being there. If you’re also calling in sick more often than you used to without any reasons at all, this might mean you’re already experiencing burnout at work. You may also feel constantly drained, underappreciated, and overworked when this happens.
How To Mitigate Nurse Burnout
Burnout among healthcare professionals could significantly affect their quality of life. It could also mean a decrease in the quality of care they’re giving to patients and customers. Emotionally exhausted nurses may be one of the reasons patients are no longer satisfied with the kind of service a hospital or healthcare facility is providing.
Being one of the backbones of the healthcare system, nurses should know how to prevent or alleviate burnout. Perhaps the most important tip would be to practice mindfulness and self-care. As much as you want to perform well at work, you also need to consider you can get tired and be emotionally and physically drained no matter how much you love your job.
The key is to know your limits and avoid taking in too many responsibilities. Remember, you can’t take care of other people well if you can’t care for yourself first. Physical and mental rest should be a priority in any case.
Here are some more tips on how to alleviate nurse burnout:
- Get enough sleep.
- Eat healthy meals and on time.
- Learn to set boundaries between personal life and work.
- Have a go-to person, whom you can talk to about professional pressures and emotional distress.
- Turn to family and friends for support.
- Make time for physical activities and exercise.
Aside from caring for your physical health, your mental health should also be a priority. It may be helpful to engage in activities that can give therapeutic or rejuvenating benefits, such as seeking out counseling services in your institution. Your workplace may be offering several employee benefits that you can take advantage of so you can find the balance between work and personal life.
The Role Of A Support System
The importance of a support system in your life can’t be argued. This, as mentioned, can be your family members or a go-to person you can talk to about almost anything. It can be a friend at work or outside work, as long as you can have an outlet to air out your emotional distress and exhaustion. Developing solid relationships with coworkers can also be advantageous if you want to stay motivated and supported as you battle with nurse burnout.
Coaches, mentors, and other professionals you look up to can also play a vital role in building your support system. Take the time to reach out to them and keep the communication open so you can comfortably seek advice regarding emotional resilience. As they’ve been in the field longer than you have, they’d most likely have valuable insights on what you’re going through. You’d find it much easier to relate to people who can listen to you without judgment because they understand your predicament more than anyone.
Taking The Time To Breathe
Sometimes it’s all a matter of knowing when to stop and take a breather in the middle of everything you’re feeling. Stressful situations tend to make you forget you also deserve time off to collect yourself. So instead of being in control, you’d find yourself spiraling out of control and with no one to turn to at the worst.
Once you’re starting to identify or recognize some signs of nurse burnout, it’s your responsibility to find out how you can alleviate them. More than caring about your profession, you also have to think of yourself and be mindful of what stress and emotional exhaustion can bring.
Taking a vacation may help, especially if you’ve been working nonstop throughout your career. There’s certainly nothing wrong with disassociating and unplugging yourself from the stress and responsibilities every once in a while. You might even be surprised to find out how doing so could help you feel better and become a more passionate healthcare worker. Also, consider spending more time with your family and doing things you enjoy the most.
Nurse burnout is real, and it could happen to anyone, mainly if you’ve been dedicating your whole life to caring for patients. You must know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of this condition so you can look into alleviating them as early as you can. The key is to act on it immediately before it could lead to a more serious concern.
Self-care and mindfulness are among the top tips to consider. Take care of your health, both physically and mentally. Have a reliable support system you can count on when you need someone to talk to. Take some time off and don’t hesitate to seek therapies and counseling services when necessary. Keep in mind, nurses like you can also get tired, drained, and demotivated. Before you can be good at what you do, you should first learn to take care of yourself.
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