Caring for others who are sick or injured is no small task and may require super human like strength to push through it. Having to endure long overnight shifts, heavy, back breaking lifting and bending, as well as being on your feet the majority of your shift is hard. On top of that, some nurses deal with poor work environments like patient overload due to staffing shortages.
Dealing with difficult patients and life threatening situations that require ultra fast action and critical thinking under pressure can be a struggle, and any lack of precision can be a matter of life or death.
While careers in nursing can be highly rewarding, they can also be extremely draining and overwhelming, leading to a more serious, lasting complication known as nurse burnout.
While it may sound like a medical emergency in its own right, nursing burnout is defined as physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
You might be thinking, “but everyone feels that way from time to time. What’s the big deal?” However, nursing burnout goes much deeper than just dealing with the demands of everyday stress, such as feeling a bit tired or frustrated after a long, unpleasant day of work.
While stress can certainly cause plenty of turmoil, burnout goes a step further. It can lead to negative, dull emotions such as detachment, anger, resentment, feelings of hopelessness, lack of motivation, decreased career satisfaction, and even physical illness.
Fortunately, there are some coping strategies one can begin to implement right away to help prevent nurse burnout, or at least eliminate it in the early stages before it becomes a more serious problem.
1. Identify the Source
It’s important to try and pinpoint those situations or stresses that are causing feelings of undue stress or unhappiness. If you aren’t sure, try tracking your daily work activities and responsibilities and note how you felt after each activity.
Once you become aware as to which duties or issues at work are bringing you down, you can develop a plan of action on how to rectify the situation.
2. Practice Self-Care
Nurses often become so focused on taking care of everyone else, they neglect to give themselves the same level of care and attention. Proper self-care includes those important basics such as eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting enough rest and sleep, and avoiding harmful substances.
3. Set Boundaries
It’s important to set boundaries in order to preserve your happiness and sanity. Learn to say “no” or negotiate your way out of situations that lead to feelings of stress or resentment, such as excessive overtime or unsafe nurse to patient ratios.
4. Take a Break
Sometimes all that is needed to reset your mental health is to plan a short vacation. If taking a vacation isn’t possible, perhaps try taking an occasional day off of work to rest, relax, and catch your breath.
5. Seek Support
It’s very important for someone dealing with nurse burnout to seek outside support by finding someone they can talk to, whether it’s a family member, friend, co-worker, spouse, or even a mental health professional.
6. Find Your Passion
Whether it’s nursing related, or personal, such as taking an art or yoga class, find things that bring you joy and peace. If you need a little inspiration, try taking a moment to pause and reflect back on the reasons why you became a nurse in the first place.
A career in nursing certainly has its challenges, but the pitfalls are definitely outweighed by the benefits. Classes are forming now and there’s no wait list. We’d love to show you around campus! Contact us today for a tour, and get on the fast track to an exciting new career.