Burnout amongst Nurses isn’t a new thing. In fact, it could be getting worse. With a combination of Nurses retiring and an influx of aging patients, this can become too much to handle and some will leave their profession.
According to Fierce Healthcare, several stressors lead to high levels of pressure and Nurse burnout. These include:
High patient acuity (years ago, these patients would have been in the ICU)
High nurse-to-patient ratios (not acuity-based)
Multiple discharges and admissions (many nurses will discharge and admit an entire team of patients during their shift)
Lack of ancillary support and resources
Leaders who assume that nurses “can take one more patient”
Physicians who expect nurses to drop everything and attend to their needs
Interruptions while on their break
The expectation that nurses are all-giving.
A survey by travel nursing company RNnetwork, found that almost half of the Nurses they asked were considering leaving the profession. About a quarter said they felt overworked, 46 percent said their workloads had risen and 41 percent said they’d been harassed or bullied by managers or administrators. Making matters worse, with the aging of the baby boom generation, demand for health care is rising at the same time that large numbers of experienced Nurses are retiring.
Ashley Neuman, LPCC-S, one of Blazey’s colleagues in Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Enterprise, offered advice to caregivers during a 30-minute Wellness Connection presentation entitled “Managing Burnout in the Workplace: How Caregivers Cope.” She began with a definition of burnout, which can have three components:
Emotional Exhaustion– “Burnout can occur when you’re not just physically tired, but you are emotionally exhausted,” says Neuman. “It’s when you don’t have the motivation to get up, get moving and finish that one last clinical note. That emotional weight becomes heavier every day.”
Depersonalization– This happens when you have an unfeeling or impersonal response toward recipients of your service, care or instruction. “Nothing sparks passion or you don’t have that intrinsic motivation anymore,” she explains.
Dissatisfaction in Personal Achievements– Nurses who experience burnout may lack feelings of competence and achievement in their work. Neuman says, “You become a shell of yourself, losing interest in things you normally enjoy doing.” Maybe you dread going into a patient’s room or going home to make yet another dinner for your family.
Here are some tips that may help Nurses dealing with burnout.
1. IDENTIFY THE BEST TYPE OF NURSING JOB FOR YOU
The field of Nursing is a large and diverse field. People in this profession might work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, office jobs, mobile units, private practices, home care, schools, the military, and even large public venues like amusement parks. And within the profession, there are medical specialties, such as pediatrics, cardiology, ophthalmology, geriatrics, and sports medicine. Spend some time figuring out what you like the most, and then focus your job search in this.
2. SEARCH FOR WORKPLACES WITH LOWER NURSE-TO-PATIENT RATIOS
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) linked hospital Nurse staffing to nurse burnout and job dissatisfaction in their research on the topic of high Nurse turnover. “Nurses in hospitals with the highest patient-to-nurse ratios are more than twice as likely to experience job-related burnout and almost twice as likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs compared with Nurses in the hospitals with the lowest ratios,” JAMA reported.
The more patients Nurses are expected to care for in a given shift, the less time they have per patient. This can make the usually empathetic task of caring for patients feel more robotic, stressful and incomplete.
3. TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN BODY FIRST
Most Nurses are inclined to take care of others first and worry about themselves later. But in order to be an effective nurse with a long career ahead of you, it’s critical that you take care of your own body. Be sure to make time in your life for adequate exercise, good nutrition, and restful sleep. Bring nutritious protein-packed foods during your breaks. And after a long day on your feet, don’t be afraid to just relax!
4.LEARN TO SAY “NO.”
masmedicalstaffing.com says, For professionals in healthcare, it’s often our natural inclination to jump right in when someone asks for our help.
However, if you already have an overloaded schedule, your first concern should be to keep yourself healthy—otherwise, you won’t be able to take care of your patients properly.
So instead of always extending a helping hand, take a moment to consider whether you really have the time and energy to do so without adding a bunch of new Nurse stress-inducers to your day.
And if you can’t help out, say so firmly yet politely.
5. EAT HEALTHY AND STAY HYDRATED
It’s not a secret that the food that you consume plays a big role in your mood and productivity. Increase your fruits and vegetable intake as well as whole grains and lean meat within your diet for an energy-boosting food palette. To increase productivity, eat food that is rich in fiber and carbohydrates. Stick to food with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce depression and lift your mood.
Having a support system is an integral part of a healthy mental and emotional state. Take some time from your busy schedule to socialize with your friends and family to take a break from your stressful environment. It’s scientifically proven that when we are more likely be happy when we are surrounded by the people who we love – that is why humans are a social creature.