August 20, 2010

The Nurse’s Life: Tips for Avoiding Burnout

Posted in Nursing Tips tagged , , , , at 6:53 am by Nursing Tales Team

As a nurse, you tend to the needs and requests of others consistently all throughout each shift. If your shift runs 10 to 12 hours, it is likely that you will be pretty worn out at the end of the day. Not dealing with the stresses of your job can lead to something called burnout. Everyone has heard this term and every one of us is susceptible to it. In nursing, experiencing burnout is not uncommon; but it is an issue that needs to be addressed head on and as quickly as possible. The depression that comes with burnout can threaten your relationships with co-workers, patients and even friends and family.

The good news is that burnout is an issue that you can avoid when you are aware of its occurrence. If you are already suffering exhaustion, it can be healed. You are not stuck and you do not have to give up your career as a nurse. How do you know if you are burned out in your job? Ask yourself these questions:

• Does every day seem to be a bad day?
• Does it take too much energy to think about work?
• Do you feel exhausted much of the time?
• Do you find work either extremely dull or overwhelming?

If you answer yes to most of these questions, you are suffering from burnout. This emotional state is caused by excessive and/or prolonged stress. When in this state, you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet what seem like constant demands for your attention. If left unattended or unrecognized, this tension leads you to lose the interest or motivation that led you becoming a nurse in the first place.

There are days when everyone feels unappreciated or overwhelmed. Life as a nurse is hectic and so it is unrealistic to expect never to experience days when you’d like to just pull the covers back over your head and go back to sleep. When the feelings of helplessness and exhaustion seem to be dragging you down, attention is needed to put yourself back on track and on your feet again.

To bring life back into your emotional state, you must figure out what it is that is causing excessive stress at work. Are you bending to the requests of numerous people in an attempt to not rock the boat? Do you have a habit of dropping what you’re doing to attend to someone else’s needs? Is a co-worker or manager particularly difficult to work with?
No matter how long you have been on the job, it is important that you address issues head on. By asserting yourself rather that behaving in a passive manner, you will feel better. If necessary, you may need to clarify your role and job duties if you are taking on more than you can realistically accomplish.

The field of nursing is wide open and contains many niches. If after careful consideration you discover that you need a new situation, find another area of nursing to work in. Perhaps your personality is too adventurous to stick with one field for several years and taking on a new role in a new department is your ticket to happiness.

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