How to Avoid Burnout as an RN

Unfortunately, sickness does not take a vacation. While other people get downtime from their jobs, nurses and other health care professionals rarely see a reprieve from the business of being “well.” There is a valid reason why nurses’ work weeks rarely exceed 32 hours a week; constant care giving can be extremely taxing and when adding a stressful, crisis prone workday, burnout may seem inevitable. Consider the following tips to give your tenure as a nurse some longevity, not only in quantity but also an environment where you can come and get out of your job as much as you put into it.

First off, know your limitations!

Again, there is a reason why nurse work less hours than the average 9-5’er. The intensity of the work environment can increase stress levels which can lead to depression. Don’t jump at the opportunity to pick up a shift, even if time allows. Take your downtime just as seriously. If you fail to recoup before getting back on the horse, your job performance will suffer as a result.

Seek out an ally and use the “buddy system.”

Having a compatriot to share your problems and concerns with can be a good way to relieve on the job stress. If your hospital has a mentor program, see about getting matched up with a more senior nurse to help mentor and encourage you. No man is an island and having someone on your side can help you get through the day with a more positive outcome.

Grab any and all opportunities at any Continuing Education or voluntary enrichment classes.

A nurse who feels competent and well trained is likely to enjoy his/her job more. Consider attending optional education events, conventions and even seek out specialized certifications to bolster your job skills and confidence levels. There are constant advancements in the field of patient care and keeping abreast of these will not only keep your mind stimulated but also make your job more enjoyable and not make it seem like you are being tossed to and fro by a workplace constantly in a state of flux.

Realizing that you are not in control will help you gain control!

It may seem like a paradox but with the revolving door of discharges and admissions, it is hard to keep a reign on the feeling that you can call the shots for your day. Employing a nurse scheduling software program can help you allocate time to task and keep track of follow through and stay accountable to your co-workers and patients which can alleviate some stressors. Take a deep breathe and realize that “this too shall pass” and keep focused on completing each task with competence and efficiency.

A Happy Body is a Happy Nurse

Floor nurses especially feel the pull of the enormous tray of home baked cookies some grateful patient’s family delivered. It’s so easy to graze through your shift, noshing on this and that and before you know it you haven’t eaten a real meal in 10 hours and your are picking poppy seeds out of your teeth from the dozen lemon poppy seed mini-muffins you kept popping in your mouth each time you passed the nurse’s station. Guilty as charged!!! Before you know it, you feel run down, not to mention you can barely squeeze into your scrubs. Naughty snacking is a common pitfall for nurses and although the intention is sweet (oh so sweet!), the repercussions can really hamper the health of a nurse. Avoid these temptations and pack yourself a cooler of healthy snacks and hydrating drinks to enjoy and fuel your body with quality foods. Your body will thank you!

Sharon Smith is an avid blogger. If you need to organize your time or you need to manage shift schedules for others, look into nurse scheduling software.

Leave a Reply