No matter which profession you enter, it’s guaranteed to come with its ups and downs. There’s a lot you can learn on the job, and it can allow you to test yourself, unlike anything else. However, it can also get incredibly challenging at times.
Although each profession presents some challenges, working in the healthcare sector can be incredibly hard at times. Of all healthcare professionals, nurses work the closest with patients and often spend long, gruelling hours taking care of their patients.
Some of the cases that nurses encounter can be very demanding, physically and mentally. All of these factors combined can lead to high burnout in nurses. Luckily, there are several ways you can tackle such burnout.
While you can take some measures at the personal level, others can be implemented by healthcare institutions. To fully tackle burnout, however, a concerted effort is essential. Below, we’ll talk about some of the best ways to tackle nurse burnout.
Identify the signs
One of the most important and effective ways of coping with a burnout is spotting the signs early and preparing for the necessary interventions. Often, a nurse’s burnout significantly affects their performance simply because it goes unnoticed for so long. A burnout is characterized by deep-seated emotional and physical fatigue, which impairs the nurse’s ability to perform at work. If supervisors identify a nurse’s burnout early, they can keep the issue from escalating.
Graduate-level nursing degrees can prepare nurse leaders to identify and address issues early. An online nursing degree is the best way to prepare and take your career to the next step.
Nowadays, you can easily earn an advanced degree online while keeping up with the rest of your workload. An online nursing masters can prepare you to work closely with and supervise your fellow nurses.
As a nurse leader, you can then address any issues that might lead to burnout, and help all nurses work efficiently.
While nurse leaders can take the initiative to spot and prevent a burnout, there are specific steps nurses need to handle independently. A crucial step is setting boundaries between your personal and professional life.
It can be challenging not to let fatigue from your job leak into your personal life, mainly as nurses deal with long shifts and challenging cases. However, if you’re thinking about work even when you’re home, you’re likelier to experience overall dissatisfaction.
You’re most likely to develop more significant stress and anxiety if you’re fretting about cases at work and home. Not only will it keep you from enjoying your time at work, but it can have a significant impact on your mental health.
Setting boundaries can be easier than you imagine, however. If you have trouble getting yourself to unplug, keeping yourself occupied at home might be best. Spend time in activities you enjoy or with people you love.
Furthermore, if you have a work phone, it might be wiser to switch it to silent, so you don’t have any unnecessary interruptions.
Improve nurse-to-patient ratios
One of the most significant factors that contribute to high nurse burnout is a bad nurse-to-patient ratio. Often, healthcare institutions require nurses to work incredibly long hours, catering to multiple cases at a time.
The effects of a low and unbalanced ratio are well documented. Various studies show that nurses tending to a more significant number of patients experience significantly higher levels of stress and burnout.
Most healthcare institutions have a lower number of nurses to curb costs. However, an increased burnout often leads to high employee turnover and lower patient satisfaction. Instead, hiring more nurses can help each nurse perform better and attend to patients in a much better capacity.
Healthcare institutions can lower readmission rates with increased nurses, as patients are served much more capably.
Set time aside for yourself
Working as a nurse can be a gratifying yet challenging job. If you don’t set time aside for yourself, you might find yourself consumed with work at all times. Engaging in healthy activities can work upon yourself, which is just as vital as professional development.
Having healthy food and maintaining some fitness level is essential in helping you perform better at your job.
Having a clean diet doesn’t mean cutting out everything you enjoy, though. It’s important to remember to eat in moderation and be kind to your body. After spending so much time tending to others, nurses must get some time to tend to themselves.
Apart from staying fit and healthy, the small things can make a huge difference. Run yourself a relaxing bath, watch your favorite movies, and head to the spa. All these little things can go a long way in alleviating burnout.
A nurse’s job is sometimes more emotionally draining than physically challenging. Nurses work with a variety of patients, ranging from children to the elderly. Some of the cases can be incredibly challenging, and sometimes there’s nothing a nurse can do but ease the patient’s pain.
Other cases may seem promising and can suddenly go downhill, with all the effort wasted. Witnessing and working so closely with patients going through so much can be incredibly challenging.
Seeking professional help can be the best way to tackle the emotional baggage of working as a nurse. A therapist can help you address areas that might be triggers for you and can help you strengthen your endurance.
There are various modes of treatment to opt for, ranging from individual therapy to group sessions too. With time, therapy can allow you to withstand even the most challenging of cases and work through your emotions more healthily. Furthermore, you can seek treatment with other nurses for a better learning experience.
It might seem too challenging to alleviate nurse burnout. However, these tips can help nurses work over burnout personally and help healthcare institutions formally address the issue. When nurses are satisfied with their working conditions, they can deliver better care to clients and develop innovative, effective treatments.
Therefore, healthcare staff members and leaders need to focus on addressing this issue to improve patient satisfaction.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.
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