Burnout Is Real: How Do Nurses Cope With It


In most occupations, professionals can work remotely and set their own working hours. However, nursing is not one of those professions where you can choose your preferred schedule. Unfortunately, this means there are times when it becomes overwhelming or nerve-wracking because even if it’s rewarding, the challenges are monumental.

Nurses often have to endure long, hectic shifts, work in high-pressure environments, bear an imbalanced nurse-patient ratio, and suffer emotional and mental exhaustion. Unfortunately, striking a healthy balance between personal and professional life isn’t as simple as just stepping your foot out of the door as soon as the shift ends.

While the work of nurses is undoubtedly meaningful and courageous, it’s also important to practice self-care to tackle the turbulent times of emotional and physical strain. As the adage goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” The same is the case with nurses.

Since nursing is a demanding career; therefore, self-care often falls by the wayside, and burnout sneakily creeps in.

Ahead, some of the tips that nurses must incorporate in their work routine to successfully manage burnout and compassion fatigue:

1. Maintain a balance between work and personal life

Establishing healthy boundaries is crucial to balance work and personal life. However, it can be easier said than done. That’s because, in most cases, nurses get too entangled in patient outcomes.

Moreover, the recent advancements in technology have changed the entire healthcare landscape. And this necessitates nurses to stay on top of the latest trends and practices to meet the needs of patients and deliver optimum care. Unfortunately, nurses find it extremely challenging to pursue further education with demanding physical prowess, hectic shifts, and geographical barriers.

However, with the advent of technology, working nurses have it easy. Today, numerous online degree programs exist for professionals juggling work and academics. Therefore, consider MSN to NP programs online to fulfill your academic pursuits and learn at your own pace.

An advanced degree allows nurses to grow in their career trajectory. Not only this, but it also equips them with the knowledge, skills, and thoughtful strategies that help them alleviate the symptoms of burnout and prevent it.

2. Embrace a healthy lifestyle

If you wish to counteract burnout, try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For example, engage yourself in physical exercises to reduce cortisol and adrenaline and boost energy levels. Set aside time for activities that you find rejuvenating.

And while most people are aware of the importance of good sleep. However, we can’t stress enough the value of uninterrupted sleep for nurses. Sleep deprivation not only affects your physical health. It also takes a massive toll on your emotional health and adversely affects cognition.

Therefore, practice good sleep hygiene every night. According to experts, a healthy individual needs 7-9 hours of sleep regularly to stay active and work at their full potential. That said, also pay heed to the quality of sleep. For instance, limit caffeine intake and avoid using cellphones at night to enjoy a night of proper restful sleep. Adequate sleep can also help increase stamina, enhance mood, and improve concentration.

3. Practice self-care

If you are a people pleaser, it might be hard for you to say “no” to excessive workloads. However, saying “yes” to every task, such as covering shifts and monitoring the staff members, can overtax you, eventually leading to burnout. Therefore, if you wish to combat fatigue and stress, you need to appraise your priorities and shorten the to-do list.

Also, it’s indispensable for nurses to stay present at the moment, pay the utmost attention to tasks at hand, and make split-second decisions. Practicing mindfulness meditation can empower you to keep calm and remain composed during stressful situations.

You can meditate by sitting in a quiet and serene environment and focusing on just your breathing and surroundings. That way, you can ground yourself, reduce the pressure by building up from stress and anxiety, and keep a mindful presence.

4. Ask for help

Nurses regularly contend with a myriad of stressors in clinical settings, from dealing with disgruntled families to helping the victims of sexual assaults. These stressors might diffuse in the surroundings over the long haul and potentially influence your mind and body.

Therefore, to cope with burnout, first, perform a self-assessment. Figure out how you feel while working and monitor your mood fluctuations. Next, identify the triggers of stress and once you are entirely aware of the situations that cause stress, try to seek help. For instance, you can communicate your concerns and share work-related problems with your managers. That way, they can come up with appropriate solutions.

Likewise, you can always ask your partner to pitch in with the household chores if you had a rough day at work or ask a family member to render assistance with grocery shopping.

Final Words

Nurse burnout is a matter of growing concern in today’s fast-paced and time-crunched work settings. As the healthcare sector continues to expand, the responsibilities of nurses also grow complex.

Without proper wellness strategies, nurses are more likely to succumb to stress and fail to cater to the needs of patients. However, with the collaborative efforts of nursing management and healthcare organizations, they can help nurses manage burnout and mitigate its symptoms.

Besides, nurses themselves should also master the art of prioritizing, setting healthy boundaries, and problem-solving to tackle challenges head-on that may crop up anytime in the future.

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