5 Effective Tips for Beating Nurse Burnout
By Jane Anderson, contributor
According to a survey by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, 7 out of 10 nurses state that they feel the effects of nurse burnout in their current roles. Although 76 percent of workers claim job satisfaction, the increased patient load and stringent hospital regulations are taking their toll on employees’ health.
The patient ratio per nurse has increased, and unfortunately, the patient needs have increased as well. Minority Nurse Magazine states that poor management is one reason for nursing complaints.
Nurses are frustrated with a general lack of support and a failure to address problems on a timely basis. Many feel that inadequate leadership is a significant cause of nurse burnout and patient satisfaction issues.
5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Nursing Burnout
1. Learn to soothe yourself
One of the most important techniques we learn as a child is the ability to soothe ourselves. As an adult, you may need to experiment with several methods to find what works best for you. Meditation, journaling, tai chi and breathing exercises are all approaches that let you release tension from your mind and body. Practice mindfulness and concentrate on one thing at a time. Although nursing requires the ability to multitask, relaxation does not.
2. Take advantage of hospital technology
Sometimes it takes a while to embrace new practices. If your department has surveillance tools and tracking boards that will make your job easier, use them. Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices let nurses get back to providing bedside patient care while keeping communication lines open.
3. Prevent nursing burnout with a good support system
Whether you want to vent after work or discuss problems with a licensed therapist, the act of sharing often helps to relieve stress. Friends and family do not need to be able to fix your problems; they just need to listen. Hospitals frequently have support personnel to call if you require more specialized help.
4. Put your health first
Many staff nurses feel they don’t have time for meals or breaks while at work. Then they leave work to care for children and manage a household and don’t have time for exercise or sleep. Eventually, the long hours and inadequate personal care lead to nurse burnout. As a nurse, your first patient is yourself; then you can take care of everyone else.
5. Change your environment
If you feel like you have lost your passion, maybe it’s time to change — not from nursing but from your current job. Travel nursing lets you continue your chosen career but in a completely different environment. You will learn new practices at each location, and you can share knowledge gained from previous assignments. American Mobile offers a list of dos and don’ts for aspiring travel nurses.
Are healthcare organizations attempting to prevent nursing burnout?
To combat the prevalence of nurse burnout, hospitals have started fighting back. There has been an increase in nursing residency programs that are aimed at educating and training new nurses before they ever hit the floor. This has resulted in improved confidence among young nurses and correspondingly less stress.
Some healthcare organizations have embraced ideas from the business world and incorporated stress reduction classes, relaxation spaces and support programs for their staff.
Since the most frequently cited cause of nursing burnout is patient overload, hospitals are looking at the nurse to patient ratio in hopes of coming up with a way to standardize this figure. Patient Safety and Quality, a handbook for nurses, explains in chapter 30 how nurse workload directly impacts patient satisfaction and safety.