Nurse burnout is no joke. And what’s more… I am sure we’ve all experienced it at one time or another. Whether we feel tired while at work or overwhelmed at the thought of going back in during our day off- having a nursing career can be tough.
A recent article on Everyday Health looked into why nurses are burning out. Annette Tersigni, also known as the Yoga Nurse, was interviewed and shared openly how she felt the pressures of working as a nurse. As nurses, Annette’s experience isn’t surprising as we too have felt the effects of stress. Even the ANA survey done in 2011 found that 3 out of 4 nurses felt overworked and exhausted.
So what can we do about this? Given that nurse burnout seems to be a chronic condition- is there an answer?
While I am sharing three practical tips below, I also wanted to make you aware of a recent TED Talks video on Nursing Burnout. Four nursing students put together this educational video describing what burnout is and causes behind it. The students describe how burnout affects patient care and then offers wonderful interventions, both personally and professionally, that can help us cope. Check out this video here:
In addition to the self-care tips and work-life balance suggestions in the video above, I’d like to share three practical strategies for preventing nursing burnout.
- Practice Presence. I always say that we have to practice what we want to see happen in the future. For example, if you were a dancer or played in an orchestra, you’d practice over and over (and over) again for the ‘big day’. The same holds true for staying mindfully aware. You’ve got to practice in the quiet moments so that you can stay calm and release tension during the chaotic days of your nursing career. For this, I encourage you to start up a daily practice. This can involve a sitting meditation, chanting a mantra, or eating mindfully. Whatever you choose to do- just be sure to keep up this routine when it is quiet and you are alone. This way when you get into the busy workplace (think crowded and noisy medication room) you are less distracted… and less likely to burnout.
- Allow for Release. This is another wonderful preventative step you can take. It involves letting go. By this I mean allowing yourself to be gentle. If you don’t do something perfectly or cannot master it on the first try- guess what? That’s OK- and perfectly normal. Is there some hurt that you’re holding onto or a resentment you can’t let go of? If so, be honest with yourself and see if you can release this energy. When we hold onto things we actually waste our physical and mental resources. Then, when we get into a hectic work situation we feel drained because our energy is tied up elsewhere. A great way to prevent this is to practice the art of letting go- ahead of time.
- Fill Up With the Good Stuff. Finally, focus on appreciation. When you keep in mind all of the good things, you get more of them. It’s another energetic principle that goes something like this: like attracts like. So pay attention to what you can be grateful for and you get more of it. Instead of harping on all that could go wrong with your work- find the good in your career and keep your eye on that prize.
I’d love to hear from you! What would you add to the list above or the tips provided in this video? Be sure to leave your comment below. And thanks for reading.
About the Author: As a speaker, workshop facilitator, and Reiki Master, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of The Art of Nursing virtual conference, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.