Burnout | Legal / Ethical | Stress & Self-Care National Nursing Shortage Leads to Inadequate Staff A national nursing shortage has been a persistent problem of our healthcare system. The nursing shortage is still on the rise as baby boomers are retiring. With the...
Nursing Burnout: What Causes It and How Can We Better Cope
- Burnout is much more than a bad day at work or the feeling of exhaustion after a shift.
- Burnout ultimately affects everyone involved in healthcare, including the patients.
- If you are feeling overly stressed, burned-out, or just plain tired, don’t be afraid to prioritize your health.
Shane Slone, DNP, RN, APRN, AGACNP-BC
CEO and Founder of Nursing CE Central
Nurses devote their entire lives to their profession and to the care of others. Oftentimes, their professional experiences, and the stress they cause, can carry over into their day-to-day lives. However fulfilling this profession may be, it takes a toll on nurses’ physical and emotional well-being and leads to nursing burnout.
As a result, nursing burnout has become a major issue within the healthcare field. Hospitals and healthcare institutions are suffering from a shortage of nurses, and nurses are leaving the profession at a staggering rate. So, what exactly is nursing burnout and how can nurses cope with the extraordinary demands of the job?
What is Nursing Burnout?
Burnout is much more than a bad day at work or the feeling of exhaustion after a shift. It is emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion brought on by prolonged stress that has a long-term impact on a nurse’s physical and mental well-being. Symptoms are unique to each individual and can range from irritability to depression and/or anxiety.
Burnout ultimately affects everyone involved in healthcare, including the patients. In fact, it is estimated to cost healthcare facilities approximately $4.6 billion extra (yes, you read that correctly) in the United States annually. Nurses who are burned out are far more likely to call in sick or leave the profession entirely (1).
Nursing burnout is the silent epidemic that is sweeping the United States. It can cause nurses to resent a job that was once fulfilling and brought them joy.
Nursing Burnout is a serious issue that has even become apparent to those outside of the healthcare field due to recent events.
What Causes Nursing Burnout?
Nursing burnout is remarkably well-researched and described. At its core, it is caused by an excessive number of stressors with insufficient protective factors.
It is beyond the scope of this article to describe all the factors that may cause burnout, but listed below are some of the common–known factors.
- Being in a direct-care or bedside nursing role
- Tension in work environments, especially from physicians
- Poor communication with management/physicians
- Excessive or unrealistic job demands
- Working overtime shifts
Lack of perceived support from management (2)
One or all these factors, combined with the responsibility that is unique to nurses, creates a perfect storm for burnout.
How Can We Better Cope?
We at Nursing CE Central know nursing is hard and when you are at work, taking care of your patient is your priority. But, when your shift is over, you must remember to take care of yourself. You cannot provide excellent care to your patients unless you take care of yourself first. Try these tips to help you cope with the stress and exhaustion that is nearly unavoidable in your profession. Below are some research-proven methods to help reduce burnout at your institution:
- Self-care workshops
Stress management training
- Communication skills training
- Debriefing sessions
- Adequate time-off and scheduling (3)
Nursing Burnout is a serious issue that has even become apparent to those outside of the healthcare field due to recent events. If you are feeling overly stressed, burned-out, or just plain tired, don’t be afraid to prioritize your health. Make time for yourself, seek professional help, and begin working with your institution to create a work environment that prioritizes the health of hardworking nurses like yourself!
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