Did you know 49% of young nurses experience burnout? Probably. We don’t have to explain to you that burnout is a major issue among nurses that can even start to dull your passion for the job. But we can offer some tips to help you decrease burnout to stay happy and healthy at work. Sometimes it can feel like the pressures of the workplace are fully beyond your control, but there are concrete steps you can take to build resilience and improve your environment. We’ve teamed up with nurse wellness expert and founder of The Burnout Book Anna Rodriguez to share tips for how you can decrease burnout and keep your spark for nursing
As a registered nurse, Anna has first-hand experience with issues like compassion fatigue and burnout. She created The Burnout Book to let nurses know they aren’t alone, and share resources to help them avoid burnout in their profession. Before our March 26 online workshop, we asked Anna to share some tips on decreasing nurse burnout.
How has burnout affected your own nursing career?
My nursing career has been dramatically impacted by burnout. I can look back to my first 8 years as a nurse and see how I was a very different nurse than my most recent 4 years, and it all revolves around getting burned out as a nurse manager. A lot of hard lessons were learned, a lot of things I wish I could go back and do differently, but ultimately I’m a better nurse now because of all those experiences. I think all nurses are oscillating somewhere on the burnout spectrum but the issue is growing and more healthcare professionals are experiencing significant signs and symptoms of burnout.
What’s the biggest thing people misunderstand about burnout?
The biggest misunderstanding around burnout is the idea that it’s all on the individual to fix the problem and that if only they were stronger and more resilient, they could “handle it.” In reality, our work environments play a huge role on burnout and that’s why it’s so exciting to see organizations like the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and the National Academy of Medicine supporting healthy work environments through research! Change can’t happen without data and numbers.
What’s one change nurses can make right now to decrease workplace stress?
When it comes to decreasing workplace stress, there are things within our control and things outside of our control. I don’t have one change to suggest because burnout is triggered differently for everyone! Sometimes it’s being overworked, bullied, unrealistic demands from employers or patients/families, workplace violence, poor leadership, etc., so the first thing would be to identify your triggers and THEN decide what change would be most meaningful. We can’t control the behaviors of others, only our own.
What is the role of a nurse in making their workplace more healthy and supportive?
First and foremost, there is a duty to yourself. The American Nurses Association actually calls it an ethical duty! We can’t take care of others if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Nurses are givers and often give their time and energy to others with very little left over for their friends and family or themselves. We have to find ways to balance our own needs in there and that takes a mind shift and lots of practice with self-care and self-love. That being said, no amount of self-love is going to change a toxic work environment, so find the best environment you can that supports your life goals and priorities!
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