Nursing is one of the most challenging healthcare professions in the world. Nurses are responsible for treating patients and care for them when they are most needed. While being an evergreen profession, the dropout rates for nurses are also high. Nursing burnout does not affect the nurse. But it affects both the staff and the patients in the healthcare facility – it can put a patient’s safety at risk! As a nurse, while you make sure those patients under your care feel more comfortable, you may find that your fatigue levels rise as work becomes more difficult. Here are six tips that help you handle nursing burnout:

Understanding Nursing Burnout

Nursing burnout is an emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion among nurses who work long shifts in their duty time. If not recognized early, burnout can lead to detachment and dulled emotions, further leading it to severe mental health issues.

Warning Signs Of Possible Nursing Burnout

Nursing burnout is a physiological reality! Work-related stress can often lead to burnout. Watch out for these important signs of nursing burnout:

  • Constant Fatigue
  • The tendency to take more unnecessary leaves
  • You’re insensitive and sick all the time
  • Having trouble sleeping (Insomnia)
  • Having a critical and negative attitude at work
  • Blaming your colleagues for your mistakes
  • Having only little interest at work or feeling low energy
  • Experience headaches, illness, or backache
  • Feeling that your work and contribution goes unrecognized
  • You’re continuously thinking about changing your role or quitting your job
  • Pulling away emotionally from your colleagues or loved ones
  • Easily being irritated by your colleagues, patients, or their family
  • Continuous feeling of not wanting to go to work, and once you get there wanting to leave 
  • Having continuous thoughts about your work and thinking it doesn’t make a difference in your life

Nursing burnout can affect some professionals in the industry but it doesn’t mean that you have to be a part of it. If you found yourself at the edge of nursing burnout, consider these options to handle the exhaustion:

1. Pay attention to the symptoms of nursing burnout

Recognition is the best way here to control and take adequate care of the situation. That means you need to pay attention to the warning signs of nursing burnout. Notice how your negative thoughts and physical wellness changes after every shift. Learn how you respond to stressful situations and your reasons for being tired, exhausted, or sudden mood changes. Are you easily being irritated by even small things? Having continuous thoughts about your work and thinking it doesn’t make a difference in your life? Or are you pulling away emotionally from your colleagues or loved ones? Notice all these early signs of nursing burnout to better handle it before it takes full control of you!

2. If you’re exhausted say “No” to new commitments

We all have been there! The moment you are ready to end your shift, someone will be there asking for your help, and the sad part is that you couldn’t say no to them! If you are already feeling overwhelmed by your shift, learn to say no to them. Being a part of a research project is all okay, but if you think you are too exhausted let them know! First, get everything under your control before taking any more extra responsibilities! If you are feeling dread, let them know you are feeling this way, and you need a break to get everything under control!

3. Build a flexible and healthy lifestyle

Could a healthy lifestyle help you here? At some point, building a healthy lifestyle will help you control your emotions! Creating a planned lifestyle and sticking with it will help you here. Get enough sleep. A person should sleep for at least 7-9 hours a day. Make sure that you receive proper sleep cycles. Eat more healthy foods and exercise. Follow your diet with nutritious fruits, vegetables, and nuts. As a nurse, you should know the importance of having a clean diet! Find some time to stretch your body! You can attend online yoga or meditation classes to keep your mind fresh and calm! Or take a walk to your nearest park with your loved ones or pet.

4. Practice gratitude 

When you are feeling too stressed, practice gratitude! Learn to think about all the positive things in your life and be thankful for them! Appreciate the things you have in your life, think about your family and friends, how you have been so happy with them and how you will be happy with your life. Be thankful that you have a life, a job, a house, and caring loved ones. Thinking about all the positive things in your life can actually make you feel better.

5. If you think you can’t handle it anymore, seek support

If you think you can’t handle it anymore, let someone know what you are going through! Being tough and taking care of yourself is all okay, but if you need someone’s help, you should get them! Having someone to discuss your issues will help you, maybe they can help you get over the problems, or they can suggest someone who can help you here. Or you can search for healthcare facilities that have lower nurse-to-patient ratios. This is also another tiny step where you can take to avoid nursing burnout issues!

6. Consider a career change

You must have chosen this career after through decision making plans. You must have planned what will be your nursing career, where to go to, how to prepare for your nursing school, and all. You must have been in this field for more than 2 years or so. But the moment you finally decide you can’t stay up with your work-life balance here, consider other relevant career options! If you still want to be a part of a healthcare facility, consider career options like medical transcription, or improve your career opportunities with an advanced degree! If you are a registered nurse (RN) then upgrading from RN to BSN will get you more job opportunities and career options.