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According to WHO (World Heath Organization), "Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has been successfully managed. "

Imagine being a novice nurse. Straight off of orientation. You’ve been on your own for a few months and getting the routine of the every day shift. You begin to get the true acuity of the unit. Then you do so well that your assignments become heavier and heavier each shift. All of your patients become to be total patients. You have no help during your shifts. Everyone thinks you can handle the heavy load. Management begins to add on more responsibilities outside of being a bedside nurse. This is me during my first year as a nurse. I was beyond burnt out by the time I hit year 1.

Nurse burnout was so real!! I would cry after most shifts and dread going back to work the next day. I brought to the attention of management that the load on the unit was unsafe, unfair, and needed some change. Every topic. Every issue. Every thing brought up by the nurses were over looked and ignored. At the end of it all, about four nurses left the unit around the same time of the year, including me, because of nurse burn out.

Nurse Burn Out is defined as:

  • Having little to no energy and exhaustion to complete one's daily job roles.

  • Having not interest in one's job, feeling negative and negative speaking about one's job.

  • Having reduced efficacy at work and doing only enough to get through shift.

  • Mentally disconnected from work and coworkers.

  • Spending more time thinking about ways to call out or ways to miss work.

#1 thing to do is to take care of yourself. Self care is the most important thing to have as a nurse. Everyone defines self care differently. My motto is, “you cannot take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself.” Self care can be as simple as taking a personal day and doing absolutely nothing the entire day. You can also get pampered at the spa or nail salon, treat yourself to a well deserved dinner, or even relax at a park. Self care is all things self to improve your state of mind.

Talk to charge nurses and management about your concerns of stresses at work. The only way that it will be highlighted or addressed is if it is brought up in a discussion. Burn out is usually due to being under staffed and over worked. So talk to management about the ways to improve staffing concerns and even ask if they could help out during the shift if it becomes unbearably busy.

If all else fails, change your job. Being a miserable nurse is not safe for yourself or your patients. Finding a career is one thing, but finding a job that you enjoy going to everyday is another thing. It is ok to leave a job if it does not bring happiness to you. Working as a nurse is stressful as is. And everyone has their personal lives to deal with. It is not ok to be stressed at home and at work. There are a million job opportunities for nurses. Staying at one job is not necessary if it is bring unsafe practice to you.


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