There is no such thing as a stress-free job. However, clinical nurses need to take extra precautions to prevent a mental and physical condition known as nurse burnout. Nurses most definitely operate in a high-stress setting by nature and make judgments that significantly impact patients’ lives.
More than a third (34%) of nurses claimed they are likely to leave their jobs by the end of 2022, mostly due to burnout and a stressful work environment. Additionally, 50% of caregivers in all medical specialties experience “severe signs of burnout, including emotional tiredness, cynicism, and a low feeling of professional accomplishment,” according to the National Academy of Medicine. In short, burnout is undoubtedly an unfortunate reality for nurses today.
What is Nurse Burnout?
Nurse burnout is characterized by sustained work-related stressors, such as long hours, the demand for hasty decisions, and the burden of caring for patients who may not recover well.
Nurses begin to experience disengagement and detachment as a result of these aggravating conditions, which are the early indicators of nursing burnout. In addition, nursing burnout causes feelings of cynicism, hopelessness, and even depression if psychological aid is not applied.
Three Components of Nurse Burnout
- Depersonalization: This occurs when one responds to others who are receiving a medical service, care, or teaching in a cold or impersonal manner. When nothing inspires enthusiasm or is no longer internally motivated.
- Emotional exhaustion: Burnout happens when a person is emotionally exhausted as well as physically exhausted. It happens when one lacks the drive to get up, start moving, and finish writing that final clinical note.
- Dissatisfaction: Nurses that are burnt out do not feel competent or accomplished in their employment. They start to feel as though this is the only level they will ever be at.
It’s crucial to remember that everyone occasionally feels emotionally spent, unmotivated, and has bad feelings. Nevertheless, there is an issue when all three occur consistently throughout the day.
Nurse Burnout Symptoms
There are several causes of nurse burnout, some of which include:
High patient-to-nurse ratio
Nurse burnout is more likely to occur when there are a lot more patients than nurses. A study found a correlation between medical errors and a high patient-to-nurse ratio (more than 8:1).
Long working hours
Nurses are required to perform long shifts with no breaks. Longer shifts are associated with increased levels of burnout, which has an adverse effect on nurses.
Nursing is a difficult profession. Most ICU and critical care nurses frequently encounter challenging medical situations which may increase stress levels.
A recent survey shows 83% of hospital and health system administrators expect a lack of nursing staff. The demand for nurses who are currently employed is increased due to the shortage.
According to research, 67% of nurses said they had trouble sleeping, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is possible for nurses to become burnt out if they do not get enough sleep.
Strategies for Nurses to Prevent Burnout
Nurse burnout manifests as a result of work overload, work-life imbalance, and job dissatisfaction. However, there are some ways to prevent this from happening to you.
Seek Support through Regular Therapy or Assistant Programs
Seek out regular therapy sessions or assistance programs to help you combat these problems. Similarly, these methods can help people avoid burnout by providing needed support in areas of stress.
Be Aware of your Boundaries
It’s important to balance your work and personal life, which is why you need to set boundaries. Keep track of how much time you spend on each activity.
Develop a Community of Strong Relationships
Nurses who have strong interpersonal relationships with their co-workers are less likely to experience burnout. This is because they feel supported by the people around them, which reduces their stress levels and emotional exhaustion.
If a nurse does not have many friends or family members, it’s important for them to make connections at work so they can avoid feeling isolated from others.
Recover your Mind and Body
One of the biggest contributors to nurse burnout is sleep deprivation.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep to prevent nurse burnout. Try to avoid consistently working long hours or working through breaks. And if you are feeling low energy, be sure to alert a supervisor or manager and update them on your well-being while at work. It’s important to be proactive instead of reactive when it’s concerning your sleeping habits.
Strategies for Leadership to Prevent Nurse Burnout
Start Addressing Nurse Concerns
To help nurses feel appreciated, leaders need to identify, comprehend, and respond to nurses’ concerns. Achieve this by allowing nurses to express their concerns in person, at team meetings, or on internal online forums.
In order to track nurse complaints and spot any early indications of burnout, leaders have to monitor nurses’ feedback using shift feedback tools.
Promote Physical and Mental Health of Nurses
The well-being of their nurses, both physically and mentally, needs to be a priority for leaders and nursing peers.
Sponsoring fitness courses, collaborating with gyms to promote consistent exercise, hosting meditation sessions, launching a wellness program, or organizing social events like potlucks or workplace birthday parties are all ways to enhance employee well-being.
Allow flexible hours
Give nurses the option to choose the shifts they’d like to work by offering flexible scheduling. Avoid burnout by allowing nurses to work on shifts of their choosing, with coworkers they get along with, or at times that suit them.
As long shifts lengthen nurses’ exposure to infectious diseases and raise the likelihood of fatigue-related events, try to avoid scheduling personnel for shifts longer than 12 hours.
Reduce the Nurse-to-Patient Ratios
Staffing numbers also impact the well-being of nurses, which are crucial for CMS compliance with items like PBJ reports. The likelihood of burnout increases with the number of patients each nurse cares for. Enhancing nurse-to-patient ratios benefit patients as well as hospitals by reducing burnout.
Urge Medical Team to Take Breaks
The law does not require employers to give their employees breaks, but managers have to make sure that nurses aren’t working too hard. Breaks help nurses stay alert, so they carry out their tasks with care.
Promote quick breaks for nurses every two hours. These are paid breaks because they last anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.
Enhance Nurse Workflows
Sometimes nurses fail to concentrate on their top priorities. Burnout results when nurses take on too much work outside of their area of expertise. To enable nurses to concentrate on what they do best, workflows have to improve.
For instance, a nurse performs excessive amounts of administrative work that is both unnecessary and harmful. Work on streamlining processes so that nurses concentrate on their primary responsibilities and assign additional work to the appropriate individuals to avoid burnout.
Taking on a high amount of responsibility, having a good effect, and having influence in the clinical setting are all requirements for becoming an effective nurse leader. Nursing executives need to strike a balance between strong clinical expertise and people management abilities in order to succeed.
It is admirable how tenacious and resilient nurses are. Given their demanding jobs, nurses require assistance that puts a priority on their physical and emotional health and works to prevent burnout.
Is your current position causing you to experience nurse burnout? Are you looking to hire outstanding nursing talent? Get in touch with us.
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