Stressors and Burnout Among Nurses in The Workplace and How to Overcome Them : Undeniably, every profession and job comes with various challenges that stress us out at some point. While the magnitude in some occupations is low, in others, it can be tremendously high.
For instance, nurses have to work in a highly stressful clinical environment day in and day out. The nature of their job is exceptionally demanding, as nurses are responsible for helping patients overcome physical and psychological issues. Their duties include providing care to the patient, devising treatment plans, and coordinating with staff, among other tasks. Nurses have to stay active and vigilant in their job at all times. They cannot afford to fall victim to physical and mental burnout.
When a person experiences stress for a long time, their physical, mental, and emotional health deteriorate significantly. They suffer from deep-seated exhaustion that makes them feel drained, emotionally overwhelmed, and physically tired, leading to burnout. Burnout affects your performance and hinders your capability to work efficiently. Consequently, you’re unable to meet specific work demands and, if it worsens, your ability to carry out even minor tasks declines. Burnout is a grave issue that affects many nurses in the healthcare field, impacting their performance.
Therefore, to deal with this issue, let us study the causes of stress and burnout and how nurses can overcome them.
Causes of burnout
Lack of support and development opportunities
Suppose your workplace does not focus on a supportive culture that promotes collaboration, teamwork, and development. In that case, there will be more cases of burnout. Teamwork and collaboration are the two most critical aspects of every profession, and in healthcare, they can save lives. But if there is conflict, miscommunication, and no cooperation among the team members, many issues can arise.
Similarly, healthcare organizations that fail to provide development opportunities often experience stressed and demotivated workers, leading to high turnover rates. Healthcare professionals working in any setting seek development opportunities, whether vertical or horizontal development.
Therefore, every healthcare organization should focus on offering development opportunities to workers on all levels. It will not only improve their morale and productivity but also diminish workplace stress and fatigue, instilling a sense of recognition. Availing of eLearning programs to grow and develop healthcare workers is always a viable option. It allows them to manage work and studies simultaneously and fulfill personal commitments as well. Therefore, we advise you to offer the nursing masters online degree to nurses in your healthcare facility. With such programs, they can further expand their skillset and land higher-level positions.
Long working hours
Chronic diseases are becoming more prevalent in society as today people have a sedentary, tech-reliant life. Apart from that, the pandemic has increased the number of cases each hospital and clinic receive. These factors cause an influx, which contributes to the increasing demand for nurses to work long hours.
As there are more patients than staff, the understaffed facilities have to work twice as hard and twice as long to provide healthcare services. As a result, nurses are working overtime, which inevitably causes burnout and stress.
Emotional strain from patient care
One of the most rewarding aspects of nursing is that you get to help the ailing and lessen their sufferings. But suppose a nurse is working in critical care or end-of-life care. In that case, their emotional connection with the patient can cause stress and anxiety.
In addition, their compassion can increase fatigue and emotional drainage, which causes burnout.
How can nurses prevent burnout?
While experiencing burnouts may feel inevitable, there are ways to prevent them from recurring. But for this purpose, management and nurses have to work together to create a supportive environment. On the personal level, nurses can prevent burnout in the following ways:
Improve their schedule
The healthcare managers must draft a schedule that doesn’t overwork their staff. Each shift should last a maximum of nine hours.
If you are a nurse, avoid working overtime and accepting schedules that can disrupt your personal life. The reason is that if you want to avoid burnout, you must maintain a healthy work-life balance that leaves you room for yourself.
Ensure to utilize your vacation period to relax and rejuvenate your mind and body. Suppose you are saving vacation days for what-ifs only. In that case, it can contribute to an increase in physical and mental burnout. Therefore, take some time off when things get overwhelming.
Seek out support
Every person needs a support group that allows them to vent their anger and frustration. They need a safe space that enables them to address workplace challenges and conflicts appropriately. Having a support system at work not only makes each member heard, but it actively contributes toward improving teamwork. However, if the situation is worse, then seek out counseling or therapy from a professional immediately.
Learn coping methods
Working as a nurse means that you cannot avoid stressful working conditions. When there is no way out, the best way to deal with the stress is to learn different coping methods that help you relax. For example, you can learn several relaxing breathing techniques or exercises that restore your energy. Such coping strategies can make a world of difference in helping you deal with stress and burnout.
Nurses experience emotional and physical burnout at some point in their careers. However, if the coping methods don’t work and your job is stressful beyond management, consider changing some aspects of your job. You can change your current organization and look for facilities that offer better work timings or less workload. As a last resort, you can consider changing your profession. After all, your emotional, mental, and physical health come before anything else.
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