Avoiding Burnout

By Jenny Palmgren, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse Manager, MSSI

How often do you work your shift and think to yourself, have I gone to the bathroom today? Have I had anything to eat or drink today? Have I had a minute to sit down and take a break? We have all been there, exhausted to the point of no return.

Nursing is a difficult profession and the extreme busyness of the workday makes it even more of a challenge. Our job is to take care of patients and their families, but we often forget to care for ourselves. If we continue with lack of self-care, the job we are designed to do will suffer and lead to things like additional days off work from increased illnesses and exhaustion, and a decreased morale and interest in the job. As this continues, we see more and more nurses leaving the profession causing an even greater shortage.

In the beginning of a new nursing career, there is so much passion and joy that comes with the job. Strive to keep that alive. Following these self-care tips will help you avoid burnout:

  • Take your lunch break. Take the break that is needed! In a busy unit, you may feel you cannot take a minute for yourself since everyone is so busy. Unfortunately, that may be true, but the body needs rest and food to regain the energy to think clearly.
  • Stay hydrated. As the rules keep changing as to what can be in the patient care area, it can be difficult to remember this. However, your body needs that hydration, so you don’t end up as the patient yourself.
  • Make a pit stop. Yes, we are all incredibly busy, but it takes only a few minutes to take a bathroom break. There are other staff on the floor to answer the call lights, and the next task that needs to be done can most likely wait a couple of minutes.
  • Remember to de-stress. After leaving your shift, take as long as you need to wind down. Whether it’s a quick yoga session or just a call to your sister, this will help release all that frustration and stress to help you feel refreshed.

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