The signs of burnout and how to prevent it

The signs of burnout and how to prevent it

  • Posted On : 8/15/2018 9:04 AM

Nurse burnout can vary from nurse to nurse. Burnout could describe a nurse who has worked too many days in a row or a nurse desperate for a break! Sometimes, burnout is more than needing a few days off. What causes this in the healthcare profession?

These are the signs of burnout and how to prevent it.

What is burnout?

A stressful lifestyle at work can cause a number of mental and physical problems. The point that a healthcare professional feels: exhausted all the time, empty, never has time for themselves and unable to cope with their emotions are all signs of burnout. 

This happens when a professional is constantly over-worked, under constricting time-pressure, conflicts and sick patients.

The long hours, mounting pressure to manage their patients needs, and other non-patient centered duties all contribute to healthcare professionals burning out.

The signs of burnout

Burnout is not something that just happens overnight. This is a emotional and physical problem that happens over weeks, months and maybe years. The warning signs of burnout are:

A feeling of constant emotional exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion is the feeling of being emotionally overextended and exhausted by one’s work states Roberta Heale. This is where self care comes into play. Go relax on your day off, sleep the entire day, take a day off when you need to.

A detachment from patients. Once you are suffering from burnout your patients can start to suffer. You cannot take care of your patients correctly if you are not taking care of yourself. This affects patient satisfaction and patient-centered care.

You’re sick and tired. It’s common to be tired after a long day at work; however, you should not always feel tired. A constant state of exhaustion is not normal.

Is the hardest part of the day getting out of bed? Lack of sleep not only causes exhaustion but your immune system will suffer as well.

Changes in eating habits. You might have noticed that you never eat certain foods on a normal basis and all of a sudden you are eating sweets, junk food or drink alcohol after a long day. This change is from stress in your daily tasks and job.

How to prevent burnout.

There are a couple of different ways that healthcare professionals can help stop burnout before it happens.

Reach out to colleagues: Your fellow healthcare colleagues understand what you are going through better than anyone else. This can help reduce stress and discuss difficulties with your job.

Let it all out:  Find a confidant, friend or counselor to help you. It can be nice to have someone who will listen to all your problems. This helps foster a better relationship in the workforce and can help with mental exhaustion.

Don’t forget why you started: You might be sick and tired of being sick and tired, but don't forget why you started! Remember back to that first day in the hospital, the excitement and how you couldn’t wait to start your career. Plus, the patient are depending on you! You can’t leave your favorite patient.  

Set boundaries: It can be hard to say no when helping another colleague, but your work and duties come first. If you are already stretched thin then you might need to say “no.” It will be difficult but your health will thank you.

Take time off:  This may seem like a crazy notion but take a vacation! If that doesn’t fit into the schedule, take a half day here and there. This will let you get duties finished in the morning or afternoon but give you a break as well.

The feeling of burnout can come at any time. It is important to put yourself first and use preventative measures you need to provide the best care to your patients. Whether that is missing a shift once in a while or talking it out with a friend.


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