As a nurse, you are constantly used to being on your feet and working with patients around the clock. This can result in deep physical and emotional exhaustion that affects your well-being. Being a medical practitioner is anything but easy. You need to be in optimal shape at all times to ensure you can provide quality care. But, this becomes increasingly difficult when you constantly put your work before your health.
In the US, more than 95% of the nursing population has complained about experiencing burnout within the last three years. Similarly, more than 30% of American nurses quit their jobs in 2021. These numbers are a devastating blow to the healthcare sector; unless they are sorted out, the medical industry will suffer. So as a professional nurse, if you’re new to the job, here’s how you can manage your burnout:
- Find A Balance Between Your Education and Career
It is not unusual for nurses to continue their education with their work. After all, to succeed in the medical sector, you need the relevant degrees and experience to climb higher in your profession. As a new nurse, you may be eager to do more than the bare minimum at your job, but you can only do that if you have a degree. For instance, if you’re a registered (RN), you may be restricted to limited tasks and responsibilities which prevent you from flourishing.
Therefore, your only solution is to pursue an advanced degree or at least get your bachelor’s. However, getting a BSN takes time, and going to school full-time is not feasible. Fortunately, there are online platforms available that can facilitate your education without putting you under additional stress.
Consider going for the RN to BSN programs in Michigan. These classes are offered online and allow you to match your schedule with your education. As a result, you’ll get the margin to carry out your tasks without compromising your education. Online degrees are also much more affordable and lenient in terms of education. You will not have to stick to rigid deadlines and can comfortably work on obtaining new clinical skills without bouncing between the hospital and your school.
- Establish Boundaries
There is no denying that the healthcare sector is busy, but that doesn’t mean you need to shoulder your entire department’s workload. Since you’re new, certain senior nurses may try to pawn off their work on you which is unacceptable. While you can lend a hand, you can talk to your nursing manager if they become habitual in pushing extra work on your plate. As a nurse, you’re assigned a schedule and a list of tasks you must complete during your shift.
However, there will be days when you may get asked to pull overtime or stay for the weekend; you will be compensated for the days you get asked to stay back. So, if you feel that other nurses are taking advantage of you or that there is way too much on your plate, let your department head know. Your nursing manager can shift your schedule and ease some of the pressure off your shoulders. If you’re sure you cannot stay back or do additional work, let your manager know beforehand. Once you sign off from work, inform your colleagues not to contact you unless it’s an emergency.
It’s best to establish boundaries early in your career, understand your limitations, convey them clearly, and help when possible. If you keep going with the flow, you’ll get exhausted and start messing up at work despite your intentions to do well.
- Practice Self Care
Self-care is an integral part of your routine. It gives you the space to look after yourself without neglecting any part of your well-being. Make sure you’re eating and drinking well and packing lunch for yourself to have at work. If you don’t have time to make a healthy meal, stick to nutritious cafeteria options like grilled salad or fruit. It would help if you dedicated some time in your morning to exercise, like going for a jog or yoga. Try squeezing in time to meditate and journal your thoughts.
Additionally, you should strive to get at least nine hours of sleep at night; if your shifts prevent you from sleeping long, go for six hours and take naps on your break. On your days off, be with your friends and family. This can give you a breather and space to relax when you’re not working. Being in good company also gives you enough downtime to relieve pent-up stress. As a result, when you return to work, you’re in much better spirits and rested enough to focus on your job.
- Look Into Support Programs
There may be days when your work is highly stressful and may weigh heavily on you. For instance, not every patient may cooperate with you when you try treating them. On the other hand, losing a patient can be highly traumatizing and a source of great mental and emotional distress for you. In such cases, you will need a support system to get you through these tough times and give you the strength you need to face another day. Hence, when you feel exhausted at work or feel the pressure building on, find help. Certain hospitals have an inbuilt counseling and therapy facility for their staff.
If your hospital offers mental health support, make sure you take it. You may also lean on your colleagues to guide you through this time by starting a support group where you can discuss your feelings and lay out your thoughts. Make sure you keep your friends and family in the loop so they know how to accommodate you when you need their warmth and kindness.
Nursing is a busy profession. As a medical caregiver, you must work around the clock to care for patients. Consequently, this can take a mental and physical toll on you, leading to burnout. Hence, your only way to deal with this condition is to find ways to break the cycle actively. To begin with, look into online classes to supplement your education without letting it interfere with your work. It will help if you draw boundaries at work to prevent getting overburdened with tasks that are not for you to handle. Furthermore, become habitual in practicing self-care and making time for yourself. Finally, have a support system through friends and family so you never feel alone during your hard days.