Feelings of nurse burnout can be difficult to overcome, but this blog is designed to help you understand and move past these feelings with five tips to move toward recovery. We will first explore common signs of burnout and then provide tips for how to overcome burnout now.
Signs of Nurse Burnout
Nurses who experience burnout typically demonstrate a decline in work-related physical, emotional, and psychological energy. There may be cynical attitudes toward coworkers and clients, feelings of low self-efficacy, and depressed mood among fatigue and a general sense of discouragement.
You might be experiencing burnout if you exhibit any of these signs:
- Feeling helpless or hopeless at work
- Ongoing experiences of low energy, fatigue, or exhaustion
- Perceptions of yourself as inadequate or incompetent
- Apathy toward others
- Lack of passion for things you once cared about
Burnout sometimes happens when there are long work hours, but this is not always the case. In addition to work overload, other factors that contribute to burnout in nurses include:
- Lack of control over scheduling
- Conflict between work and personal values
- Need for a sense of teamwork and community within the workplace
- Insufficient resources (financial, time-related, materials, or personnel)
Fortunately, there are ways to help overcome nurse burnout in the present and to prevent it from developing in the future. Strong leaders can choose to model these skills and encourage their employees to do the same as a healthy and supportive environment is nurtured.
Self-Care Tips for Overcoming Burnout Now
You can begin using relaxation tips for nurses today. Practicing regular self-care is essential to help you recover from burnout.
Tip #1: Breathe and Stretch
When times of stress arise, breathe deeply. This can help relieve some of the tension in difficult situations. You may not have the time to exercise, but a few minutes to stretch your body in the morning or before you sleep can relax your muscles and get your blood flowing. You might consider yoga as a practice to help relieve stress.
Tip #2: Find Quiet Spaces and Change Your Routine
As a nurse, it is important to maximize your break time and incorporate downtime into your day. Pay attention to the sound in your environment. If you feel overwhelmed, spend a few minutes in a quiet place to help you refocus and relax. Change your scenery or the order that you typically complete routine tasks. A new or adjusted routine may boost your mood and help you feel refreshed.
Tip #3: Laugh and Be Thankful
Teamwork in nursing is an opportunity for collegiality. When shifts are long, nurses may get to know each other and build relationships. Share a joke with a colleague, read a funny magazine, or listen to a humorous podcast. Laughter and gratitude help take your focus away from stressors and allow you to see the joy and good in the present.
Tip #4: Talk It Out
Emotions can bottle up if they are not expressed. Find a trustworthy friend with whom you can share your feelings. It is important to be open and honest with nursing leadership as well. Open and honest communication fosters trust and understanding. This allows the opportunity to create solutions for healthy work environments.
Tip #5: Remember Your Why
Nursing is a career full of care and compassion. Take time to remember what made you pursue nursing and find meaning in the interactions you have throughout the day. Allow your patients to get to know you while you get to know them. The meaningful connections you build with patients make the job worthwhile and fulfilling.
Tips for Preventing Nurse Burnout in the Future
As you look toward the future, there are actions you can take to stay healthy and prevent nurse burnout for you and others. Some tips for preventing burnout in the future include:
- Wellness programs and incentives for participation
- Conversations to establish an effective time management plan
- Listening and empathizing with others
- Leadership training programs
Communication training can improve assertiveness and encourage you to express your needs in the workplace. Leaders can take inventory of staff to identify key areas of stress and conflict for improvement.
Planning for a new set of surroundings is another method of preventing burnout in your future. While burnout is possible in all areas of nursing, one of the benefits of becoming a family nurse practitioner is the experience of greater autonomy in care decisions. Nurses may desire this additional freedom as a way to have more control and empowerment in their work environment.
How Leadership Affects Nurse Burnout
It is important to understand that nurse burnout can develop from a combination of many different factors. Leaders have the power to positively affect workplace culture, attitudes, and the overall experience of wellness in the workplace. Signs of empowering leadership include:
- Understanding the purpose and meaning of the work being done
- Feelings of worth and value in each employee’s presence
- Opportunities for participation in decision-making
- Confidence in the abilities of nursing staff to perform well
- Focus on both personal development and teamwork to attain organizational goals
Burnout can be costly for organizations because feelings of detachment from work ultimately may affect a person’s ability to perform well. Nurses may need time off to recover from burnout, leading to inconsistent staffing and turnover.
Nurse burnout can lessen where effective leadership is present. You can become a dynamic leader and help prevent burnout for nurses around you. The University of Indianapolis offers several Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs that prepare graduates with these empowering leadership skills.
Become an Empowering Leader at the University of Indianapolis
The online MSN-Nursing and Health Systems Leadership program is especially suitable for nurses looking to build competency and readiness to accept the challenges associated with preventing nurse burnout. Suppose you are a current nurse looking to have more control over your schedule and autonomy in nursing care decisions. In that case, the online MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner pathway may be an excellent fit for you.
Nurse educators also have a role in helping nurses recover from burnout. They are found in academic and clinical settings and may educate students, clinicians, patients, and families on self-care and stress management techniques. If this resonates with your desires, you can receive training to effectively advocate for the health and wellness of nurses with an online MSN-Nurse Educator degree from UIndy.
Whether you choose a nurse practitioner or nurse educator route, either position has the potential to place you in a leadership role where you can help other nurses. A supportive and flexible learning environment is essential for working nurses looking to advance their education with a graduate degree. For more information on how you can achieve your MSN degree in an online environment, visit the University of Indianapolis Master's Degree page today.