3 Ways to Avoid Nurse Burnout

Apr 19

avoid nurseburnout

Everyone has difficult days at work, and for nurses, these difficult days can be even more extreme.

If you find yourself making excuses to avoid going to work, getting irritated with patients and coworkers, and having a feeling of being trapped, you may be stuck in a career rut, or worse, starting to experience signs of nurse burnout. While we've talked before about how mindfulness can prevent nurse burnout, you may also find it helpful to think about more proactive ways to prevent feeling overwhelmed or like you're stuck in a career rut.

Although many people feel like they’re stuck occasionally, over time feeling trapped in a nursing job can lead to more serious side effects. Before that happens, try these tips to overcome your career rut.

How to Avoid Nurse Burnout

Nurse burnout is one of the most worrying issues facing the profession today, and is a major cause of the nursing shortage. In fact, according to a recent survey of 257 RNs working in U.S. hospitals:

  • 63% reported feeling burnt out,
  • 44% worried their patients would suffer because they are so tired
  • 41% have considered changing jobs due to burnout

The Facts onnurse burnout

Check in on your work/life balance

One of the reasons a lot of nurses feel stuck in their jobs and experience signs of nurse burnout is because it’s easy for the job to become your life. In fact, according to a study of 7,792 women working in healthcare, only 45% of participants reported feeling satisfied or very satisfied with their work/life balance. The respondents also reported having to make at least one decision a week that put their work and families at odds, and 46% of the participants only did something for themselves one to two times a year.

When your position starts to consume you, feelings of being trapped are usually not far behind. If you notice that your behavior and attitude has changed, or that the feelings of being stuck have intensified, take a few minutes to assess how your work/life balance is. If you’re not taking any time for yourself, it may be a sign that your nursing job priorities may need reorienting.

Be proactive about change

If you’re feeling frustrated, think about the top two or three things that may be causing that frustration. Is it communication issues with your manager? Scheduling confusion? Whatever those areas are, brainstorm one thing you could change about the situation. Even if the change seems unlikely, it may give you a jumping off point for things you can talk to your manager or coworkers about. You may be surprised at what is within your power to change.

Need help brainstorming ideas? Use the worksheet below to get started:

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Look for professional development opportunities

If you feel like you’re starting to stagnate in nursing job, one way to get unstuck is to look for opportunities to grow your skills. Is there an area of nursing you’d like to learn more about? A particular technique you’ve always wanted to master? You can find someone to shadow, or see if a more experienced nurse will let you sit in while he or she performs a certain duty. There are also a number of conferences for nursing jobs each year, which is a great way to learn new trends, and may help you return to your position feeling more refreshed.

If you’ve tried all the strategies above, it may be time to find a new fit. Whether you’re looking for a pediatric nursing job, a hospice nursing job, or a nurse manager job, finding a job where you can see yourself thriving in the long term will reduce your chances of developing nurse burnout.

If you're looking for opportunities, we can help! Browse the best jobs from healthcare’s top employers here.

Molly Powers