How can nurses tackle burnout within their role?
We all know that living a healthier lifestyle is important to stay in the best shape possible and to enjoy a long, happy life. While there are several well-documented ways to go about this, there are times when we may fall sick and need expert help from healthcare professionals.
One of the most important healthcare roles in terms of caring for patients and keeping people healthy are nurses. This busy role is very rewarding on a personal level and delivers superb job satisfaction for nurses when a patient they treat recovers fully. It is also a fabulous job for those who like interacting with people and providing frontline care to those who need it.
It is sensible for aspiring nurses to think about everything the role involves. This ensures they go into it with their eyes open and fully prepared for the challenges it may sometimes bring. It also enables them to see that the pros of becoming a nurse are greater than the cons.
What is burnout in nursing?
One challenge that anyone planning to move into nursing should think about is how stress may sometimes impact their working lives. Over time, chronic stress in nursing positions can build up if not dealt with properly and eventually lead to burnout.
Nurse burnout is a condition linked to nursing roles that some professionals in the industry may occasionally experience. The most common signs to look out for include:
- Physical or mental exhaustion.
- Lack of engagement with role.
- Reduced efficiency in nursing role.
- Not feeling as happy in nursing as before.
There are two key points to remember when it comes to stress and eventual burnout in the nursing sector. Firstly, burnout is down to chronic work-related stress and is not the fault of whoever is suffering from it. In addition, it is not because the nurse in question lacks the essential qualities or work ethic to succeed.
The second point to remember is that recognizing the symptoms of burnout caused by stress is vital. If one can do this when qualified to work as a professional nurse, they then understand it is something they must deal with. Once they have resolved this issue effectively, they will be able to enjoy working in the industry once more moving forward.
How can one tackle nursing burnout?
As noted above, the good news is that nursing burnout is something that can be tackled should it ever crop up. This is reassuring for anyone thinking about moving into the sector and weighing up the challenges it could bring before they do.
By taking action to deal with chronic stress, one will be able to fix the root causes and move on afterwards to enjoy a rewarding career. It is also possible to think about ways to avoid burnout when planning a transition into the sector.
But what are the best ways to go about meeting this condition head-on?
Working in happier nursing specialisms can help
Although there are some very good ways to tackle stress in nursing and the signs of burnout that they might bring, this is perhaps the most important to remember. All jobs in this industry have their challenges but it is true to say that some areas seem to contain less of them on a regular basis than others.
Before moving into one’s first nursing role, focusing on less stressful niches is sensible for those concerned about potential burnout. This ensures one works in a department that should not induce chronic stress levels and helps them get all they can from this type of work.
If burnout starts to feel like an issue when eventually trained to work in nursing, then considering focusing on a different area of the industry is still worthwhile. This is because it enables people to move into a nursing position that is less stressful.
By targeting these happier nursing specialisms, nurses can decrease their stress levels at work and tackle burnout issues. These happier specialisms also allow people breaking into nursing to target less intense working environments from the outset and reduce the prospect of any problems occurring.
How can one get ready to work in the happiest nursing specialisms?
Although focusing on certain niches within nursing is a great way for people moving into the sector to avoid potential burnout, one may wonder how easy it is to do. The best way to go about it is enrolling on an ABSN degree course which prepares nurses to work in some of the most in-demand nursing specialisms around.
Cutting-edge online/hybrid nursing degrees make this simpler than ever and see nurses gaining the necessary qualifications from home. If a nurse still needs to work in their current role while they study, they provide a flexible way to combine all this effectively.
The programs offered at Holy Family University are a popular choice and deliver quality learning to help nurses move into the happiest nursing specialties. If one is looking to obtain a second degree to move into this sector and want one that opens up the best specialisms, it is a top choice.
But which are the most positive fields in nursing to forge a career in?
The role of a nurse educator is worth further thought for anyone planning on following a nursing career and wanting to tackle potential burnout issues by targeting happier specialisms. This basically involves passing on one’s knowledge as a trained nurse in various settings to help educate people about healthcare.
One common workplace for these professionals is teaching the next generation of nurses in universities or colleges. As you may expect, this entails taking classes to educate students on the nursing profession and helping them fulfill their maximum potential. People in this position tend to have high job satisfaction and the role also comes with good rates of pay, lots of annual leave and a more relaxed working environment.
Nurse educators can also work with patients and families to help educate them about specific conditions. This also provides high levels of job satisfaction and makes nurses feel good when they have helped someone manage their condition properly.
If a nurse finds working in one role for a sustained period of time can make them feel trapped or bored, travel nurse could be one specialism that solves these issues. This kind of nursing position involves working on short-term contracts in various healthcare settings — either locally, nationally or internationally.
Whether one chooses to work nationally or internationally, the scope for seeing the world while traveling for work is huge. If one does not like living in one place for too long either, this is the ideal nursing role to move into. Many travel nurses also report having a feeling of true freedom and independence when compared to more traditional nursing jobs.
Delivery and labor nurse
This may seem a strange choice for one of the happiest nursing roles to specialize in. Although it is undeniably a very important role with stressors around acute care, most nurses who work it find the joy of bringing new life into the world makes up for it.
This type of nursing role can also involve supporting new parents as they not only navigate the birth itself but the whole pregnancy before that. This is a very rewarding feeling and one that makes this position an excellent one for job satisfaction levels. Many nurses also feel positively about this job because the average annual pay for labor and delivery nurses is around $80,000.
These nurses work in schools and help to care for students who are sick or have sustained an injury. They can also be responsible for administering medication to students for a previously notified medical condition.
This varied and interesting role may also see nurses delivering health education in class, carrying out health screenings and maintaining student health records. With a less pressured working environment than a clinical hospital setting, a slower pace of work and the joy that working with children offers, it is easy to see why it is classed as a happier nursing role. Working as a school nurse can also offer other perks that a lot of other nursing jobs do not have — such as flexible working hours and weekends off.
Case management nurse
There are various kinds of nurses, and it is common in long-term care facilities to see case management nurses. These qualified professionals work alongside patients and their families to offer support. This sees them not only offering emotional support but also developing treatment plans and helping with the proper management of diseases. As a result, this is a role with real meaning and one that sees those in it having a direct, positive impact on the world.
Due to this, it is a job in nursing that is seen as one of the most content and fulfilling to move into. This kind of fulfillment is certainly good for helping to keep burnout at bay and always sees nurses fully engaged with work.
Case management nurses will often specialize further to help patients with conditions covered by oncology, HIV/AIDS, palliative care or pediatrics. This makes it a varied job and one that has real scope for development as it also involves working with interprofessional healthcare teams. This position is also great for those who enjoy teamwork and building up long-term professional relationships.
Other ways to tackle stress in nursing
Although focusing on the most positive specialisms in this profession is the best way to tackle burnout, anyone planning on moving into nursing might wonder if there are other tips to follow. This is not only useful for knowing more about nursing before breaking into it but also valuable for when one starts working as a nurse.
The good news is that there are certainly some fabulous extra tips on how to deal with chronic stress for qualified nurses. These will not only help nurses get back to enjoying their work again but also get back to providing outstanding patient care. But what might they be?
Get plenty of rest
One of the best ways nurses can deal with this problem is simply getting enough rest between shifts. This will ensure they always feel refreshed, full of energy and are not overworked. Getting enough rest also means nurses will be more mentally alert and able to deliver better patient care.
Although this might seem hard to do for working nurses who are always busy, it is essential to try. If nurses find that they cannot settle on a schedule that allows them to get proper rest between shifts, then it is best to talk with their supervisor first. If this does not produce the desired results, it might be time to switch to another area of nursing (such as school nurse or nurse educator) which should help.
Reach out for guidance
If a nurse feels the stresses of work are building up to chronic levels, asking for help from colleagues or friends is a viable solution. Emotional support is often the most useful and can help nurses deal with general feelings of anxiety in their role.
Reaching out to one’s support network can also help nurses process specific one-off events they may be struggling to deal with and are impacting on the stress they feel. This is because simply talking about problems can help them feel better and those they talk to can sometimes offer solutions they had not thought of. For those who do not have a support network they feel able to reach out to, professional help from a trained therapist is a good alternative.
It is only sensible for nurses to exercise and stay in shape as a good example to patients. Beyond this though, regular exercise can be effective at tackling stress and keeping burnout at bay. Physical activity has been shown to deliver stress-relieving results and release feel-good endorphins into one’s body.
This can be valuable in making nurses feel in a more positive frame of mind overall and shake off the annoyances that the latest shift at work has delivered. Regular exercise can also help the body gain strength and feel better able to handle the physical side of this profession.
Make sure to eat well
In addition to making sure one gets enough sleep when working as a nurse, eating well is another way to ensure burnout should not cause any problems. Nurses should make sure to get enough to eat before and during shifts. It is also crucial to ensure a healthy diet and that one does not fall into eating junk food which is quick to pick up. Although this can be tough when busy at work or tired after a shift, eating nutritious food will make nurses feel better and provide the energy they need to excel.
Take a break
Working too much over a prolonged period can soon lead nurses to become overly stressed and fed up with their job. A good tip therefore is not taking on too many extra shifts and ensuring one always takes any annual leave that comes with the role.
On a more regular basis, this tip can be applied by making sure nurses get away from work when not on shift (both in a physical and mental sense). This gives them a chance to recharge their batteries, relax and focus on something other than their professional duties. By doing this, they will be able to provide the best care possible to patients and never feel bored or resentful of work.
Think about training courses to help
As mentioned, formal academic education is the pathway into nursing as a profession and is also the route to working in the happiest specialisms. However, professional development through training courses is also a good way to deal with burnout once qualified and working.
This is because courses like this can arm nurses with extra skills to deal with stress and manage it effectively. This will in turn make it less likely that burnout will be something they are afflicted by when working in the sector. Whether it is a training course on stress management or one on mindfulness, these kinds of sessions can be a valuable resource to take advantage of.
Tackling burnout essential for nursing professionals
Aspiring nurses should be aware of not only the many amazing rewards that nursing brings but also the occasional challenge it may offer. While the pros far outweigh the cons in terms of nursing jobs, it is still essential to know about any potential demands and how to tackle them effectively.
Burnout in the sector is a case in point and something that any nurse must know how to deal with. This is entirely possible by targeting the right specialisms when applying for roles and keeping in mind further tips on beating stress once working as a nurse.