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Nurse Burnout: Advice From Nurses to Nurses

If you’re feeling completely wiped out and disconnected, like the spark for nursing is just flickering, you’re not alone. Nurse Burnout is very real and this is about real nurses sharing their honest experiences and what actually helped them get through tough times. From feeling too exhausted to face another shift to finding little ways to bring back the love for what we do, their stories are here to show you there’s a way out of feeling stuck. Want to know how they did it? Keep reading for some real talk and real advice, nurse to nurse.  

Understanding Nurse Burnout

Nurse burnout is a significant occupational phenomenon characterised by: 

  • Emotional exhaustion 
  • Depersonalisation 
  • A diminished sense of personal accomplishment
Nurse overwhelmed with Nurse Burnout

Implications of Nurse Burnout

Alarmingly, recent studies, including a poll conducted by the Royal College of Nursing, reveal that: 

0 out of 10
Nurses say that understaffing is having an impact on them

There is no surprise that understaffing significantly impacts nurse well-being and patient care quality. 

What are the Causes? 

Some of the factors that contribute to nurse burnout include: 

  • Excessive Workloads: The sheer volume of tasks and the emotional weight of patient care can be overwhelming. 
  • Long Hours: Extended shifts and insufficient breaks compound stress and fatigue. 
  • Emotional Strain: Constant exposure to suffering and high-stakes decision-making takes a toll on mental health.

Strategies for Prevention and Management 

Addressing nurse burnout requires a multifaceted approach. Here are some strategies from nurses who’ve faced and fought burnout: 

Wellness and Resilience Building 

  • Self-care Practices: Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating habits are crucial. 
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Techniques such as meditation and yoga can help manage stress. 
  • Hobbies and Interests: Engaging in non-work-related activities to recharge and find joy.

Insights from the Front Lines 

Linda Walker Staffscanner Photo

How I Faced Burnout and What Helped

Linda Walker,
People and Quality Assurance Manager.
Retired Nurse Manager.

I hit a really tough spot as a Nurse Manager, feeling burnt out because of a few big reasons: 

  • Not Enough Help: I was the only nurse manager around, which made things super stressful. 
  • Too Many Complaints: Every day, there were so many complaints from nurses that I had to deal with first. It felt like I couldn’t catch up. 
  • Missing Out on Important Stuff: I didn’t have time to do important parts of my job, like sitting down with nurses to see how they’re doing. 

My techniques on how I got through it 

  • Asked for Help: I talked to my boss about needing another nurse manager to share the load, and luckily, they hired someone. This made a big difference. 
  • Found People to Talk To: Talking things over with my boss and my family really helped. They were like my team outside of work. 

 

I am now retired as a Nurse and this was a big step for me, I have found another role within Staffscanner doing what I love, but all these challenges made me realise it was time. Getting support and making some changes helped me a lot during a tough time. 

Setting Boundaries and Finding Balance

Cat, Nurse Manager

I found that they key to a nurses’ well-being is setting clear boundaries between your professional and personal life. Agency work like Staffscanner really helped me obtain flexibility and a choice of my own working hours. So, if it got a bit much I could step back and take a day off.

If I could give advice to any Nurse who thinks they are experiencing burnout I would say do some of the following; 

  • Digital Detox: implement a “no work email” policy during your off-hours to truly disconnect from work-related stress. Stop the doom scrolling!  
  • Time Management: Prioritise tasks and delegate when necessary to manage workloads more effectively, as nurses we are trained to delegate so we should do this to prevent overwhelm. 
  • Quality Family Time: Ensure that you are spending time with your family in meaningful activities, “meaningful” being the right word here, which helps you recharge and maintain a sense of purpose outside of work.

Leverage Your Support Network

Shona, Nurse manager

I think the best way to combat burnout is by seeking “support systems” and focusing on professional development. As a Nurse, doing the type of work we do you have to have that support newtork in place, it is essential. 

Here are some of the tactics I would recommend;  

  • Peer Support Groups: participate in regular meetings with fellow nurses to share experiences, challenges, and coping strategies in a supportive environment. 
  • Professional Counselling: Seeking one-on-one sessions with a healthcare-focused counsellor to address burnout symptoms and develop personalised coping mechanisms. 
  • Continuing Education: Pursuing courses and certifications not only for career advancement but also for personal growth, keeping her engaged and motivated in your nursing practice. 

Institutional Responsibilities 

Healthcare organisations have a critical role in preventing burnout by: 

  • Ensuring Adequate Staffing: To reduce workloads and allow for proper breaks. 
  • Promoting Professional Development: Offering opportunities for growth and advancement. 
  • Creating Supportive Environments: Establishing a culture that values wellness and open communication. 

Embracing a Collective Effort 

Combating nurse burnout is a collective endeavour. It requires commitment from: 

  • Individual nurses, to prioritise their well-being and seek support when needed. 
  • Healthcare institutions, to create nurturing and supportive work environments. 
  • The nursing community, to share experiences and strategies that foster resilience and well-being. 

Have you Experienced Burnout?  

We invite you to share your own experiences with nurse burnout on our social channels. Your insights can offer great support and guidance to others facing similar challenges. Together, we can build a stronger, healthier nursing community. 

Temporary Staffing Staffscanner flexible working image a nurse in blue surrounded by smoke

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