what is nurse burnout

Episode 9: What Is Nurse Burnout?

May 31, 2019

Sperm Count On The Decline

A Swiss Study concludes that sperm counts around the world are in decline. A Study done with 2,523 swiss men concluded seventeen percent of young Swiss men in the sample group had sperm counts below World Health Organization (WHO) thresholds, 25 percent had sperm that fell short of WHO’s motility threshold, and 43 percent had a percentage of abnormal sperm (more than 4 percent) that placed them below WHO standards for fertility.

World Health Organization parameters for sperm analysis are sperm count, motility, morphology, volume, fructose level, and PH.

Overall, only 38 percent of men surpassed the standards in each category. This means that it will take longer for most couples to conceive or couple may need help from assisted reproductive technology such as in vitro fertilization (IVF)

Rise to the market of artificial insemination? The artificial insemination market size is going to be worth 2.63 billion by 2025.

What Is Nurse Burnout?

You may be wondering, what does burnout mean? How do you define burnout?

Burnout is categorized as physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. While stress is defined by over-engagement, burnout is defined by disengagement. Burnout can lead to dulled emotions and detachment. It undermines motivation, leaving a sense of hopelessness. For those experiencing burnout, every day is a bad day.

A 2014 University of Akron study reported that nurses who enter the field with the goal of helping others may be more susceptible to burnout, as they tend to take their perceived job-related success or failure personally.

Warning signs and symptoms of nurse burnout

There are 5 signs of nurse burnout; irritability, frequent call-ins, intolerance to change, exhaustion, and a checked out mentally.

  • Irritability - Excessive or Chronic irritability in the workplace can be an early sign of burnout. If you are frustrated more often than not at work, examine the cause and try to adjust your perspective.
  • Frequent calling in sick - if you are regularly relying on sick days, you may need to seek an alternate method of self-care that does not interfere with work.
  • Intolerance to change - Change in the workplace can be difficult to deal with and sometimes it can interfere with professional efficacy.
  • Exhaustion - if you feel constantly exhausted, even on days off, your job may be causing burnout.
  • Checked out mentality - A chronic feeling of “going through the motions” is one of the most common burnout symptoms.

Why do nurses burn out?

  1. Long Shifts: Working longer hours can result in greater fatigue and an increased chance of error in nursing. Long, tiring shifts contribute to burnout in nursing throughout a career.
  2. Putting others first: Nurses are notoriously selfless—many feel it is their calling to care for others. However, nurses driven by a desire to care for others are actually more vulnerable to burnout. When caring for the patient and also the family, combined with long working hours, nurses tend to neglect their own needs. Over time, this can be a major cause of burnout.
  3. Busy, high-stress environments: Nurses already have a lot on their plate and their responsibilities are on the rise. Due to the advancements in technology and documentation, the responsibilities of a nurse have been on the rise over the past 15 years. Innovation and increased responsibility isn’t the problem, it has brought greater value into the nursing profession, the issue is how we deal and take control of it. The extensive workout already can cause nurses to feel overwhelmed or experience a loss of control. Let’s add on short-staffing and documentation time to see how hectic the night can get.
  4. Coping with sickness and death: When we experience bad days at work, it’s hard to get it off our mind each night - well it's even more difficult for nurses. Daily exposure to sick or dying patients can cause emotional baggage and grief that builds over time and can creep into personal lives. These emotions don’t have to wear us down and cause burnout, it’s really important to deal with emotions in a healthy manner.  

Top 4 tips for burnout prevention

  1. Resilience - Term means the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. We have to realize no matter how good or bad the patient’s outcome is, even though we put all this effort in, situations tend to change in an uncontrollable manner. It’s good to just say “I know I did my part and everything I had to”. It’s not always up to us to understand the “why” things happened a certain way, just that we did everything we could. It is also evidenced that nurses who have a sense of hope and belief in a higher purpose tend to be more resilient for burnout.
  2. Self-Care - Self-care can mean different things to many people but one thing is for sure; nurses need it!  This can be as simple as regular exercise, using mental health techniques to relax, and taking PTO days for yourself. What I like to do for my self-care is sleep enough of hours (minimal 7 hrs), workout, juice, socializing, and read a book.
  3. Recognize triggers - This is on the job more than anything. Acknowledging the triggers that cause you to get upset and overly frustrated. If you’re working 3 in a row and have a tough assignment like an ETOH patient, ask for an easier assignment. It’s normal to take a break from a patient.
  4. Strong coworker relationships - Nurses who felt they could trust their co-workers and enjoyed going to work were at low risk for burnout. There are always those coworkers that when you walk into work, no matter the shift, you know you’re going to have a laugh or an easier shift. Going away parties are also a great way to build relationships.

As a nurse, we have one of the most transformative roles in healthcare. With that being said, nurses are burning out at an exceedingly rapid rate. It is up to us to make the changes, personally and professionally, so we can better care for ourselves and for our patients.

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