According to the World Health Organization (WHO) “burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed” which can lead to physical, mental, and emotional fatigue. So in this article Nurses Burnout Articles, you’ll read about how nurses can manage and prevent Burnouts.
A study conducted reveals that about 35 to 54 percent of clinicians in the US experience burnout symptoms, another survey states that about 34% of nurses say that they will quit their roles by the end of 2022 while around 44 percent mentioned that burnout coupled with a high-stress environment is the reason they desired to leave. Additionally, other findings show that nurses who worked above 40 hours in a week had a higher likelihood of stating burnout as a reason they left their job and reported factors like stressful work environments, inadequate staffing, and so on as contributing to the reason they want to leave.
At the heart of the healthcare system are patients and various services are tailored to safeguard and protect them, likewise providing the best available care for them. Inherently, nurses are critical to achieving this as well as render services towards health promotion and disease prevention. Therefore, nurses Burnouts is a burden that is detrimental to the workforce likewise the healthcare system as it negatively impacts the quality of care provided to the patient.
The effects of nurses burnouts are multifaceted; it has a huge influence on the outcome of patient care, can lead to an increased mortality rate within the hospital, and high turnover of nurses from the workforce which in turn affect other nurses and place a high demand on the healthcare organizations for recruitment and retention of staff. While the impact on nurses is vast, one of such is having to go through work detached from it’s reality and oftentimes with emotional strain, for example, occurring from witnessing repeated traumatic events.
What are the factors contributing to increased burnout among Nurses?
CAUSES OF NURSE’S BURNOUT
- High Workload
Findings have revealed that nurses experience extreme exhaustion from jobs with prolonged physical and mental demands, for example, nurses that work in oncology, critical care, and ICU units tend to report high cases of burnout due to high-pressure environment, in addition, emergency room nurses experience the highest level of stress and burnout more frequently than the other specialty.
Nurses play a multidimensional role, asides from taking care of their patients, they also offer emotional support to them which can extend to their relatives, other times they stand in the gap for them as their advocate, while this is in the interest of the patients and nurses would gladly do this, the existing stressful work demand coupled with these roles further aggravates their state of exhaustion.
- Long Shifts
Long work hours highly contribute to the increased rate of burnout among nurses. Studies have shown that nurses that work 12-hour shifts or longer report that they experience increased stress due to being constantly overworked, thus affecting their physical as well as mental health. Furthermore, this leads to poor performance at work and poor quality patient care.
- Nursing Shortage.
The nursing workforce shortage seen globally in addition to insufficient staffing places a great demand on the available nurses in the healthcare workforce. With less number of nurses to cater to the increasing health needs of the population, the patient-nurse ratio rises further complicating the burnout crisis.
- Traumatic Experience
Emotional strain is associated with an increased risk of burnout among nurses and this is often due to certain distressing experiences like the death of patients, catering to traumatic injuries, managing aggressive patients, and assaults from patients, relatives, or coworkers. Hence, this negatively affects nurses’ mental health and in turn, they might dread going to work or even be absent from work due to the wariness of similar heart-wrenching experiences they might encounter.
- Poor Work Environment
Lack of support from leaders and managers, ineffective communication between team members and nurses, poor work synergy, lack of cooperation, and bullying amongst others create an unfavorable work environment which contributes a whole lot to the increased level of stress amongst nurses. Furthermore, nurses feel underappreciated in a poor work environment which again affects their mental health.
- COVID-19 Pandemic
Recent reports show that the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the major reasons nurses are leaving the bedside during this critical period where there is a severe nursing shortage.
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The COVID-19 pandemic effect further aggravates the struggling work condition within the healthcare system, increased reported cases of infection within the population and amongst nurses coupled with deaths from these cases place a huge toll on nurses which can lead to the development of symptoms of burnout.
How can you know you are experiencing burnout as a Nurse?
SYMPTOMS OF BURNOUT
WHO has characterized symptoms of burnout into three main areas which are:
feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
reduced professional efficacy
Additionally, the following symptoms can indicate you are experiencing burnout;
- Sleep deprivation
- Emotional exhaustion
- Low morale
- Feelings of helplessness
- A sense of failure and self-doubt
- Lack of motivation
- Decreased career satisfaction
- Substance abuse
HOW NURSES CAN MANAGE AND PREVENT BURNOUT.
The following measures are essential to managing and preventing burnout for Nurses;
- Practicing Self-care
It is important that nurses learn to place a high priority on themselves as well as their health, hence, catering to their physical and mental health should become the norm to them.
The following are self-care tips nurses can practice;
- Getting enough sleep for at least 8 hours.
- Resting adequately
- Eating well.
- Regular exercise.
- Avoiding overloaded duties or extra shifts.
- Taking a break in between work hours.
- Taking time off whenever needed to cater to their mental health
- Creating boundaries between work and personal life, for example, avoid bringing work matters to personal life.
- Good Support Network
Nurses should endeavor to build strong relationships with co-workers and others outside of work who can form a good support system for them, especially in situations where crisis is inevitable. Having someone they can share their experience and feelings with will go a long way to ease off their stress. Also, nurses should learn to speak up about their struggles instead of bottling them up.
It is also essential for nurse leaders to cater to the mental health of their team by providing the necessary support to them.
- Favorable Work Environment
A pleasant work environment eases the burden off nurses to a greater extent, hospital administration should work towards creating strategies that promote healthy work culture such as adequate nurse staffing, reduction of the number of work hours per shift, team building activities, and so on.
The health care organizations should also routinely cater to and provide measures to monitor burnout among their nursing staff and be accountable for improving their health thereby facilitating a peak work culture and thriving work environment.
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They should also work toward creating a supportive work environment that fosters positive working relationships amongst their teammates.
- Staffing Legislation
Nurses are integral to meeting the health care needs of communities worldwide, so the government and key stakeholders should work towards the implementation of policies that support adequate nurse staffing and nurse-patient ratios which will go a long way to preserve the nursing workforce.
- Counseling Services
The hospital administration should work towards providing coping and social support for nurses such as therapeutic supportive modalities, behavioral interventions, psychological counseling, and so on. Nurses need to utilize these services to help them prevent or manage burnout.
Globally, Research Shows that Nurses are Experiencing Burnouts Globally, so this article Nurses Burnout Articles, provide you with detailed on how you can manage Burnouts
Nurse burnout might be inevitable due to the global nursing shortage crisis, however, Nurses, Nurse Leaders, Hospital Administration, Government, and relevant Stakeholders can all work together to provide measures to combat this challenge and build a healthy nursing workforce which in turn leads to better health outcomes for the population.
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Written By: Mayowa Racheal Popoola
RN, Content Writer