What are the greatest sources of nurse burnout?  - Mylocum


nurse burnout

High exposure to work-related stress in the nursing field could negatively impact the mental health and overall well-being of the nurses. The process of nurse burnout gradually leads to exhaustion and loss of commitment in the workplace. The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) reports that at least 50% of carers’ across medical fields report serious symptoms of burnout, including emotional exhaustion.

There are different triggers which can cause a work-related stress and if not dealt properly it can lead to a nurse burnout. Even though stress is an inevitable part of the work, be careful how it could affect your mental health and gradually worsen your overall condition.

Nurses have taken an oath to their patients to heal them, but they should not forget to take care and heal themselves as well.

Noticing nurse burnout

In order to take actions upon prevention and cure, the nurse needs to first see and understand the signs of burnout. Do you feel constantly exhausted and emotionally overextended recently? Or maybe you have noticed significant changes in your behaviour such as increased irritability? Yes, the nurse burnout can cause such mood swings and reduced sense of personal well-being. In combination with the effect it has on other parts of your daily lifestyle such as reduced energy and impaired decision-making, it can impact both your personal and professional life.

The concept of burnout consists of three main symptoms which you could develop in response to chronic work stress.

  • Low sense of  professional accomplishment

Do you feel that you are not competent enough and no longer successful at work? This could be a symptom of burnout. Feeling insufficient and lost at work could be a warning sign that you have started to experience so much stress that your body and mind are triggered to think you are not doing enough. 

  • Cynicism

Having a negative attitude towards colleagues and patients does mean that there is a deeper problem. What nurses show on the surface is a very small percentage from what they experience from the inside.

As a classic sign of burnout, being cynical and easily irritated could lead to many problems both at work and at home. This is why such symptoms should be monitored to find the core trigger and eventually cure the cause.

  • Exhaustion

Do you get emotionally exhausted from everything around you? Lack of energy and enthusiasm on a daily basis should not be underestimated as it can define your whole lifestyle. Some nurses could feel really drained from the stress that has added up in the workplace.

As a result some nurses may call in sick very often because they have no power to get up from the bed and start a normal day. 

nurse burnout


What causes those burnouts in nurses

The factors which could cause nurse burnouts are numerous. Nurse burnout could be seen in all stages in the nursing profession. New nurse burnout, ER nurse burnout or nurse manager burnout is also a problem. They all have increased levels of stress in their everyday lives in order to reach this point.

Nurses are particularly challenged now during the times of Covid-19 pandemic. Even before the pandemic studies are showing increased stress levels among nurses.

Shortage of staff which leads to work overload is believed to be the main reason for nurse burnout. Insufficient nursing staffing is a major problem in the UK. During the times of pandemic hospitals are putting a lot of effort to save the lives of the patients with all available human resources. This leads to overworking of the staff.

Nurses are taking more and longer shifts in order to cover the gap of missing nursing staff. Working even on the holidays, taking night shifts and not having enough sleep cause a lot of exhaustment among the nursing staff.

It all adds up and at a certain moment you mind and body cannot take the stress anymore. This is the moment when you experience a burnout.

Another factor could be the essence of the nursing job. Especially now during the pandemic there is an increased level of death cases because of the dangerous virus. Even though the nurses are giving their best in order to save lives the severity of the disease is high.

Sometimes it has a fatal end for the patient despite the efforts of the nurses and doctors. It is very important for the medical staff to know that they have done everything in order to save that life, however at the end it was out of their hands.

How to prevent burnouts?

Stress is inevitable part of nurses’ lives however they need to differentiate the healthy and motivating stress from the harmful stress. Evidence based practice on nursing burnout shows few ways of how it could be prevented.

  • Find your work-life balance

It is crucial for all nurses to set boundaries between work and personal life. Once you leave the hospital try to shift your focus from the work related problems and thoughts. You are not only a nurse but also a normal human being.

  • Get enough sleep

Setting up a proper sleeping schedule could be tricky for nurses as they work long hours and sometimes take on night shifts. However there are ways which could help such as adjusting the circadian clock, exercising at certain times and preparing a proper eating schedule.

View our blog which presents some survival tips for coping with the night shifts here: NURSES DURING NIGHT SHIFTS – HOW DO YOU COPE? SURVIVAL TIP
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  • Checking on your mental and physical health

When was the last time you asked yourself ‘’Am I really Okay?’’. It is crucial to understand when you reach your stress level maximum capacity. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle could be helpful. Contact a specialist is also an option and there is nothing wrong with that!  Here is the mental health helpline for nurses: 0300 131 7000

Dear nurses, we understand how stressful this year has been for all of you. We want you to be okay, both physically and mentally. Please do not ignore signs that show that you are overworked and overstressed. A possible burnout effect can be prevented by taking care of yourself, understanding and removing the triggers for the stress. 

nurse burnout

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