08 Jan Caregiver Burnout x Latin Nurse Teresa
Do you sometimes feel torn up, mentally, spiritually and physically exhausted from a work shift? New grad or not, you will have moments where you will “check out”. I’m guilty myself of having some of these moments. So lately I’ve been practicing meditation. Why? Because I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and overworked. I think I get bit burned out, I’m almost sure of this. We will hit these walls during our nursing careers, guaranteed. The most important thing to do though is to be aware and learn how to handle it by taking control. This is important because the moment you lose control, you will feel anxiety, dread going into work, or even doubt the whole nursing thing entirely. So I decided to share some tips that have been helping me stay on track and in control. Enjoy!
How do you know you’re getting burned out? Here are some signs!
- Fatigue: Constantly feeling tired even after getting plenty of sleep and rest. Experiencing low energy levels more often than you’re accustomed, or simply having an extremely difficult time getting out of bed to get ready for work.
- Anxiety: Fear of going to work. That dreaded feeling of not wanting to go to work. This can include finding yourself calling into work sick frequently.
- Compassion Fatigue: Feeling less compassion for your patients. Compassion fatigue also known as “Secondary Traumatic stress” is a natural consequence of working with people who have experienced extremely stressful events. (Nurse Link, 2018). After being exposed to multiple patients and all of their stressors or grief, you as a nurse can take on all those stressors which may cause you to feel overwhelmed or exhausted.
- Trouble Sleeping and/or improper food consumption: Not being able to sleep or constantly waking during your sleep hours. This could be anxiety or sleep insomnia. You may find yourself not eating right, eating too much and sometimes not at all. This results in . Losing or gaining too much weight in a short time period.
- Constantly sick: Constantly fighting a cold that never seems to clear up or experiencing new health issues like high blood pressure. Stress can affect your body ability to fight off physical threats.
5 Ways to prevent Caregiver Burnout
- Stop and Take a break: If your feeling all these symptoms it may be best to take some time off from work to regroup. If you have vacation or sick time please use it, and take a vacation or spend some family or self-care time.
- Create a personal stress reducer strategy for work: Breathing exercises. Count to 10 while taking deep breaths when you start to feel anxious at work. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed during your shifts, take FULL advantage of your 15-minute breaks. Take a few minutes to go outside and get some fresh air. If you need to be active, go on a short 10 minute walk, or perhaps try walking up and down a few flights of stairs. You can also find a quiet break room to help you clear your head and regroup.
- Set some realistic and reasonable expectations for your work performance. Set priorities and goals each day and don’t forget to ask for help when needed. Do only what’s in your scope of practice and delegate tasks as necessary. Try doing things with a teamwork approach. If you are caring for a difficult patient requiring more time and care, ask another nurse to help and be sure that you create a two way street. Let your coworkers know that you will be available for them when they are experiencing a similar situation. You can also watch Nurse Mo’s advice video on how to deal with difficult people at work for more ideas.
- Exercise and Eat right: Exercise helps reduce anxiety and depression. Exercise also helps you to relieve stress while putting you work on hold. Eat healthy! This will give you energy and reduce weight gain or other health complications like high blood pressure that can be induced by stress.
- Transition into a different nursing job, role or specialty. Maybe it’s time to opt out and seek a new nursing role or go into a different specialty, or even different facility or unit. I’m a travel nurse and it helps me to avoid burnout. I am often moving to a new city or facility. It changes the environment and allows you to meet new people and get a fresh perspective. Get out there and explore your limitless options as a nurse.
If you’re experiencing any of the burnout symptoms, please remember to stop and take a break or seek professional help to avoid feeling powerless.
xLatin Nurse Teresa