How to Combat Nurse Burnout

We hear a great deal about how physician burnout is a growing concern for the healthcare industry, and it’s not surprising that burnout is also affecting nurse practitioners. To combat this problem, it’s essential to first identify what’s causing the burnout. Nurses have reported these concerns:

  • Long shifts and excessive workload
  • Too much technology
  • Cumbersome processes
  • Not being able to take a lunch or dinner break
  • Not being able to take any breaks
  • Not being able to get enough sleep between shifts

Addressing burnout among healthcare practitioners isn’t a quick fix. As medical recruiters, we care about our providers, so we’re continually exploring ways to help them stay passionate and engaged in their work. Recently, we talked with some of our NPs about their experiences with burnout and ways to overcome it. Here we share ideas that nurse practitioners can put to use to bring joy back to the practice of medicine.

Make healthy lifestyle choices

Nurses know full well the lifestyle habits that support overall well-being, so take a dose of your own medicine. Maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get an adequate amount of sleep.

Get to know your stressors

If you have a fast-paced career in nursing, you might deal with stress so routinely that you don’t even recognize it as stress. Start paying attention to your moods, recognize when you’re experiencing anxiety, and understand what triggers it. This is the first step toward stress intervention.

Build resiliency

Your mental state of mind is just as important as physical health in terms of coping with stress. Nurses report that finding “downtime” each day helps them reduce stress, better cope with challenges at work, and improve their job satisfaction. What does downtime look like? For some, it could be a yoga or meditation class. Others find it relaxing to read a book or take a walk outdoors. Removing distractions (including electronic devices!) and calming the mind is a way to build resiliency against stress that is an inevitable part of life.

Reframe your thinking

Research shows that our thoughts and feelings have a direct impact on our reality. As humans, we often fixate on the things that annoy us or worry about potential outcomes that haven’t even happened yet. However, if you begin to acknowledge what you can and cannot control in your job, you’re better able to take situations in stride and adopt a more positive outlook.

Remember why you chose nursing

Many nurse practitioners chose the profession because of their desire to help others. Take time to re-visit your initial motivation to become a nurse. Are there still aspects of your job that bring you joy and fulfillment? How can you work with your employer to amplify the experiences that are most gratifying?

Take a leadership role

If you find yourself in a workplace with low morale and dispassionate co-workers, envision a better way. Are there ideas you can take to management that would improve workflow, patient interaction, patient care and, ultimately, the overall work culture? Perhaps there’s a role for you to help drive positive change within your practice or clinic.

Make a job move

In some cases, it takes a job transition to find satisfaction in your nursing career. Based on your skills and personality, what type of medical environment is the best fit? If you want more flexible hours, a locum tenens position might offer the perfect solution. Consider a nursing job in a smaller community if you wish to build closer relationships with your patients. Get clear on what criteria matter most to you, and approach your job search with open eyes.

The role of nurses in healthcare has always been important, but as the physician shortage looms, nurse practitioners are playing an even bigger role in providing primary care for the nation’s patient population. Nursing is not an easy job, and there will always be stressful situations. But if you land a position that’s right for you, take care of your own health and well-being, and maintain a positive outlook, you’ll find the job satisfaction you’re seeking.

Let us know if we can help!

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