Friday, January 25, 2013

Before you burn out in nursing...

In this busy, sometimes stressful field of nursing, many of us will reach a point in our lives as students (or
nurses) where we burn out. If you are student nurse, oftentimes you have the difficult task of balancing
studying, exams, group assignments, presentations, work, family life, social life, and many other
things all at once. As a new graduate nurse, you may feel overwhelmed-- perhaps feeling unprepared,
overworked, and stretched by this amazing job where you are learning something new every day.
Experienced nurses may feel burned-out when they go to the same physically and mentally taxing job
every day, and perhaps feel undervalued and unrecognized for their hard work.

As nurses, in any stage of our careers, the very difficult job of being compassionate day in and day out
can sometimes take its toll on our bodies and spirits.

So what can be done to prevent this?

A great way for student nurses and new graduates to prevent burning out is to work with a mentor who
is perhaps further along in his or her school program, or has been on the unit at the hospital for a couple
of years. This mentor can play an amazing role in boosting your morale, providing tips gained from
personal experience, and offering advice from someone who has been through it already. Mentorship
programs are vital for hospitals to help retain their new graduate nurses, who often have a 1-2 year
burnout phase where many new nurses quit their first job or leave the profession altogether.

It is important for nurses at all stages of their careers to seek support from their colleagues. Our
classmates and coworkers in the nursing field are often the only ones who truly know how it feels to be
drained as a nurse--oftentimes physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Getting outside of school or work
to talk about honest issues is a great way to feel supported and understood.

Recognize that it is common for many people to reach that point where they feel like they “can’t do it
anymore” either in school or at work. It is important to differentiate whether these feelings mean that
a change needs to be made, or that you are just going through a rough spell and will soon get better.
Seek counseling from those around you who may be able to determine whether this as just a phase or

The most important thing to prevent burnout, in my opinion, is to be good to yourself. Taking a few
minutes out of your day to rest, meditate, or help heal yourself will save you time in the long run and
help prevent you from feeling despair. (You may want to try some of NurseZone’s health and wellness
tips to keep your stress levels under control.)

Have you ever felt truly burned-out at school or work? What things helped you get out of it?


Phyllis Grabot said...

Great advice, Cassie! For some great inspiration and to brighten your day, check out Barco’s Nightingales Foundation. They are dedicated to honoring the spirit of those women and men who choose nursing by focusing its philanthropic efforts on helping to mend the lives of children and their families. In addition, the Foundation is always looking for stories to share from nurses and student nurses across the country and throughout the world. We hope that by bringing their stories to life, more will join us in saluting their work and the work of all nurses, and that some may be inspired to embrace nursing as a profession. Please see our information on Facebook or message me for more information at We invite you to join us as we continue to celebrate nurses and the profession of nursing!

RN Jobs said...

I totally got burned out by all the politics and hiring quotas. I'm actually thankful I got laid off last year, it really gave me a chance to think about what I want out of my career.

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