Clinical Connection: Preventing and Managing Nurse Burnout

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Welcome to the second episode of our newly relaunched Clinical Connection series. In episode two, we dig into the important topic of preventing and managing nurse burnout.

Check out episode two, let us know what you think in the comments, and be sure to chime in with any ideas for clinical-related topics or issues you’d like us to cover in the future!

Video Transcript:

Hi, welcome back to the second episode of Medical Solutions’ Clinical Connection. I’m Betsy Martin, one of the Clinical Nurse Managers with Medical Solutions, and today we wanted to talk about how to handle nurse burnout.

So, nurse burnout has been an issue for a long time, but it’s even more pronounced now with the pandemic. So, nurses who are at higher risk for nurse burnout are a lot of the nurses who are working in the units that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. So, obviously those who work in dedicated COVID units, ICUs, ERs … so these are areas where nurses are working with higher patient ratios, they’re seeing a higher incidence of codes, and even deaths, and all of that can really wear on you. Also, nurses who are working overtime, who are working consecutive shifts in a row, maybe nurses who don’t have a really good support system — maybe they live alone or maybe they’re a single parent or have other personal stressors going in their life. All of that can contribute to nurse burnout.

So, how do you know if you’re experiencing nurse burnout? Well, nurse burnout has a lot of the same symptoms as depression. So, that could include a lack of motivation, feeling detached or disengaged, feeling like what you’re doing isn’t making a difference. Maybe you feel more agitated, more irritable. You may not have the same level of sympathy or patience that you once had before. Maybe you don’t enjoy doing things you used to enjoy. And it can even manifest itself in physical illness. If you’re experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety, that can really weigh on your immune system and that could cause things like insomnia or of any other kind of general physical illness.

So, how can you prevent or manage nurse burnout? I think one of the most important things you can do is making sure that you’re connected with others, and that includes being connected with other nurses because they know exactly what you’re going through. It also includes being connected with those outside of nursing, so, like family and friends. It’s really good to have that balance and have those different types of people to reach out to.

Also make sure that you are really focusing on self-care. So, physical self-care, meaning eating a healthy diet, exercising, getting enough sleep. Also, mental self-care can include making sure that you’re really making the most of your days off. If you have activities or hobbies that you enjoy doing it’s important to be engaged with those, just to have that mental break from nursing.

Also with nursing, I think one of the best things is there so many different areas you can go into with nursing, so maybe you want to consider changing into a different specialty area. Maybe you are working inpatient and you want to move to a clinic setting or something like that, and really with travel nursing a big advantage is being able to change locations, cities, environments every 13 weeks, and that can keep you really engaged and keep you really motivated to continue your career.

So, if you feel like you’re experiencing nurse burnout right now it’s important to reach out — and that includes reaching out to us and Medical Solutions. You can talk to your recruiter. We also have over 20 nurses on our Clinical Nurse Manager team and we could offer you support as well. Medical Solutions offers an employee assistance program where you can get free therapy sessions. Just know that there are resources and support available for you.

If you’ve experienced nurse burnout yourself, feel free to comment below and share your experiences and tips. You might also want to share this video with others if you think it’d be a helpful resource for them. Thanks a lot for joining us and we’ll see you next time on Medical Solutions Clinical Connection.

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