Dr. Feyi

10 Steps Hospitals Can Take to Help Overly Stressed Nurses

Did you know that around 75% of nurses feel stressed on a regular basis and that one in five of their sick days is related to mental health issues? If you’d like to reduce the number of stressed nurses in your institution and prevent nurse burnout, now is the time to act. You can start by making important information, such as the symptoms of burnout and the best coping strategies, freely available throughout your hospital. 

Additionally, you might need to evaluate your operations to prevent inefficiencies, make sure that the work environment is pleasant, and check in with all employees on a regular basis. A motivational speaker who has first-hand experience with nursing, such as Dr. Feyi, could help you to get on the right track and kick-start your mental health awareness program.

10 Steps Hospitals Can Take to Help Overly Stressed Nurses

1. Teach Staff to Recognize Nurse Burnout Before It Happens 

Ignoring the warning signs of burnout can be fatal because the condition becomes more serious the longer it isn’t treated. For this reason, it’s essential that nurses are educated about the early warning signs. Some of them include a loss of enthusiasm for work and other previously enjoyable activities, constant fatigue, worry and anxiety, sleep problems, irritability, and mood swings.

By providing all staff with information about burnout and other mental health issues, hospitals can make sure that the symptoms don’t go unrecognized. Once a nurse knows that they are close to burning out, they can take proactive steps to remedy the situation, for example by practicing self-care, choosing a different specialty, or speaking to a therapist.

2. Make Information about Coping Strategies Available 

Simply recognizing the symptoms of burnout isn’t enough. Hospitals also have to be proactive about helping nurses and other employees cope with their fatigue. Holding a workshop and making material available about various coping strategies can be an important follow-up step. Because there are many different options and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, nurses should be encouraged to try different things. 

For example, some people will feel better if they share their problems with friends, family members, or even a therapist, while others prefer spending time alone to re-charge. Some common ways of dealing with symptoms include meditating, practicing mindfulness, doing gentle or moderate exercise, and carving out some time for a favorite hobby or relaxing activity.

3. Evaluate the Efficiency of All Systems 

Most hospitals are hopelessly overloaded and understaffed, so it’s hard to protect the mental health of employees. However, it’s likely that your system has some inefficiencies, which you can remove to take pressure off your workers. If you have noticed that a growing number of nurses are burning out, ask a nursing mentor or a business consultant to evaluate your hospital. 

Most nurses and doctors believe that a lot of time gets wasted doing paperwork and documentation, so this could be a great place to start. You might be able to increase your efficiency by using technological solutions, such as health service software, which can automate many processes. Good software will allow you to create a schedule more quickly, take notes in one centralized location, and share patient information more easily. 

4. Check the Working Environment 

While nurses often feel pressure due to difficult interactions with patients or the sheer amount of work they have to do, the problem is sometimes related to the work environment. If employees are not getting along well or if someone is putting undue pressure on others, stress can be multiplied. Because nurses already operate in a high-pressure environment, trouble among colleagues can be detrimental. 

To prevent burnout and other mental health issues, don’t ignore issues with the work environment, and always address problems when they arise between two team members. Sometimes, mixing up teams can work wonders for the atmosphere within your hospital. It’s also important for the executives and high-level employees to model good behavior, since the work environment is determined to a great degree by those people. 

5. Encourage Workers to Check In Regularly 

Countless studies have shown that human interactions are crucial for people’s wellbeing. If stressed nurses who are struggling with the symptoms of burnout or other mental health issues don’t feel supported by their institution, it’s much harder for them to deal with their issue. For this reason, it’s important for hospitals to check in with each employee on a regular basis.

You can also encourage your staff to speak to people they are close to or to seek out professional help. A partnership with a mental health professional could be very fruitful. For example, you could seek out a few high-quality therapists in your area and ask them to partner with you. In exchange for referring your staff to them, they will charge everyone in your institution a lower rate. If there is any flexibility in your budget, you could even take on a part of the cost.

6. Hire More Staff Whenever Feasible 

A big reason why nurse burnout is such a problem is understaffing. Most hospitals simply don’t have the money or the staff to provide healthy working conditions. This is a difficult situation for everyone because there is no easy solution. If you give your current employees more time off, you’re sacrificing the health of your patients, but if you ask team members to work more, they might quit, and you’ll have an even greater problem. 

Although it might be difficult, make an effort to hire more staff whenever possible. If there is a lot of competition for nurses in your area, think about how you can make your work environment more attractive than other institutions around you. Implementing a solid mental health program, valuing all team members, and offering good benefits packages could put you ahead of the competition. 

7. Take Complaints Seriously 

A big reason why many nurses don’t feel valued at work is because they don’t believe they are taken seriously or because they feel undermined by doctors and other team members. Always take complaints about working conditions seriously. Instead of telling people to work things out between themselves or to find a solution on their own, communicate with them and try to figure out what is causing the issue. 

Create an environment that encourages people to speak to you or your HR department about problems they are encountering. The issues could be anything, from long working hours to issues with patients to personal health concerns or financial pressure. The more you know about which aspects of a nurse’s job are causing problems, the better you will be able to come up with solutions. 

8. Come Up with Creative Solutions 

In an effort to reduce stress in nursing, many hospitals have come up with creative solutions designed to improve working conditions. For example, some have set up a staff break room that allows people to relax and feel at home before, after, and even during their shifts. Having a place to sit down and recharge, even if it’s just for a few moments, can make a huge difference. 

Another interesting concept is the use of pets, for instance, emotional support dogs, in healthcare facilities. Some hospitals have introduced visits from such animals, which can provide comfort and support to healthcare professionals who are dealing with difficult situations at work.

9. Bring Wellness to Work 

Certain facilities have gone even further and started providing wellness opportunities at work. During break times, before a shift, or after a shift, employees can either practice meditation or take part in workshops led by professionals like yoga instructors or movement therapists.

Hiring nutritionists or dietitians to work with nurses can also be very effective because nutrition has a huge effect on people’s wellbeing. A good nutritionist can teach your staff how to prepare healthy meals and snacks quickly so people don’t have to worry about spending too much time in the kitchen but can still enjoy the health benefits of good, regular meals. 

10. Put On an Awareness Event at the Hospital 

If you don’t have the time or financial resources to organize regular wellness classes or courses, why not start with a one-off event with a motivational speaker? A person like Dr. Feyi, who has first-hand experience with the stress that is placed on nurses, can help your team to understand how to recognize and fight mental health issues like burnout, depression, and anxiety.

The motivational coach will answer all your team members’ questions, and they can teach new coping strategies. What’s more, they will help your team to reconnect with the reason why they decided to become nurses in the first place: to help others and provide care to people in difficult situations.

Nurse burnout is a serious problem that affects millions of people around the country. To reduce the number of stressed nurses in your institution, take proactive steps. Provide information, support, and guidance to everyone working in your hospital. If you need help, you can reach out to a nurse coach, who will discuss your situation with you and put on an event for your staff. Call Dr. Feyi at Waisted RN now to book your slot or find out more.

9 Keys to Managing Nurse Stress in the Early Stages

Most people go into nursing because they are enthusiastic about helping others and they have a passion for the job. Unfortunately, they soon find out that this profession is extremely taxing because it often includes long shifts, challenging patients, and difficult relationships with coworkers. Nurse burnout is a significant risk that could put an end to your career. That’s why learning nurse stress management techniques early on is crucial.

So, how can you keep stress at bay even if your job is challenging? To stay healthy, it’s best to employ a range of techniques, including eating a healthy diet, exercising, pursuing outside hobbies, speaking to trusted colleagues and friends, getting enough sleep, and using relaxation techniques. Nurses on the brink of burnout could also consider lower-stress positions, at least temporarily.

Nurse Stress Management: 9 Keys to Managing Stress and Nurse Burnout in the Early Stages

1. Pay Attention to Your Diet 

When you have to juggle long shifts with your personal commitments and your need for sleep, cooking a healthy meal might be out of the question. Instead, you’re likely to reach for sugary snacks and caffeine to keep you going. But while this might feel good at the moment, it isn’t a long-term solution, and your body will feel even more burned out over time. Additionally, you’re putting yourself at risk of many diseases, including heart problems and diabetes. 

Luckily, there are many ways of eating a healthy diet without having to spend hours in the kitchen each day. Some nurses plan and cook their meals ahead of time, for example, once a week. That way, they can simply take a ready-made portion out of the freezer whenever needed. Since the Coronavirus pandemic, getting groceries delivered is much easier, so nurses who don’t have a lot of time can skip the trip to the supermarket.

2. Get as Much Sleep as Possible 

Getting enough sleep can be a huge challenge. Shifts are often longer than they should be, and the switch between nighttime and daytime work can cause problems with the body’s circadian rhythm. Despite this, there are several things nurses can do to improve the quality of their sleep. Start by preparing an optimal environment that is dark, quiet, and not too warm. 

You can also come up with a bedtime ritual, which calms your body down and gets you in the right mindset for sleep. Some good activities include reading, having some tea or a light snack, listening to calming music, stretching, or practicing meditation. Leave your devices alone for at least an hour before bedtime because the blue light can restrict your melatonin production.

3. Move Your Body 

People struggling with the symptoms of high stress and burnout might start to feel sluggish. After a long day at work, you won’t want to do heavy exercise. Instead, you’d rather lounge in front of the TV, watch your favorite show, and eat some snacks. While relaxing with enjoyable activities is important and can be beneficial for mental health, don’t forget to move your body every day. 

This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours exercising or lift heavy weights at the gym. A short run, cycle, or swim can be enough to get your muscles moving and release endorphins. If you don’t have a lot of time, consider incorporating exercise in your everyday life. Walk all the way or part of the way to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator, cycle to the supermarket, or meet your friends for a stroll in the park instead of for a sit-down meal.

4. Speak to Trusted Friends or Counselors 

A big part of nurse stress management is speaking about your problems and having your feelings understood by other people. Don’t hold it all in because this will just make the problem worse. Instead, speak to family members or friends who are likely to understand your situation and might even be able to lighten your load, for example by taking care of some of your household chores. 

If you don’t have anyone to talk to or you are concerned about nurse burnout, consider speaking to a counselor who has experience with this problem. They can help you articulate and figure out your feelings so you can come up with a solution that fits your lifestyle and goals. In addition to helping you implement the tips in this article, a good counselor will consider your individual situation and help you access resources in your community.

5. Pursue Hobbies Outside of Work 

When you first start nursing, you might be tempted to spend all your time and energy on work. After all, helping patients is what you’ve been trained to do, and it is your passion. But over time, you’re likely to start experiencing compassion fatigue and burnout if you don’t live a balanced lifestyle. For this reason, most experts advise nurses to develop hobbies and interests outside of work, which can take their minds off the job after a stressful day. 

Some great activities include painting and other types of crafts, attending an exercise or meditation class, gardening, cooking or trying new healthy foods at restaurants, and spending time with animals, either through volunteering or by getting a pet. There are countless options out there, some of which might be unique to your area. Why not explore a few things to find out what you enjoy the most?

6. Leave the Gadget at Home 

In the last few decades, mobile phones, tablets, and other gadgets have taken over our lives. Because we carry our phones wherever we go, we can be contacted by our friends as well as our coworkers all day and night. This isn’t healthy for our mental health, and it can make it hard for us to relax, even on our days off. 

To give yourself a break, consider building gadget-free times into your day. Don’t take your phone with you when you exercise, spend time with friends, or pursue your hobbies, and turn it off several hours before you go to bed. That way, you can spend quality time with your loved ones or indulge in your self-care routine without having to worry about receiving notifications or answering text messages.

7. Speak to Superiors and Peers 

Sometimes, nurses experience burnout due to reasons outside of anyone’s control. For instance, you might feel stressed and fatigued because you’re dealing with particularly challenging patients, you’ve experienced a lot of traumatic situations, or your body is having trouble adjusting to night shifts. However, stressful situations are sometimes caused by superiors and peers. 

Nurses often feel that doctors don’t listen to them or don’t treat them with respect. If the atmosphere is negative in your workplace, consider speaking to your superiors about the problem. They might be able to organize a motivational speech or a training course that can improve the situation, or they could transfer you to a different department.

8. Use Deep Breathing or Meditation Techniques 

For millennia, humans have used breathing techniques to improve their mental health. Nurses who work long shifts and experience a lot of stress are often stuck in fight-or-flight mode because their bodies can no longer calm themselves down. There are many techniques, including belly breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, the 4-7-8 technique, and equal-time breathing, all of which can help.

Similarly, meditation can be a great technique for people who would like to clear their minds and calm their bodies. Again, there are many methods to choose from, including guided meditation, Tai Chi, and Yoga. You can experiment with different techniques by buying books, downloading apps, or attending in-person courses in your area. While it might take some trial and error, most people find a breathing or meditation style that works for them.

9. Switch Jobs If Necessary 

Not all nursing jobs are equally stressful. If you believe that you are about to burn out, consider switching to a different position for the time being. There are many options, and the one that suits you best depends on the reason why you are feeling stressed. If the long night shifts are causing you problems, consider working for a doctor’s office or a school instead of a hospital, since you’ll have set hours and no nighttime work. 
On the other hand, nurses who are struggling with patient-facing work could consider a role in administration or, if they have been working for a long time, in nurse education. Some other roles could include home health nurse, public health nurse, occupational health nurse, and clinic nurse. A good way to find out more about low-stress jobs is to speak to a counselor or motivational speaker who has experience working with nurses that are feeling burned out. 

Nurse burnout is a common problem, affecting up to 95% of nurses at some point in their careers. Taking good care of your body and mind is an important first step, but it might not be enough. Additionally, you will have to speak about your experiences, discuss your situation with your employer, or even change to a less stressful position. Contact Dr. Feyi at WaistedRN to find out more about nurse stress management or to book a motivational speech. 

10 Tips for Finding Low-Stress Nursing Jobs

Stress in nursing is one of the biggest issues in the healthcare industry. Although many people who start to work in this profession feel passionate about nursing, they might soon feel overwhelmed due to the many demands placed on them. Luckily, there are a wide variety of positions available, and a good nurse coach can help you find low-stress nursing jobs so you can keep doing the work you feel passionate about without burning out.

To get started, you’ll have to determine what factors are causing you to feel stressed about your job. For example, it might be the time pressure, the many administrative tasks, or the attitude of your coworkers. Then, you can speak to others who have less overwhelming jobs in the nursing industry. The more insight you have into how to find a low-stress position, the better your chances of finding your perfect nursing job.

10 Tips for Finding Low-Stress Nursing Jobs

1. Talk to a Nurse Coach 

Nursing is an extremely challenging profession, and almost everyone who goes down this path needs some support. If you’re a new nurse or you’ve been feeling burned out lately, the best thing you can do is ask for a consultation with someone who has the necessary experience and insight to help you figure out your next steps. 

Dr. Feyi is not only an experienced nurse, motivational speaker, and consultant, but she also has a Ph.D. in Nursing Research. With this background, she understands the demands placed on nurses every day, and she can help you figure out what conditions you need to thrive. She focuses on the external elements such as your environment, but she also helps you work on your confidence levels and self-love, which are essential tools for success in nursing.

2. Consider What Factors Cause Stress 

There are various reasons why nurses might feel stressed. One of the most common issues is the fact that there is too much to do in too little time, so nurses often have to take on long shifts and sacrifice their social life. Some additional stressors might include an irregular schedule which includes night shifts and emotionally challenging work with patients and families under stress.

In some cases, the attitude of coworkers and superiors can add to the stress nurses experience. If there isn’t enough support from peers, you might dread going to work, and you might worry about your performance even when you’re not on the job. Additionally, some nurses are stressed by the mountains of paperwork they have to complete. Before you can find your dream job, you have to determine which of these elements is causing you the most stress.

3. Speak to Others in the Field 

Once you’ve identified what the core problem is, you can think about what kinds of nursing jobs could be suitable for you. For instance, people who have trouble with night shifts could work at a doctor’s office, where there are set hours, or they could find a job in a school. Similarly, people who have difficulties with their coworkers could start working independently, either at patients’ homes or as consultants. 

Come up with a list of nursing jobs that could suit you. Then, try to find people who work in these positions and speak to them about their experiences. How did they get their job? What has it been like? Are there any disadvantages you might not have thought of? Asking the nurses all these questions can help you determine whether your expectations are realistic and whether you’d like to find a similar position.

4. Become a Long-Term Care Nurse 

Working in a hospital can be extremely stressful because you have to work with a constantly changing set of patients. In contrast, a long-term care nurse deals with the same people all the time. This professional often works in a nursing home or similar facility, where patients live full-time. They might conduct regular check-ins, administer medication, and make sure that patients are comfortable throughout the day. 

Not every long-term care position is relaxed, especially because the patient-to-nurse ratio can be high due to understaffing. However, some nurses prefer this kind of work because they can build up long-term relationships with their patients. If you have trouble dealing with the high number of new patients at a hospital, you might enjoy this type of work.

5. Apply for a Job in a School or Camp 

Your nurse coach might recommend getting a job at a school or in a camp if you enjoy working with children. Many educational institutions hire a nurse to take care of the children’s medical needs throughout the day. The job is often quite relaxed because the children in question are usually healthy, so they often only need first aid care when they fall or get injured. However, some children might also need to have allergy medication administered. 

Working in a school can be a great option for people looking for low-stress nursing jobs because the hours are regular. You’ll only ever work Monday to Friday, and you’ll be able to go home at a reasonable hour. If you accept a job at a camp, you might have to sleep there, so this isn’t ideal for nurses who have young children or those who don’t want to travel for work.

6. Search for Positions at a Doctor’s Office 

Another good option for people who would like regular hours is a nursing position at a doctor’s office. Unlike hospitals, where patients have to be taken care of day and night, most doctor’s offices are only open throughout the day, and they might even be closed on Sundays. Additionally, appointments are generally scheduled ahead of time, so you’ll always know what’s coming next, and there will be few surprises. 

This can be relaxing for someone who struggles with the unpredictable nature of hospital work. Nurses working at a clinic generally have to answer phone calls to determine whether patients need an appointment, draw blood, administer medication, and educate patients on various health-related topics.

7. Train to Become a Telehealth Nurse 

If you want to be location-independent, you should consider completing further training and getting a job in telehealth. This is a growing field of medicine that involves diagnosing and treating patients over the phone or via video consultation. Because almost everyone has a device that allows for these kinds of interactions now, more and more nurses are needed to field calls.

Telehealth professionals often have to deal with a high number of patients every day, but most people who call in have minor health concerns, which is why this job is less stressful than some other options. As a telehealth nurse, you might give patients advice about common health conditions, monitor patients with ongoing concerns, and communicate with in-person physicians when necessary.

8. Become a Lactation Consultant 

Compassion fatigue is a serious problem in nursing. It happens when healthcare professionals are exposed to traumatic situations on a regular basis until they are no longer able to feel a high level of compassion for their patients. If you’re worried about experiencing this issue or you have trouble handling challenging situations in a hospital, you should consider changing to a niche field like lactation consulting.

A nurse who specializes in lactation helps new mothers with issues such as latching problems or pain while breastfeeding. This can be a very rewarding job for those who love to accompany young families entering a new stage in their lives.

9. Become a Nurse Administrator 

Do you feel that patient care is overwhelming you? Would you like to keep working in a healthcare setting but without direct contact with patients every day? If so, you should consider becoming a nurse administrator. This job involves planning and coordinating care and directing health services. Some administrators who work in large organizations might also have to organize nurse training sessions and meet with other healthcare administrators. 

Whether this job is stressful depends on what kinds of tasks you enjoy doing and why you chose nursing in the first place. If you love working with patients, this won’t be a good fit. However, if you find administrative tasks engaging and don’t mind paperwork, this could be a lower-stress option for you.

10. Work In Education 

People who have been nurses for a long time have a wealth of knowledge and experience to pass on. Becoming an educator or a motivational speaker could be a great career path for nurses who have served their communities for several decades. 
If you’re interested in sharing your passion for nursing and showing others how to do well in this job, you should consider working in education. Many educators work part-time or in a self-employed capacity, so they can set their own hours and enjoy a more relaxed work week. 

A high percentage of nurses feel burned out after only a few years on the job, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the help of a nurse coach like Dr. Feyi, students and nurses can figure out why they are feeling stressed and then look for a job that better suits their needs. Get in touch with WaistedRN to book a consultation with Dr. Feyi or to book her as a motivational speaker at your institution.

The Top 10 Causes of Stress in Nursing

In the US, there is a serious nursing shortage that is likely to get worse over time. In fact, experts estimate that there will be a shortfall of hundreds of thousands of nurses by 2030. Unfortunately, part of the problem is that the profession can be extremely taxing. Stress in nursing is a common problem, which is why many organizations could benefit from the services of a nurse coach.

Dr. Feyi can explain to doctors and administrators why so many nurses are feeling stressed. She can go over common workplace issues such as work overload, time pressure, a lack of support from colleagues, discrimination, unclear role descriptions, and a lack of career opportunities. Then, she can suggest solutions that improve nurses’ working conditions and reduce the risk of nurse burnout.

The Top 10 Causes of Stress in Nursing a Nurse Coach Can Help With

1. Work Overload

The nursing shortage is a vicious cycle. The fewer nurses there are, the more work there is for the ones that remain. Over time, this excessive workload puts pressure on the nurses, and they burn out or quit to find a more relaxed position. This, in turn, reduces the number of nurses there is, and the pressure increases further.

Although this is an institutional problem, each nurse can make sure they are optimally prepared for their long working days. Dr. Feyi can help individuals figure out whether they are taking good care of themselves, for example by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, pursuing hobbies outside of work, and speaking to friends, family members, or counselors about their feelings and challenges.

2. Time Pressure

Another issue is that nursing is often associated with time pressure. Because there are so many tasks, they have to be completed quickly. What’s more, nurses who work in emergency rooms or intensive care units must work at top speed to help save the lives of their patients. Over time, this can wear them down and lead to stress, anxiety, and burnout.

To prevent such issues, many hospitals and other medical institutions allow nurses to change their departments every few months. However, some nurses specialize in a certain kind of medicine, so they spend most of their time in the same department. Anyone working in a high-stress job that requires a lot of speed should practice meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises. What’s more, selecting calm and quiet hobbies could provide some balance.

3. Pressure and a Lack of Support from Colleagues

While stressful situations and work overload can lead to problems, they aren’t usually enough to cause burnout or prompt nurses to change their field. However, these issues are often made worse by a negative work environment. Sometimes, superiors such as doctors and administrators aren’t supportive of nurses. They might be too demanding, unfriendly, dismissive, or even abusive.

Bullying in healthcare is a serious problem, and it should be addressed at an institutional level. Staff should be allowed access to resources and mentors who can help improve the atmosphere. If there is a problem between two employees, they should receive support in the form of mediation or counseling. The more supportive the work environment, the more likely it is that nurses will stay long-term.

4. Frequent Illness

It goes without saying that nursing is a dangerous profession. While this has been highlighted during the recent pandemic, medical professionals have always known that they are at high risk of contracting infectious diseases. This can be a serious issue because nurses might need to either take a lot of time off or keep working when they are not feeling their best.

In recent years, medical professionals have had to work while wearing a large amount of personal protective equipment to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. While this has prevented disease, it has made the work harder and more uncomfortable. The added stress of having to source and wear PPE has made life even more difficult for nurses.

5. Violence, Threats, or Discrimination

In some hospitals, there are still problems with discrimination. Nurses who belong to a minority due to their race, country of origin, or sexual orientation might face negative comments or threats from their peers and superiors. Fortunately, this is becoming less common, and many medical institutions have started to take steps to be more inclusive in the last few years.

An added issue is violence from patients. People who are ill or injured often have much less self-control than those who are well, so they might insult or even physically harm nurses. While such behavior is unacceptable and can be prosecuted, it still occurs on a regular basis, and it is a real threat for medical professionals. It is estimated that one out of every four nurses has been assaulted on the job.

6. An Unclear Role

The exact tasks associated with a nurse’s job aren’t always clear. For example, one doctor might tell the nurse to perform a job during their shift, and the next doctor might tell them off for it. This can cause confusion, frustration, and increased stress in nursing. Over time, an unclear role can reduce the nurse’s motivation and enthusiasm for their job.

Fortunately, this issue is easy to resolve as long as everyone works together. Hospitals or other medical facilities should develop very clear guidelines regarding each employee’s role and ask everyone to stick to them. Sometimes, asking for help from a nurse coach or mentor could be a good idea. This professional can guide decision-makers through the process and make sure the tasks expected of the nursing staff are realistic.

7. Dealing with Difficult Situations

Every aspiring nurse knows that they will face challenging situations as part of their work, but it’s hard to adequately prepare for seeing the many issues people face. This is a particular problem for nurses working in emergency rooms, intensive care units, and pediatric units, since these are typically the departments with the most challenging cases. Although difficult and tragic situations are normal in a hospital, they can still impact nurses emotionally.

Over time, medical professionals often experience compassion fatigue, which is an indifference towards people who are suffering. This can reduce the nurse’s motivation and their ability to treat patients optimally. Setting boundaries, practicing self-care, surrounding yourself with positive people, and creating balance in your life are great ways of reducing the impact of difficult situations.

8. Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is one of the most important processes in our bodies because it removes toxins from our brains and allows us to process the events of the day. It affects nearly all our functions, including our ability to develop immunity and fight disease, our cognition, our metabolism, and our ability to function physically. A good amount of sleep also reduces our risk of contracting countless chronic diseases.

Unfortunately, the long shifts and nighttime work associated with the profession often prevent nurses from getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep. This affects stress levels and ability to function. Getting enough sleep should be a priority for all healthcare workers because it allows them to do a better job and significantly reduces the risk of burnout.

9. A Lack of Career Opportunities

While the starting salary is sometimes low, nurses can earn a good amount of money over time. However, there is often a plateau beyond which career progression is difficult. This lack of progression can make medical professionals feel frustrated and lead to a higher rate of job switching or quitting. Ensuring equal opportunity for everyone should be a priority for hospitals or medical facilities. A simple solution is to allow people from all ethnicities and backgrounds to provide input when making high-level decisions and selecting new people for leadership roles.

10. A Lack of Trained Colleagues

As discussed, there is a serious nursing shortage in the US. As a result, some people who are underqualified or not suitable for the job are employed. What’s more, not all new nurses are trained well because there is very little time to spend on education within hospitals. This puts additional pressure on the other nurses because they have to either educate the new arrivals or complete the tasks the more junior employees are incapable of performing.

Although there is no simple solution for hospitals suffering from understaffing, there are several options. In some facilities, doctors have taken on roles that were traditionally reserved for nurses. Other institutions have started making use of technological solutions to automate certain processes, allowing employees to focus on their jobs instead of having to deal with paperwork.

Stress in nursing is extremely common. Some of the reasons include an unsupportive work environment, a high workload, time pressure, discrimination, sleep deprivation, and a lack of career opportunities. Get in touch with WaistedRN today to find out more about Dr. Feyi’s mentoring program and motivational keynote speaking availability. As an experienced nurse coach, she can help hospitals and other medical institutions find ways to engage and retain their nurses.

How Stress In the Workplace Affects Nurses

Every workplace produces some amount of stress. However, research from occupational studies suggests nurses have one of the most stressful jobs in America. With such a stressful occupation, it is essential for nurses to learn strategies for managing nurse stress in the workplace.

How Stress In the Workplace Affects Nurses

A nurse who experiences stress in the workplace can be a serious cause for concern. For example, a nurse who is overwhelmed by stress may not be able to respond properly to patient needs, which could endanger the health of a patient. Nurses who are continually stressed may also have slower reflexes, unclear thinking, and difficulty coping with new stress in other areas of their life.

Physical Health

The physical symptoms of stress can often be disruptive. For example, a nurse may experience appetite loss, headaches, body aches, and other physical strains that can cause chronic pain.

The physical health of a nurse is essential, particularly because nurses spend a great deal of time on their feet and must have a healthy musculoskeletal system to promptly care for patients. Physical symptoms of stress, including minor injuries, can make it difficult for a nurse to perform their job.

Mental Health

The mental health symptoms of stress can include irritability, anger, anxiety, and depression. Often, nurses will experience burnout as well, which presents similar symptoms to depression. For example, lack of interest, fatigue, and social isolation can all be symptoms of nurse burnout and depression.

A nurse who is struggling with mental health may not be able to provide comfort to patients. Because nurses serve as the bridge between physician and patient, it’s important that nurses can maintain a calm and soothing presence. However, when a nurse is experiencing symptoms of stress, the nurse’s mental health symptoms can make it difficult to provide a comforting bedside manner.

Is Stress Why Some Nurses Leave Healthcare?

It’s not uncommon for some nurses to leave the healthcare field entirely because of stress and symptoms of nurse burnout. Nurses who have been working for several years may become frustrated by constant stress, or may even struggle with physical and mental symptoms of stress enough that leaving nursing is the best for their health.

However, because many nurses are so passionate about health care, it can be devastating to make the decision to leave the healthcare industry. When nursing is your calling, it can be heartbreaking to confront the fact that stress burnout has stolen your passion for your work.

Nurse Stress In Relation to COVID-19

Over the last two years, nurses have experienced a higher percentage of stress in relation to the COVID-19 virus. Not only are nurses concerned about contracting the virus themselves and spreading it to their families, but the sheer patient load from hospitalization has also made it difficult to cope in the workplace. Many nurses and other healthcare workers have left the healthcare field due to COVID-19-related stress.

Why Situational Coping May Not Always Be Effective

For many nurses, situational coping is the most realistic method of handling stress. Situational coping is essentially a way for an individual to adopt a coping response to meet the demands of a specific situation.

For many nurses, the instinctive situational coping method is to problem-solve for the patient first and then deal with their own stress afterward. However, situational coping may not be a good long-term solution for nurses. Because situational coping is reactive instead of proactive, it can ultimately make it more difficult to cope with ongoing stress in the long run.

The Benefits of Habitual Coping Strategies

Since situational coping may not be ideal, nurses may want to consider habitual coping strategies. Essentially, the best strategies for managing nurse stress in the workplace include adopting lifestyle practices that make it easier to manage stress day-to-day. Habitual coping strategies are more proactive and allow nurses to reduce stress continually, both at work and at home.

Strategies for Managing Nurse Stress in the Workplace

The best strategies for managing stress in the workplace can actually be done at home or during small breaks. Many studies show that taking five to 10 minutes a day to implement strategies for managing stress can be effective. Some of the best strategies for managing stress include:

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing exercises are particularly effective for managing stress and anxiety. When the diaphragm is engaged with deep breathing, the physiological response to stress in the body allows cortisol levels to lower, which can calm anxiety, fatigue, irritability, and other symptoms of stress.

There are several techniques for deep breathing and even mobile apps that can guide nurses through deep breathing exercises. No matter what strategy you use, it’s important to remember that deep breathing is most effective when breaths are taken all the way through the belly to engage the diaphragm.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness, or staying present with your thoughts and physical grounding, can also be highly effective for mental stress. Mindfulness techniques can include anything from focusing on sensory information to simply taking a few moments to focus on your breath. The essential component of mindfulness is to keep your thoughts in the present moment, which means avoiding thoughts about upcoming tasks and previous events.

Cognitive-Behavioral Positive Thinking

Cognitive behavioral positive thinking can also be used for managing nurse stress in the workplace. For example, research shows that negative thinking can influence our mood and perpetuate negative thoughts. However, by recognizing negativity and consciously changing negative thoughts for positive thoughts, it can be easier to deal with stress.

One good strategy is to flip a negative thought around. For example, instead of a nurse worrying that they won’t have enough time to care for a patient, a nurse can reassure themselves that they are doing their best to care for all of their patients.

Meditation

Meditation can also help nurses become more adaptive and peaceful in their day-to-day lives. Meditation teaches all kinds of techniques that can help nurses cope with stress. These techniques and exercises can be guided through mobile apps or can be learned through meditation books.

Emotional Freedom Techniques

Some nurses may benefit from emotional freedom techniques, such as tapping. The tapping emotional freedom technique engages easy acupressure points that help the body reset from stress to lower cortisol levels. This technique works best when it is paired with positive, self-accepting mantras. Emotional freedom techniques such as tapping should be implemented when a nurse recognizes symptoms of stress escalating.

Physical Activity

The old advice that physical activity can help manage stress is true. Research shows that physical activity can reset the stress response in the body, make the body fatigued enough for deep sleep, and clear the mind. The type of exercises nurses may consider can include dancing, yoga, and Tai Chi.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy can be a highly effective way to use sensory grounding techniques to reduce stress and anxiety. For example, breathing in the scent of lavender, an essential oil well known for inducing calm feelings, can lower stress levels.

Not only does breathing in an aromatic fragrance focus the mind on the pleasant scent, but it also reinforces deep breathing and physical activity. Nurses may consider implementing aromatherapy techniques with scents such as:

  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Ylang ylang
  • Frankincense
  • Valerian
  • Jasmine

Hobbies and Activities

Regularly engaging in recreational hobbies and activities can also be beneficial for reducing stress. Workplace stress occurs because of demands on the job that make it difficult to cope and take breaks. Hobbies and other activities, on the other hand, can reduce stress by giving people opportunities to take their time and enjoy the moment. Hobbies can include crafting, cooking, reading, journaling, listening to music, and more.

Healthy Diet

Finally, a healthy diet can also help reduce stress. When people are experiencing stress and high levels of cortisol, the response in the body may be appetite reduction or a craving for carbohydrates, sugar, and salt. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can make it easier to cope with stress because the body is supplied with essential nutrients that are used to regulate the gut-brain connection.

Can Talking Help Reduce Stress?

Talking with friends, family members, and co-workers about stressors can also be another way for nurses to reduce stress. Sharing burdens through conversation can lighten the stress load a nurse is experiencing at work, or even help a nurse work through unique challenges and traumas. Many nurses even consider talking with a mental health professional.

When Should Nurses Seek Stress Support?

Living with stress for too long can be detrimental to mental and physical health. Nurses should consider seeking help for stress when they notice shifts in their mood, appetite, sleep, and energy. Implementing strategies for managing nurse stress in the workplace is most effective when nurses can seek prompt emotional support. Waiting too long to de-stress can cause burnout and other disturbing symptoms of high stress.

Nursing is one of the most stressful occupations in America, and many nurses end up leaving the healthcare field because of burnout and high stress. Fortunately, there are many strategies for managing nurse stress in the workplace that can help nurses create stress-reduction habits. Get in touch with Feyi Sangoleye at WaistedRN in Chicago, IL to learn what a nurse coach can offer and more strategies for managing nurse stress in the workplace.

What Is a Nursing Life Coach?

Life is hard, but stress can make it harder. Because nursing is so demanding, it’s essential for nurses to learn strategies for managing nurse stress in the workplace. The guidance of a nursing life coach may be helpful.

What Is a Nursing Life Coach?

A nursing life coach is an expert that helps nurses prioritize self-care, minimize stress, and find motivation for goals outside of work. A life coach can be essential for nurses who are overwhelmed and burnt out by their work. As a personal cheerleader and confidant, a nursing life coach can help nurses build the skills they need to be successful and happy.

What Can a Life Coach Help You With?

The role of a life coach is not to tell people what to do. Rather, a life coach is meant to help people learn how to help themselves. There are several ways a life coach can do this. For example, providing external motivation can be beneficial for people who aren’t sure where to start or who don’t have enough social support.

Furthermore, having a life coach can be a way for people to hold themselves accountable for goals they may have. For some people, it may be difficult to adhere to goals based solely on their own determination. However, when there is someone who is keeping track of goal setting, it may be easier to achieve those goals. The ways a nursing life coach can help include:

Discover Your Purpose

Individuals who go into nursing often believe that they have discovered their true purpose. However, nursing may not be your only calling in life. Nurses who are career-oriented may have lost sight of other purposes that could fulfill them in life, such as having a family, traveling, or buying a home.

Additionally, a life coach may help nurses realize that their greater calling is to be a doctor or to seek training in a specialized field of nursing. Discovering your purpose is the key to unlocking your happiness and satisfaction in life. A life coach can help you reflect on the things that make you happy in your work, and realize goals that emphasize that happiness.

Develop a Self-Improvement Strategy

Self-improvement is generally the pinnacle of a self-actualized life, which is why it is regarded to be the epitome of happiness and well-being. However, devising a self-improvement strategy for yourself can be difficult when you’re not sure where to start.

Your self-improvement can include everything from your general health to your spiritual connection. A life coach will help you examine various elements in your life so you can think about where you can improve. By improving yourself, you can ultimately be happier.

Deliver Achievable Goals

Having goals is one thing, but achieving goals is something else. To achieve your goals, you will have to learn how to set realistic goals that can easily be met. Delivering on achievable goals starts with goal setting and is supported by a life coach who holds you accountable for your goal timeline.

Designate Stress Management Technique

Finally, a life coach can help you designate stress management techniques. The stress management techniques that are best for you will depend on your personality, lifestyle, and preferences.

Uncovering the stress management techniques that work for you is often a trial and error process, especially if you aren’t sure which stress management techniques are most effective. A life coach will introduce you to many techniques so that you can identify the stress management coping skills that are most appropriate for you.

Strategies for Managing Nurse Stress in the Workplace

Nursing is a stressful occupation with many demands on your time, so how can you manage stress in the workplace? Although stress related to caring for patients is constant, there are many strategies you can use at work and at home to reduce some of your stress. Some of these strategies for managing nurse stress in the workplace include:

Take Care of Your Health

If you want to take care of anyone else, you first must take care of yourself. Focusing on your health by keeping health appointments, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet can keep you primed to cope with sudden stress. Even something as simple as starting the day with a balanced breakfast or keeping healthy snacks on you at work can be crucial for managing stress.

Many nurses experience sleep difficulties and fatigue. Studies show that getting adequate sleep is exceptionally beneficial for reducing stress levels. A life coach can help you build a healthy sleep routine, even if you’re working swing shifts.

Stay Socially Active

Humans are social creatures, and even if you have a more introverted nature, you can still benefit from social interaction. Whether it’s a support group, online community, or a weekly brunch with friends, staying socially active is a good way to reduce stress.

Furthermore, having social connections can allow you to share the burdens of your stress. For example, you can talk to the people in your life about your stress and strategies for managing nurse stress in the workplace.

Schedule “Me” Time

In recent years, there has been an emphasis on self-care in mental health circles. Self-care is one of the most important things you can do to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. While self-care can be classified as meeting basic eating and hygiene necessities, the most effective self-care is scheduling “me” time.

During “me” time, you can focus solely on your own pleasure and enjoyment. For example, dedicating a few minutes a day to reading, hobbies, or other interests can help you minimize stress in your life. A life coach will also remind you to indulge from time to time, such as with a salon visit or a day off.

Get More Space

At work, it may be helpful to reduce stress by getting more space. By giving yourself more space, you can remove yourself from a stressful atmosphere, take a breather, and de-escalate your stress response.

One good strategy for getting space at work is eating lunch away from your hospital or healthcare facility. For example, if you make your lunch at home, you may consider eating outside rather than at your desk or a break room. By giving yourself some distance midday to nurture your body with nutrients, you can give yourself the air and space you need to reduce stress.

Recognize Your Stress Signs

It’s also important to recognize your stress signs. Everyone responds to ongoing stress differently. For example, some people get tension headaches while other people become irritable. Recognizing the signs of your stress will help you learn when to implement some of your coping strategies.

Ideally, you should learn to recognize early signs of stress, such as tension in your body, so that you can nip stress in the bud before it becomes a chronic problem. Some signs of stress nurses may experience can include headaches, backaches, physical strains, fatigue, memory lapses, anxiety and depression, irritability, poor appetite, weight loss or weight gain, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, and more.

Implement Cognitive-Behavioral Skills

Several studies show that implementing basic cognitive behavioral skills can also minimize stress. For example, deep breathing exercises can reset the body to reduce cortisol levels in only a few minutes, which can help you feel less irritable or anxious.

Other cognitive behavioral skills may include reframing stress with positive thinking. Many people try to minimize stress by denying stress, but all this does is perpetuate the problem and increase feelings of guilt. However, by acknowledging your stress and turning to positive thinking, you may be able to lower your stress response.

Manage Your Energy

A life coach will also teach you the importance of managing your energy. Everyone is given 24 hours in a day that they must allocate to their obligations. By learning how to manage your energy, you can create habits that will make the most of your energy every day.

For example, eating light meals and taking a break can help you manage your physical energy. You can manage your mental energy by scheduling specific times of the day for certain tasks, such as checking the mail. And at home, you can turn off your email notifications so that you can focus on your home life instead of work.

Limit Multitasking

Although multitasking feels productive, it can make you less efficient and cause more stress. While nursing involves a certain level of multitasking to keep up with the demands of multiple patients, there are still ways you can limit multitasking in the workplace. For example, avoiding working while eating and drinking water can help you focus on the present moment instead of the tasks that still need to be done.

A nurse coach can be a helping hand when you need to learn how to prioritize the important things in your life. A life coach can help you learn strategies for managing nurse stress in the workplace, as well as helps you identify your purpose in life and build achievable goals. Contact Feyi Sangoleye today to learn about more ways a nursing life coach can benefit you.

What Coping Strategies Can Nurses Use to Minimize Work Stress?

Being a nurse is one of the hardest, most stressful jobs there is. Nurses are tasked with the great responsibility of keeping people alive while balancing caring for several different patients. Nurses work long hours and often receive minimal pay for their work. Because of these things, nurses often burn out quickly and go into other fields. We’ve put together some strategies for managing nurse stress in the workplace to make things a little easier.

10 Coping Strategies for Managing Nurse Stress in the Workplace

1. Get Sufficient Sleep

The mental and physical strains of being a nurse can really take a toll on your body. Not only are you constantly having to use your brain to figure out the best scenarios to help patients, but you are also using your body to take patients to the bathroom, bathe patients, help patients exercise, or help patients roll over. All of this wears on your body over time, especially if you work multiple days in a row.

Getting extra sleep on your days off can be very restorative to both your body and your mind. While you may want to use that extra hour of your Saturday to grab a coffee with a friend or catch up on housework, if your body is truly exhausted, sleep is the best option. It will allow your body, and most importantly your brain, to re-set. Getting extra sleep can make you feel like your stress dissolves overnight.

2. Find a Hobby

When you truly find a hobby you love, your focus is taken off of the stress you go through every day, and you are able to focus on something that is fun and relaxing. Doing something with your hands can be surprisingly cathartic. If you truly want to forget the stress of work, find a hobby that requires a lot of concentration so that your mind doesn’t wander into thinking about work.

Besides helping with your stress by distracting you, hobbies can be really fun and make you happy. Those happy hormones can help counter-balance your stress hormones and make you feel better all around. If you don’t know where to start, or you are not as good at art as your friend, don’t just copy her hobby! Find a hobby that is something you love to do. It may take trying a few before you get the perfect one!

3. Share with Others

Nurses country-wide are affected by the same kinds of stress on a regular basis. Sometimes as a nurse, you might feel like you have to be the tough one since you are in a caring profession. There are times you need to be tough, like when you are caring for a difficult patient. There are also times when you can share how you are feeling with your co-workers.

When you talk with your co-workers, you might be surprised that even if they look perfectly put together, they are likely experiencing similar feelings of stress, tension, and anxiety. If you don’t want to share with your co-workers, find a friend or family member who is willing to just listen. It is amazing how just chatting with someone for awhile can help, even if they don’t have sage advice to give in return!

4. Go to Therapy

If sharing what you’re experiencing with your co-workers, friends, or family doesn’t help, you may want to try some professional help. There is a stigma that goes with getting help for your mental health, but we don’t think there should be. There is no shame in going to therapy regularly, and it can be extremely helpful to have a professional therapist listen to you and give you some tools to manage your stress.

One of the best parts about getting therapy is the tools that they give you to help you learn to cope with the stress you’re experiencing can be used for the rest of your life. You can also help your co-workers learn the same things you did. Maybe one day you can mentor new nurses and help them manage their stress through what you learn in therapy.

5. Get your Exercise

Exercise is something you might not feel like doing after working a 14 to 16-hour shift, and you don’t have to do it then. Even exercising just a few times a week can be a huge stress reliever. Exercising has some great stress-killing benefits. When you exercise, it releases all your happy endorphins, which makes you feel happier all around! Exercising also puts a damper on stress-causing hormones and makes those little stress monsters run away!

Besides making you feel happier, you’ll have the added benefit of your body being healthier as you make progress in your exercise, and that in itself can help rid you of extraneous stress and make you more fit for your job.

6. Eat Healthy Food

Sometimes stress can simply be a symptom of not being able to keep up with the mad rush of patients or the amount you have to do, especially if you work in more high-stress environments like the emergency room. Eating healthy nutritious foods can help keep your energy up. It will keep your mood more stable as you work long, never-ending shifts and help you be able to respond in a healthy manner to the stress you are experiencing.

Eating healthily also helps balance your hormones, which can help your body respond to stress better. It will also help you not feel as lethargic and keep your brain functioning well.

7. Breathe and Meditate

This one will look a little bit different for everyone. Some prefer to pray. Some prefer to meditate. Whatever you do, make sure you are clearing your mind and breathing deeply. Stop in the hallway at work for a minute and just take a few deep slow breaths, and you’ll instantly feel better. This is something you have to conscientiously do, as we actually tend to speed up our breathing when we’re feeling stressed or anxious.

This is something that you can improve on with practice. You’ll start to remember, that when you feel stressed, you should just breathe slowly and deeply. Take some time when you are on a break and do some relaxed breathing. Take some time when you are off work to practice meditating or praying, and just slow your body down. You will find this helps release a lot of tension in your body.

8. Pick a Mentor

Finding a mentor within your profession can be very helpful in learning how to cope with stress. There may be a mentorship program in your workplace, or you may need to go out on your own to find a mentor who would be able to help you and guide you.

Find someone who has been working in the field much longer than you. If they have had years of working in the same field as you, they will have experienced many of the stressors that you are experiencing now. Most experienced nurses have learned to cope with the stress in some way, or they would have already burned out. Talk with them about what you are experiencing, and ask them how they dealt with their stressors.

9. Choose to Relax

Maintaining a healthy work and life balance is extremely important in managing your stress. Schedules for nurses vary wildly from once a week shifts to several very long shifts in a row. You need to find what works for you, and do your best to stick to it.

When you are off work, try to take some intentional hours relaxing. Do what makes you happy, whether that looks like spending time with your family, taking a nap, going for a run, going to the lake or the beach, or going for a hike. Find what works for you, and don’t spend all your time off work doing work at home.

10. Find your Stressors

Being aware of what is actually causing you stress is very important. Maybe it’s that one co-worker who is not careful with the patients. Maybe it’s being mistreated by patients. Maybe it’s just the constant mental pressure of your work. Whatever it is that is causing you to stress, try to become aware of it and make a list of what is causing your stress.

By making this list, you can know what is triggering you and try to avoid it. Obviously, the job of a nurse is stressful, and you can’t just avoid your job, but you can do your best to make it more manageable. Talk to your manager about what stresses you and see if you can work out a plan with them to make your job a long-term career.

Now that you know some great ways to manage stress, consider implementing these ideas into your daily routine and coming up with your own ideas. Reach out to us at Waisted RN to find out how we can help you. We offer motivational keynote speaking and mentorship to help you continue on your journey as a successful nurse. We want you to succeed, and getting rid of some of the stress that comes with the job is a great way to start!

9 Increasingly Common Symptoms of Nurse Burnout

Nursing has always been a challenging profession, but it’s become even more difficult since the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical professionals are more in demand than ever, so they are working longer hours and getting less rest. Stress in nursing is common, which is why more and more people are suffering from anxiety, depression, and burnout. The first step to resolving this issue is recognizing the symptoms of nurse burnout early.

If you feel fatigued on a regular basis, have trouble empathizing with patients like you used to, no longer enjoy or look forward to work, are getting sick for no reason, and have trouble concentrating, you might be suffering from burnout. In this case, you should get help as soon as possible. The earlier this condition is treated, the less likely you’ll suffer from long-term consequences. Let’s have a closer look at the telltale signs of burnout.

9 Increasingly Common Symptoms of Nurse Burnout and Stress in Nursing

1. Constant Fatigue

One of the most common symptoms of burnout is constant fatigue. Nurses are particularly prone to this because they often work long shifts, and some of them work at night. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been more demand for medical care, so the stress placed on nurses has been multiplied. Therefore, they are more likely to experience lengthy work periods without enough rest and disrupted sleep patterns than people with a regular schedule.

As burnout progresses, many people find it harder and harder to sleep because their body is constantly in fight-or-flight mode. They might worry about the next day at work as well as their long-term outlook. Insomnia compounds the problem of constant fatigue and makes it harder for burnout sufferers to recover, even once their schedule becomes manageable. This is one of the reasons why the problem should be addressed before it spirals out of control.

2. Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue is a type of extreme tiredness and desperation that most commonly happens to people who witness traumatic situations on a regular basis. You might no longer be able to empathize with your patients like you used to if you’ve been working in a particularly difficult department, such as the ED or the ICU, you haven’t had access to enough resources, or you’ve worked excessive hours.

This can not only negatively affect your performance at work, but it can also reduce your self-confidence and make you feel insecure. Many people who experience compassion fatigue believe that there is something wrong with them or that they have suddenly become a “bad person.” Fortunately, this isn’t the case. Once their schedule has returned to normal and they’ve practiced self-care, many nurses regain their natural compassion and love for their work.

3. A Dread of Going to Work

When you first became a nurse, you wanted to do everything you could to help patients recover from their illnesses. You worked tirelessly and made sure that everybody was as comfortable as possible. But as time went on, your work started to feel more and more like a chore and not something you do out of passion. Eventually, you started dreading your shifts.

A fear of going to work is a clear sign of burnout, and it stems from your fatigue. Some of the most common risk factors are a toxic work environment, an unappreciative boss, unsustainable work hours, and the repeated trauma that comes with treating severely ill people. Although you might recover by taking some time off, switching to a less stressful department could be a great way forward.

4. Unexplained Sickness

The first symptoms of burnout are usually related to your mental health. You might feel anxious about going to work, tired all the time, and detached from things and people you used to love. But over time, your constant stress begins to manifest in your body, as well. Two of the most common physical burnout symptoms are regular headaches and stomach pain.

Additional problems could be heart palpitations, low immunity, or pain in other areas of the body. If you’re suffering from any of these issues, you should see a doctor to rule out other medical conditions. Once you know you’re not suffering from a physical illness, you can begin to address your burnout.

5. No Interest in the Job

In nursing school, you spent hours learning about diseases, treatments, medical procedures, and more. Then, you started your career, and you found out just how hard the long hours are. COVID didn’t help matters because your workload increased, and the new safety standards made it harder for you to do your job. You started to lose your joy in working with your patients, and nursing became more of a drag.
If you’ve lost all interest in your work and you’ve been thinking about switching to a different career, you should consider whether you’ve truly changed your mind about nursing or whether you’re simply suffering from burnout. Countless people have already left the nursing profession, but you don’t have to. Before you make a career change, you can try reducing your hours, transferring to a different department, changing hospitals, or getting professional help.

6. Doubting Yourself

Often, people who feel burned out no longer perform as well at work as they used to. As a result, they might get in trouble with their boss or their colleagues, and they might not be able to provide the high standard of care they would like to. This can make nurses feel insecure and incompetent. Their self-confidence suffers, and they are no longer able to assert themselves like they used to.

If this describes your situation, it’s likely that you’re suffering from excess stress in nursing. Nurses who have a considerate superior should seek out a meeting and discuss their struggles. Your boss or supervisor can reassure you that you are a competent, valued employee, and they can help you gain access to resources and figure out some strategies to reduce your symptoms of nurse burnout.

7. Emotional Detachment from Private Life

So far, we’ve discussed the burnout symptoms you might experience at work, but this condition doesn’t only affect your professional life. In fact, countless nurses find that their work-life imbalance places a huge amount of stress on their personal lives. People who are suffering from burnout often have trouble displaying regular emotions, and they might not be able to interact with their loved ones as they used to.

When you come home from work, do you have trouble being affectionate with your partner, or do you dread spending time with your children instead of looking forward to it? Are you no longer enjoying activities you used to love? If so, it’s likely that you’re suffering from extreme fatigue. Don’t hesitate to speak to your loved ones about what you’re going through. It will be easier for them to be supportive if they understand the struggles you’re facing.

8. Trouble Concentrating

An inability to focus on your work doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re suffering from burnout. There are many reasons why people can’t concentrate, including a lack of sleep, personal issues that are distracting them, a hormone or thyroid issue, a low red blood cell count, or the natural effects of aging. But if none of these factors are a possible cause of your concentration issues, you should think about whether you might be overworked.

Over time, burnout changes the way your brain functions, so it can be very hard to regain your level of focus and efficiency, even after an adequate period of rest. You might be more easily distracted for the foreseeable future, so you should be gentle with yourself. Don’t overload your schedule immediately, and make sure to give yourself plenty of breaks as you recover. You should also think about how you can minimize distractions and sensory overload in daily life.

9. Turning to Addictive Substances

Sadly, many nurses who are struggling under the weight of their responsibilities and workload turn to addictive substances that get them through the day. Some start to drink alcohol to help them relax in the evening, while others consume large amounts of caffeine throughout the day and still others take up smoking. These unhealthy habits take the pressure off at the moment, but they cause more severe issues later on.

Nurses struggling with substance abuse shouldn’t try to fix the problem by themselves. Instead, they should talk to a trusted friend or family member, then get the professional help they need. If your symptoms of burnout are so severe that you have started self-medicating with addictive substances, you should consider taking some time off work while you heal. You will be able to cope much better once you’ve fully recovered from your burnout.

Unfortunately, stress in nursing is more common than ever before. If you or members of your team are suffering from the first symptoms of nurse burnout, you should act now. Get in touch with WaistedRN to find out how Dr. Feyi could help you or your staff combat burnout. She will be happy to speak to small or large groups about topics such as self-care, building up resilience, and juggling various responsibilities.

10 Keys to Protecting Nurses From Burnout

Nurses are the backbone of our hospitals, often working long, hard, unforgiving hours no matter what is going on in their lives or the world. According to the American Psychology Association, burnout takes a physical and mental toll on our medical professionals who care for patients nationwide. As such, it is vital that we learn about nurse burnout prevention.

10 Keys to Protecting Nurses From Burnout

1. Understand What Burnout Is

Before we can work on nurse burnout prevention we need to understand precisely what burnout is and what can cause it. Burnout has been defined in various ways since Herbert Freudenberger first termed it in 1974. However, researchers tend to favor a definition developed by Maslach and colleagues that covers three areas: emotional exhaustion, reduced personal accomplishment, and depersonalization.

We tend to feel depleted, exhausted, or spread too thin when dealing with emotional exhaustion. When we struggle with a reduced sense of personal accomplishment, we tend to have a negative self-evaluation, like never being or doing enough. Finally, when we struggle with depersonalization, we tend to become cynical, living with a constant negative view toward’s patients or our work in general.

2. Identify the Symptoms of Burnout

Identifying the symptoms of burnout is vital to preventing it. Burnout can occur when we give too much of our time, too much of our energy, and too much effort into our job without stopping to allow ourselves to recover. As nurses, we are tasked with caring for our patients, from infants in the NICU to geriatric patients on life support and everyone in between. Stopping to allow yourself to recover physically and emotionally can be difficult.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of burnout can help you stay alert so that you know when you need to make a change. These symptoms can include constant exhaustion, dreading going to work, and emotional exhaustion. Additionally, you may feel apathetic towards patients or feel dread and panic when thinking about going to work. Others may experience a loss of appetite or sleep. Knowing the signs of burnout can keep yourself and your patients safe.

3. Understand How Burnout Affects Nurses and Patients

We also need to understand why prevention is essential. According to the National Academy of Medicine, up to 54% percent of nurses in the United States exhibit symptoms of burnout. That means more than half of the nurses at work in the US are feeling emotionally exhausted, cynical, and experiencing a low sense of professional accomplishment. Burnout heavily affects the lives of the nurses experiencing it and impacts the lives of patients they care for.

Nurses suffering from burnout can experience side effects such as poor job performance, high turnover rates, and medical mistakes. These side effects can even include suicide. Burnout is a serious problem and every nurse working in the field today needs the knowledge to try and curb burnout before it happens and the aid they need to recover from burnout when it occurs.

4. Understand the Causes of Burnout

Burnout can be caused by many of the situations that nurses experience daily. For example, long hours and overnight shifts can take us away from our families or interrupt sleep schedules. In addition, constantly working in a high-stress environment with too many patients and responsibilities with anxiety over our patients contribute to the stress that continues to pile on.

Additionally, nursing shortages can lead to too much work, too many hours, and a lack of balance between your work and home life. Bullying and harassment from patients or doctors, lack of benefits or appropriate compensation, and a lack of breaks will often lead to dissatisfaction with your job overall. No matter how you cut it, nurses hold patients’ lives in their hands daily, and that stress can add up quickly.

5. Understand Why Nurse Burnout Prevention Is Best

We have all heard the proverb that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure. While it is easier to measure outcomes after the fact, it is always better to prevent an injury than to patch up everything after you’ve been hurt. Working in the hospital during the pandemic was a brutal and harrowing experience, and we know now more than ever how important it is to prevent feelings of isolation and burnout.

Losing patients, fearing infection, and struggling to get the PPE needed to keep hospital staff safe was a huge struggle. These high-stress situations can make nurses feel alone, and HIPAA laws make it challenging to share our daily struggles. The truth is, unless you’re speaking to another nurse, many people won’t understand the issues we face. Burnout recovery isn’t simple. It’s individual and can last years. Preventing burnout can save you hours of heartache.

6. Leadership Can Affect Burnout

Excellent leadership is requisite for nurse burnout prevention. Leaders who acknowledge and address your concerns and empathize with you make all the difference in the world and make nurses feel valued. This means that if you are a member of your hospital’s leadership team, encourage the nurses to share concerns, especially regarding burnout, openly. Next, make a plan to address those concerns and then follow through and try to resolve them.

This can be done utilizing online forums, team meetings, or open-door policies for your office. Empower your nurses and give them opportunities to participate in decisions when it relates to their work. Include shift feedback to monitor concerns and identify the early symptoms of burnout. Value their opinions, knowledge, and experience regarding patients, scheduling, hygiene, break policies, the standard of care, and more.

7. Help Your Nurses Take Breaks

Nurses work every day to care for the patients in their charge. However, while amazing at caring for others, nurses are notoriously terrible at practicing self-care. Help each other. Many nurses will skip their breaks. The pressure of the job and the tasks that you have to complete during the shift take over, and the responsibility of your patient’s care is at the forefront of your mind. Stop, take a breather, and help your fellow nurses take breaks.

This means slowly shifting nursing culture. Find out how many breaks are allotted for your shift, then let others know. Make sure you and your coworkers know it’s okay to take breaks and that it can even improve your work performance. Spread the word, then help each other be consistent. Speak to management so they can lend support and ensure everyone stops for lunch and gets breaks while leaving enough people on the floor to care for patients.

8. Offer Flexible Scheduling

Nurse burnout prevention should include flexible scheduling. Balancing work and home life can be difficult, especially when working the hours that nurses often do. Flexible scheduling helps nurses to pick the shifts that they want to work. In addition, this allows nurses to work with coworkers they like and during shift times they enjoy, thus helping to prevent burnout.

There are multiple employee scheduling software programs that make flexible scheduling easy. These software programs can empower your nurses, allowing them to pick and swap shifts with others when needed. Avoid scheduling nurses for shifts longer than 12 hours whenever possible to reduce the risk of fatigue-induced accidents. Flexible schedules ensure that nurses have a greater work/life balance preventing burnout and creating happier employees.

9. Improve Your Nurse-to-Patient Ratios

Nurse-to-patient ratios are essential when we look at preventing nurse burnout. The more patients each nurse has to look after, the higher the risk of burnout for those nurses. Improving these ratios decreases the rates of nursing burnout and improves mortality rates in the hospital. Improving the nurse-to-patient ratios requires additional staff. However, the investment offsets itself with a lower turnover rate, higher patient satisfaction, and better patient outcomes.

Demand-based scheduling can go a long way to improving your nurse-to-patient ratio. The automated system uses historical foot traffic and demand data to optimize schedules with appropriate proportions. Managers can match the number of nurses needed to the projected demand daily, then edit that in real-time when situations arise. The demand-based scheduling ensures that the hospital is always staffed correctly.

10. Give the Support Needed

Another key factor of nurse burnout prevention is ensuring that your nurses have the knowledge they need to cope in high-stress situations and the support they need to recover. For example, encourage support groups and buddy systems that allow nurses to vent frustrations and discuss the challenges they face daily, so they aren’t burdened with that stress when they go home. In addition, ensure all staff members know who they can contact to get professional help.

Hold team meetings to teach breathing techniques and therapeutic exercises to help prevent burnout before it occurs. Post flyers listing suitable coping methods, so nurses have easy access to the information needed to keep themselves physically and mentally well. If you’re worried about preventing nursing burnout, hire mentor and professional nurse Dr. Feyifunmi Sangoleye to inspire with her motivational keynote speaking and remind you why you became a nurse in the first place.