5 Tips for Nurses Who Feel Like They’re Burning OutJuly 30, 2022
Nurses have one of the most stressful jobs in the world, and, if you’ve given the field your all for many years, you shouldn’t feel guilty about feeling tired. This job can take a toll on you, but it doesn’t mean that you have to call it quits because you’re going through a rough patch. One of the beautiful things about being a nurse is how vast the field is and how many opportunities it offers. And it’s also one of the few fields in this world to offer that level of work schedule flexibility, so don’t rush your decision just yet. Let’s take a look at a few tips you should follow if you feel like you’re burning out.
Identify the Root Cause of Your Feelings
Understanding why you’re feeling the way you do is very important as it will inform what you should do next. Some nurses may assume that they’re sick with nursing in general, when, in reality, it might be the place where they’re working that’s the issue. Or it might be the position.
If you’ve always worked in one state or one city, you only know the reality of being a nurse in that area, so you can’t really tell if the job itself is the issue. You could have a much different experience if you work in a rural community or run a family clinic where everyone knows your name.
You also have to look at your specialization or lack thereof. If you have no specialization, then maybe you should start looking at some that interest you. Speaking with a counselor or mentor could help you discover different areas. You could then ask to be moved to related departments and see if this is somewhere you could work for the rest of your career.
Get an Online Specialization
If you’ve found a field that got your attention or you want to up your credentials, a good option would be to look for online programs. You could then decide to follow courses part-time or lower your work hours so you can fully dedicate yourself to your studies and finish them faster.
If you have a bachelor’s, for instance, you could go for a specialized online BSN to MSN like the ones the Passan School of Nursing offers and become a fully licensed nurse practitioner in about two years. You’ll then be able to work in more fulfilling roles and even run your own clinic in most states. Being a nurse practitioner is much different from being a regular nurse, and if you’ve always felt like you have been limited in your role, being an NP could add many years to your career, so consider the option.
Consider Non-Bedside Jobs
If you don’t feel like specializing or it’s too much for you, it could be a good idea to look at alternative jobs in nursing. Working on a resort or a crew ship is very different than working in the ER, for instance. Sometimes it’s the constant stress and tragedy that comes with working bedside that gets to nurses but working in a different function where you won’t have to deal with as many difficult cases could breathe new life into your career.
We again suggest that you sit down with a counselor and look at all the available career options for nurses outside of healthcare establishments. You could work as a camp nurse, corporate nurse, or school nurse, for instance, if you have enough experience. And all of these jobs are probably nothing like what you’re doing now.
Not only do most non-bedside jobs not require you to deal with the same severity of issues, but they also tend to have better schedules. So, if over time and hectic scheduling always gets on your nerves, moving to a non-bedside job could be the solution.
Take on Less Work or Take a Break
Most healthcare facilities will allow you to take leave after a certain period of working there, so look at the programs that are available at your place of work and consider going for a prolonged leave before you call it quits. This will allow you to keep the precious seniority you’ve accumulated over the years. You’ll also have some time to reflect on what the next chapter of your nursing career should be.
You could also cut your availability and take more time for yourself. This is time you could take to get closer to your family, work on side projects, or just rest.
Speak with a Mentor or a Support Group
There are so many resources out there available for nurses and it would be a shame if you didn’t take advantage of them. Warmlines are very underused and could be useful if you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed at any given moment. They provide in-person confidential assistance over the phone, and this could be what saves you from a potential breakdown. If you’re looking for a great warmline for nurses, nami.org has a useful list you can check out.
Finding a mentor or career coach could also be a great way to fend off burnout. A mentor will be able to look at where you are now and help you see the big picture. They may be able to give you advice based on what they’ve been through and on how you could get out of your slump. They’ll also be able to remind you why you are in the field and get to the source of your lack of motivation.
A career coach, on the other hand, will be able to sit down with you and see if there could be a better career path for you either in healthcare or somewhere else. They will support you in your progress and give you someone to be accountable to as well.
So, if you’re feeling like you’re at the end of your rope, don’t call it quits now. The world of nursing offers so many opportunities, so look at different options and consider all alternatives before you make a decision you might regret.