Everyone needs a hobby…even me!

I ran across an old sketch book I had, and started in 2000. I have everything in there from drawings, to poems, and a top 10 bucket list! I can check off 3 of those, so I have 7 more to go, not to shabby! After I read and looked at my drawings, I realized my last entry was from 2009! That means I went approximately 8 years with no further drawings, poems, or any type of expressions. I looked at the blank pages and realized, I need to take some of my own advice on burnout, and take up a hobby! I ended up staying up all night looking on Pinterest and you-tube for craft ideas. I remembered a recent trip to Atlanta where I drove 7 hours to see a Labyrinth exhibit at a Jim Henson Museum. What is Labyrinth your probably wondering? It is a movie, and freaking awesome one. Stick around and trust me, you will see I am obsessed with this movie! I wanted to buy some labyrinth pins online, and they cost anywhere from 10-30 dollars. I thought to myself, I could make that! So I got some supplies and started drawing, and brainstorming. Of course the kids caught wind and started placing their pin orders! It was a good trial and it worked! I really enjoy making pins! Like so much, when I ran out of supplies, my husband said I need to wait to buy more until I have steady checks coming in again. (Burned out remember, I have took some time off). Which I understand but, I decided to sell some things I just had sitting around to get more supplies! I know it might seem minor and when people say “You should get a hobby”, you start thinking of excuses why you don’t have time. But since I started my hobby I can already feel my mood change. I used to take long naps in the day if nothing was planned. Now I am hurrying up to get stuff done so I can make art! So long story short, I took my own advice, and advice I have ignored for 8 plus years, and I am thankful I did. As long as your hobby makes you happy (and is legal, ha!) do it!

Image result for shia labeouf just do it

My husband thought it was silly at first, but was happy I was happy. And after the first few batches, he started putting in orders, Ha! I have some original designs that I plan on posting. Also, some more nursing related pins. Instead of being lost inside my head, or sleeping, I am creating! The sky is the limit! Until next time!

Burnout

I don’t wish Nursing Burnout on anyone. It is a horrible place to be, but there is a lot of things we can learn about nursing burnout. Part of the healing process is recognizing that you are in fact burned out. Which means you have to know what nursing burnout is, what to do if it happens, and most important to those who haven’t experienced it, how to prevent it. These are the things I would like to discuss. It took me a long time to realize I was dealing with the ugly beast of burnout. Work life balance and nursing burnout were really not discussed in nursing school. If they were, it was skimmed over and I don’t remember. I feel as nurses, we tend to always put others needs before our own needs. We are caregivers, and sometimes we do it, and don’t even realize we are until it is to late. Which, is what happened to me.

What is nursing Burnout?

  • Nursing burnout is physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion (Rasmussen, 2017). With the nursing profession we are exposed to heavy levels of stress all the time. If the stress levels continue and are not dealt with in a healthy way, then burnout will result. Burnout can be caused by a lack of support, work schedules, and several other factors. The Primary factor is short staffing (NNU, 2017). A lot of these things we don’t have control of as a nurse. Which, can make it very difficult to prevent burnout. That is why it is so important to take care of ourselves and recognize the signs of burnout which are:
  • Constant fatigue
  • Feeling overworked
  • Feeling under appreciated
  • Loss of enthusiasm with profession
  • Compassion fatigue

These are just a few signs that nurses need to be vigilant about. I feel there is a stigma around this topic. Nurses are afraid to talk to each other about burnout. Maybe related to fear of judgement, personal egos, or losing their job. As nurses we have a stressful job that requires us to be 100% all the time, and if we are less than that it is frighting. It doesn’t have to be the end of our career. Currently, I am suffering from burnout, and hope to find a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, it is hard to find people who understand what you are going through. It is important to reach out to other nurses who might very well be feeling the way you do, and discuss your situation.

I am burned-out now what?

The most important step is to recognize that you are burned out. This took me awhile to wrap my head around. I really didn’t want to admit it had happened to me, and for this reason it prolonged the suffering and healing. Burnout cannot be put off or it will just get worse. When I first realized I was burned out, I just wanted to leave nursing all together. I told my job I had at the time I was burned out, and had to step away. The plan was I was going to work in anything, but nursing for awhile, and take a break. After I told my husband he was obviously upset. Like many nurses, we are the sole bread winners of our household, and that’s a hard pill to swallow. Plus, I really didn’t share with him everything that was going on, and how it was affecting me. I really kept him in the dark regarding my career, and how I was feeling. Then I made a life changing decision, and didn’t talk to him.  Needles to say there was an intervention that day in my living room with my teenage son, husband, and mother-in-law present. I decided maybe it wasn’t the whole nursing profession, but bedside nursing. So one of the first things to consider when burned out is to change specializations. Maybe it is hospital nursing that has you burned out, or the bedside in general. That is the beauty of nursing! There are other areas that we can get into, we just have to be patient and persevere.  Also, you have to find a way to cut down on stress. As mentioned I am a christian, so I decided to devote 10 minutes a day to meditation and prayer. I also decided to eat healthier and to start exercising more. While I was caring for everyone else, I didn’t care for myself and my health had started to suffer. Another way I decided to stay engaged in nursing is to go back to school. I want to get my Masters in education. I feel this will help open more doors for me and enable me to reach other areas of nursing. Also, the feeling of accomplishment can help with burnout.

How to prevent burnout?

There is a saying that says an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! I believe for nursing burnout this is the case. Speaking from someone struggling with burnout, the climb is a lot steeper out, but doable! So how does a nurse prevent her/himself from becoming burned out. Learn how to say no! That means to extra shifts, to family who have great intentions, but may not realize how much you are already overextended! It is also good if you have a nursing buddy that you can bounce ideas and feelings off of. Who better to understand what your going through than another nurse! As nurses we have to learn to put ourselves first. I know way easier said than done. There needs to be some time that is yours and yours only. Even if its just minutes a day, its yours! Above all we as nurses have to manage our stress. Find out ways that help you cope with stress and practice it! If you ignore stress it will not go away, but grow and eventually lead to burnout.

Final thoughts

Nursing is a wonderful, fulfilling profession, that allows us to be in service of others, at some of their hardest times in life. We are able to make a difference in peoples lives and it can feel great! There are always two sides to the coin and with all these amazing things, does come the reality that nursing is a really stressful job! As nurses we have to take care of ourselves, so we can take care of others. I never truly understood that statement until I myself experienced burnout.

 

References

Ericksen, K (2015). Why it happens & What to do about it? Retrieved from: http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/nursing/blog/nursing-burnout-why-it-happens-and-what-to-do-about-it/

NNU (2017). Beating the burnout: Nurses struggle with physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion at work. Retrieved from: http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/news/entry/beating-the-burnout-nurses-struggle-with-physical-mental-and-emotional-exha/

USF (2017). Signs your experiencing nurse burnout. Retrieved from: https://www.usfhealthonline.com/resources/career/signs-you-are-experiencing-nurse-burnout/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Beginning (of my nursing career) Part 1

 

 

Well everything that has an end, must have a beginning. Sometimes the beginning is fast and quick. Or like in my case, it takes 12 years, and was dreadfully slow at times. I truly believe that things happen for a purpose. I am a Christian and feel nursing is/was my calling. I admit at times this did put a tremendous amount of stress on me, because I did feel like I was doing god’s work. I don’t think this was gods intention, this is just my personality and I can be hard on myself. I don’t think that I am not called anymore, but have just lost my way along my life journey, or perhaps have been called elsewhere.

I knew I wanted to be in the medical field from a very young age. My mother caught me taken care of a dead mouse, that my lovely cat had killed. I know yuck, but I was like 4 or 5 years old! I had it in a MASH Unit, AKA a Barbie house under our pool table. My mom of course about lost it, but to me I thought I could make the poor guy better. Fast-forward many years, I decided it was nursing I wanted to pursue. After high-school I was married, with child. and started my journey to nursing school at 21 years old. I had a 1 year old child at home, but was very blessed to have family support. I couldn’t wait to become a nurse and take care of people, and make people better! I applied for two programs and was accepted into the license practical nurse program (LPN). Nursing school was no joke, it was hard, and took a lot of study. But since I was so passionate about it, I kept plugging through, and graduated! I had great instructors, some of who I remember to this day! My instructors inspired me at that time to change my initial goal in my nursing career to be a nurse practitioner, to becoming a nursing educator. My dream had come true! No longer was I trying to heal a dead mouse, but I was a a nurse, who could use her skills to make a difference in people’s lives!

I passed the boards on my first try, which was exciting! And from there, a party was thrown in my honor. It felt like the red carpet had been laid out, and all the people who said I couldn’t do it, watched me walk down the carpet! It was a good time in life. Everyone was so proud of me. I was one of the first people in my family to ever graduate college. This was a big deal! I hit the street with my resume in hand and couldn’t wait to practice as a nurse, an LPN!

 

Stayed Tuned for Part 2 My First Job!

Hey I’m Blogging!

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

I started this blog to reflect on my years of nursing and how I came to be where I am today, which is burned out. I hope along the way this will allow readers and myself, to learn from some of my short comings, and also gain a new perspective. I hope to have some laughs along the way, because yes nurse burnout is a serious topic, but for me finding humor in a situation helps to heal. This will be a series that will start from beginning and go to end of my journey so far. These are my opinions and perspectives on situations that happened to me. There are always many many sides of the story, but this is mine. I hope my readers can at least take away something from my experience! And of course if you have any questions ask!