7 signs your experiencing nurse burnout

Do you really need to know the signs of nurse burnout! I think so! Having experienced it myself, I have found that it can really sneak up on you! Then you’re left with confusion, exhaustion, and you don’t know what to do! So here are 7 signs your heading for nurse burnout! And of course, all of these or just some of these might apply. If anything it might raise a red flag that something is a miss and you need to take heed! Also, am I in no way suggesting you quit your job, or nursing for that matter. I just want you to know the signs of burn out, and how to recognize the symptoms. You can do this by taking a break from your job if you can like a vacation, talking with someone, or maybe a job change is in order. That is okay! If you’re like me, you cant afford to up and quit, I would think most people couldn’t do that. But it can help to look at different specialties and see if a change could help!

1) Are you calling in a lot from work? So have you called in so much your starting to run out of excuses, and you start using some really weird ones like ” My dog has the flu” ” I can’t come to work because I’m stuck in the house” or maybe ” I tried a new recipe from the Food Network, and it was a fail, now I have food poison”. Well, in theory, some of these could be valid excuses, but really if you see the increase in calling in and the dread of going to work, you could most likely be burned out.

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2) Your tired, not just the, I stayed up late and watched Game of Thrones tired. I am talking no amount of sleep can cure this tired. When I get stressed I can sleep for over 12 hours and still not feel like I got any rest. Especially on days after I work. This can also be a warning sign of nurse burnout. Of course, it can also be you can’t sleep! I have also been through this. It seems to be a cycle of no sleep, then excessive sleep. It is important that you get the rest you need, but if you feel like you just can’t get enough, then it is worth thinking about nurse burnout as the cause.

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3) Anxiety, panic attacks, and depression oh MY! This is a sign for sure something is not going right in your life. It could be nurse burnout. If you haven’t experienced a panic attack consider yourself lucky! They are horrible. Mine started this year, mostly in relation to things happening outside of work, but it didn’t help with my nurse burnout. It is important for you to slow down and really find out why the anxiety, panic attacks, and depression is happening. Especially if this is a huge change for you. Sometimes there can be no specific triggers, but you need to take care of yourself regardless. It just might mean taking a break, talking to a counselor, or medication. Whatever it takes to take care of you!

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4) Sickness, sickness everywhere! Are you getting sick more than usual? This is a big sign from your body telling you something is wrong. Stress over time can run down the immune system which will leave you getting sick all the time. I noticed I would get colds all the time. One would end and another would begin. It was miserable! If you start noticing you’re getting sick a lot see your doctor of course, but you might want to reassess the stress in your life also.

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5) Has your family used terms like mean and irritable to describe you? Maybe some other colorful language! Well, personality changes can be a direct result from nurse burnout. Sometimes your family and friends are the first ones to pick up there is something not quite right. I remember my son asking me if I had a good day or bad day at work, every-time I got home. I asked him why he does this, and he said he could tell my mood was changing, and if I had a bad day he didn’t even bother to ask me something. That was a wake-up call! Especially, when I started having more bad days than good!

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6) You absolutely dread going to work. We all have days where we don’t want to go to work. I am talking so much dread you can’t sleep, or you fantasize about running away. On my way to work one time I drove by an airport. I thought to myself, I could totally buy a one-way ticket to just about anywhere, and get out of work. Of course, I went to work, but it made me realize, wow! I need a change!

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7) Feeling under appreciated is also a common sign. Some of this is normal, but when it gets to a point were your feeling more underappreciated than happy, it could be nurse burn out. Nursing is a thankless job. When we do get a thank you it’s awesome. Or if someone tells you your a great nurse, wow! Maybe, even those compliments are going in one ear and out the other. Because you’re burned out, you focus more on the negative and the positive you miss! This could also be a red flag that you are in or heading for nurse burnout. Of course, it does take some examining, because it could just be the work environment your in. Either way, some assessing, and change could need to take place.

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I hope some information was learned about nurse burnout and how to recognize the symptoms. Nurse burnout should not be ignored because the symptoms and warning signs will just increase. It is my hope for you, that you catch it early and take care of yourself. We need good caregivers and in order to keep them, we need good caregivers taking care of themselves. That was a long hard lesson for me to learn!

It is easier to have faith in God when things are good! But what if they are not good?

When things are going good in your life and there are very few troubles. It is easy to sit back and think “I got this” and pull away from God. I have been there countless times in my life. It’s not that I stop believing, I just stray a bit. It is kind of like when your child goes off to college, and calls once in awhile if they need something, or stop in to say hey, and then move on. So I would thank God for my blessings, maybe pick up prayer a little more if I sensed trouble, and go on with life. My visits at his house (church), would become less frequent. I started making less and less time for him, but I felt like my faith was strong, because everything was great!

When tragedy strikes it can overwhelm you and really catch you off guard! Then becomes the true trial of faith. You start to question God, Why me? I am faithful? And maybe even start to place blame. The truth of the matter is we live in a very imperfect world. This life is hard and there will be tragedies and heartache. As humans we have the gift of free will, but with this gift comes down sides, as we can see many of them playing out in the news daily. God uses these moments to pull us closer to him if we will let him. God is a our father, and like any father he wants what is best for his kids. If we make a poor decision, then God will use this to help us grow as a person if we let him.

So when things are not going to good, it helps to lean on God! That is what we are supposed to do. I know I have had to a lot lately. My mother got very sick in January and my whole life changed. I almost lost her! She was on a ventilator (a machine that breaths for you), and they couldn’t get her off of it. So they had to move her to a special facility that was about 2 hours from home. I made that trip 2-3 times a week, and also tried to hold down my job. My mother also took care of my older brother, who has down syndrome. He came to live with my husband, 2 kids, and I. My brother made the trip with me to see our mother. There was many times we weren’t sure if she was going to make it. It was an emotional roller coaster. I work night shift and I got a call from the hospital that my mom had a possible stroke! There was nothing I could do, but wait for a phone call to see why she had become unresponsive. Since mom was so sick, I became legal guardian of my brother, so I could legally make decisions for him.

So I was caring for my mother, my brother, working in a caregiving profession, of course my 2 kids, and finally it just all came down on me. I became burned out! My husband was there to help out. He has been absolutely amazing through all of this. He had open arms when my brother came to live with us. He also stepped up in many areas. Without his support, I probably would of had a full on nervous breakdown.

I had taken a new job, and had to step away and tell them I was burned out. I didn’t know what I was going to do for money, but I couldn’t go to work the way I was feeling. We struggled with bills, and it was, and still is a trying time. It was during this time, I became closer with God. I read in my bible, had prayer, and even meditated. I had neglected myself for so long, that my body finally just said enough is enough. With all this going on in my life I had 2 choices. I could blame God for my sorrow or grow closer to him. I chose to grow closer to him, and I am so glad I did!

My mother is now closer to home. She is in a rehab facility, and she is working on coming home! That is my home, because she wont be able to live by herself. I have seen what the power of prayer has done in my life. My mom has been back from the brink many times. If you would have asked me in March if I thought this would be possible, I would have been in disbelief. My brother is adjusting incredibly well. He comes with me to visit mom and enjoys being in our noisy household. I look over at him when we are in the mix of the hustle and bustle and he is smiling.

I returned to work and I have been doing really good. I feel like I am reenergized. I have started school to work towards my Masters degree. So professionally I am on a better path too. I was exploring getting out of nursing all together, but with lots of prayer and self discovery, I feel this is where I am supposed to be. I actually had a supervisor come up to me the other night and said, “Thank you for everything you did tonight, you are a great nurse”. It made me smile, because it validated that I am where I’m supposed to be.

So have faith in God even in the storms of your life. Storms don’t last forever. They might seem that way, and I am not totally out of my storm yet, but I know with God at the wheel, I will end up where I need to be.

Faith Bible Verses

  • To keep your faith strong, you have to visit God in his house (Church), don’t be Gods college kid, who only shows up if they need something, or calls once in awhile.
  • Prayer is important! This is the way you communicate the good, bad, and the ugly. God listens to it all, he is just waiting for the call.
  • Finally, let God know you love him and your thankful, even in the bad times. There is always something to be thankful for. When we get in a situation, it is human nature to just concentrate on the negative.

 

Sometimes you might really have to dig to find the positive. When you do find it, hang on to it through the storm, and collect more on the way. Pretty soon the clouds will part, the sun will come out, and you will look back, and stand in amazement of the incredibly God we have. Much love! XO

 

 

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!