Do you dread going into work each day? Do you feel like you no longer have patience and empathy for your patients? You are not alone. Many nurses are feeling or have felt this way. Come along with us as we explore the nursing burnout phenomenon and address ways that you can rediscover your passion for nursing.
What is nursing burnout?
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines nursing burnout as “a widespread phenomenon characterized by a reduction in nurses’ energy that manifests in emotional exhaustion, lack of motivation and feelings of frustration and may lead to reductions in work efficacy.” In other words, nursing burnout is the emotional, mental and physical exhaustion that results from prolonged exposure to stress. It affects the nurse’s well-being and their ability to provide exceptional patient care.
Nursing burnout is the emotional, mental and physical exhaustion that results from prolonged exposure to stress.
According to a report published by Professional Research Consultants (PRC), as many as 50% of nurses are currently experiencing symptoms of burnout. Some of the most common causes of nursing burnout are long hours, a lack of sleep and a lack of support from management. While symptoms of this malady vary by nurse, one thing is abundantly clear: burnout is negatively affecting many clinicians’ passion for nursing.
How to Rediscover Your Passion for Nursing
Finding the motivation to cheerfully face a new day at work can be extremely difficult when you are experiencing nursing burnout. However, there are solutions within your reach. Before you call it quits and hang up your scrubs for good, give one of our tips for rediscovering your passion for nursing a try.
Take a Day Off
As a healthcare professional, your passion is caring for other people. However, there is truth in the expression that “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” One of the most effective ways to rediscover your passion for nursing is to practice self-care. Nurses that routinely practice self-care experience less on-the-job stress and have more energy and compassion for their patients. It does not matter if your version of self-care is a day at the spa, lunch at your favorite café or a Netflix binge of the newest “must see” show. What is important is that you consistently schedule time for the things that bring you joy and relaxation.
Set Clear Career Goals
Is your career where you envisioned it would be at this point in your life? Since nurses are natural caregivers, it is not uncommon for them to lose sight of their goals and ambitions while attending to the needs of others. However, staying in a position that does not fulfill you is a surefire way to kill your passion for nursing. The next time you are feeling unsure about your nursing career take stock of the education and skills that you have obtained. Ask yourself “what comes next?”. Start making a list of the things you need to do to make that promotion or transfer a reality. Steadily working towards your goals will give you a sense of empowerment that you are in control of your life and career.
Continue Your Education and Training
Remember how excited you were to be a nursing student? You probably shared your new knowledge with anyone that was willing to listen. It felt invigorating to learn new things about the body and the healing profession every day. According to Vanessa King, a positive psychology expert at Action for Happiness, learning makes us happy because it is “a core need for psychological wellbeing” and it helps us “build confidence and a sense of self-efficacy.” If you are looking for a way reignite your passion for nursing, consider taking a professional development course or pursuing a certification or advanced degree. Chances are it will make you feel like a new nurse again.
Work with a Professional Nurse Coach
When your car is not running right, you do not take it to the local hairdresser for repairs. You take it to a mechanic, an expert in automobiles. The same philosophy holds true for your nursing career. When you no longer have the passion for nursing that you once did, it is time to seek out the help of a professional nurse coach. Professional nurse coaches are trained to help you analyze the areas of your life that you want to improve. They provide the guidance and insight you need to start moving forward. One of the best nurse coaches in the industry is Nicole Thomas, DNP, RN, CCM and founder of Nicole Thomas INC. Click here to read what she has to say about finding and living your purpose as a nurse.
When you no longer have the passion for nursing that you once did, it is time to seek out the help of a professional nurse coach.
Stay Away from Negative Nancys
It is hard to keep a positive attitude when all you hear is negative talk. That is why we highly recommend staying away from your workplace’s “Negative Nancys,” the employees that never have anything nice to say about anyone or anything. Tony Robbins, a renowned life and business coach, said, “when you surround yourself with positive people, you’re more likely to adopt empowering beliefs and see life as happening for you instead of to you.” In your efforts to rediscover your passion for nursing, seek out those coworkers that are excited to come to work and make a positive difference. You will be surprised at how fast their enthusiasm rubs off on you.
Mentor a New Nurse
No one has more passion for nursing than a newly minted RN. Fresh out of school and ready to put their skills to use, these clinicians exude optimism and amazement. Their excitement can be contagious. Find out if your organization has a preceptor or mentoring program and volunteer to be a part of it. Even if your workplace has nothing formal in place, there is nothing stopping you from taking a new nurse under your wing. Buy them a cup of coffee and ask them if they have any questions. Chances are they will be grateful to have someone looking out for them. Plus, it will feel pretty good to have someone look up to you as the wiser, more experienced nurse.
Talk to Your Supervisor
Sometimes you just need to talk to someone that understands what you are going through. Chances are your supervisor or manager has experienced feelings of nursing burnout too. If you find yourself having more bad days at work than good, make an appointment to talk to your supervisor. Let them know what you are thinking and feeling about the nursing profession (not the minor annoyances of the job). There is comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Your supervisor will be able to give you insight into how they overcome these feelings. Furthermore, they may be able to connect you with helpful resources and/or make adjustments to your assignments as you work to find your passion for nursing again.
Look for New Opportunities
A difficult or unsupportive work environment can take a toll on your mental, emotional and physical health. Before you make the decision to leave the nursing profession altogether, consider looking for a new job. Healthcare staffing agencies (like Premier Medical Staffing Services, LLC) are a great resource when you find yourself needing a fresh start. Not only do they have access to local and nationwide job opportunities, they can also help you navigate moves between specialties. Sometimes a change of scenery is all that is needed to keep your passion for nursing alive. Click here to learn more about the benefits of agency nursing.
Maintaining your passion for nursing can be difficult when you are in the midst of burnout. However, the employment specialists at Premier Medical Staffing Services are only a phone call away. We’d love to connect with you and discuss the ways we can help you rediscover the joy you once felt at being a nurse. Fill out the contact form below to have one our staffing experts reach out to you.