Nurse Burnout: What It Is And How To Tackle It In Your Facility
Posted: 3/17/2023 10:00 AM by
Burnout. It’s become a key buzzword over the past few years, and it has affected all of us, no matter what our profession.
One could argue that healthcare workers, particularly nurses, have been hit the hardest by burnout since the pandemic.
Before COVID, working as a nurse wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. However, when the pandemic hit, all of the deficiencies in the nursing field were quickly brought to the surface. Unfortunately, many of those deficiencies have yet to be remedied, and it's nurses who are paying the price, which means your facility, and your patients, are suffering.
Before we let you in on some tips to combat burnout in your facility, let’s dive into what burnout really is.
What is burnout?
It’s more than just a trendy buzzword. The World Health Organization defines burnout as a “syndrome conceptualized as a result of chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Burnout is characterized by exhaustion, negative or cynical feelings about work, and a diminished sense of accomplishment.
We get it–these aren’t exactly the words we’d like to use when describing a nurse who is taking care of our loved one.
Most any professional can experience burnout at some point in their career, but due to the very nature of nursing, the weight of dealing with highly stressful tasks and incredibly exhausting schedules makes nurses much more likely to experience intense burnout compared to others.
The signs your nurses are burning out
Some of the most common signs of nurse burnout are often right in front of your face.
Here’s what to look for:
- Cynical attitude toward work
- Sense of panic about going to work
- Lack of empathy for patients
- Withdrawal from personal and professional relationships
- Decreased work ethic
- Slower response to workplace requests
- Increased irritability around patients and co-workers
As a nurse manager or facility administrator, if you notice any of these signs, it’s best not to sweep them under the rug. If you want the situation to improve, you must address the issues immediately.
How can burnout wreak havoc on your facility?
The effects of burnout can appear in many ways, but the result is always negative for everyone involved–whether it's fellow staff or patients.
If you’re not careful, burnout can spread like wildfire in your facility or unit. Nurses who are constantly cynical, panicked, or irritable can bring down the morale of even your most positive team members.
Burnout can lead to increased turnover rates, staffing shortages, and less-than-stellar quality care for patients. It’s a vicious cycle. You lose nurses due to burnout, which throws your staffing ratios into disarray and causes more burnout in the nurses who are left to pick up the slack.
What can you do proactively prevent nurse burnout?
Step 1: Be there.
Just be present–it sounds so simple, yet it's so effective. Being present for your nurses lets them know you care about their well-being beyond just filling a square on a required form from HR. Check in with them each shift, listen to their concerns, and do your best to do something when they express help is needed.
All most of us ever want is to be heard and understood. If you can’t remedy their concerns, keep them updated on how you are actively working on a solution.
Step 2: Consistently share ways to help boost mental health
Most nurses have heard it all – do some meditation and yoga, or prioritize self-care. And we’ll bet they’ve laughed at you behind your back (or maybe even in your face!) for those suggestions. Consider dedicating time during each staff meeting or huddle to allow your nurses to vent, then, you can provide concrete ways to help them overcome their stress.
There are particularly helpful tools found in this article from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses that you can share with your team. No matter what you do, don’t ignore burnout.
Step 3: Do not, under any circumstances, underestimate the power of being appropriately staffed.
If you’re a nurse manager, try remembering what it was like to work at the bedside. Like the nurses before you and the nurses you manage today, your ultimate goal should always be to provide effective and safe patient care at all times.
If you aren’t in a bedside role today, it’s still important to remember a nurse simply cannot do their job well when the patient-to-nurse ratio is off the charts.
You may be thinking to yourself, “I already know this. But how can I help when I can’t find more nurses to hire?”
If this sounds familiar, it may be time to partner with a healthcare staffing agency.
Step 4: Find a healthcare staffing agency you can trust.
If you’re tired of being understaffed, Interim HealthCare can help! When you need healthcare professionals with the skills, flexibility and momentum to step in and meet the unique staffing needs of your facility, Interim HealthCare® is an ideal partner.
As the nation’s first healthcare staffing company, we have been a trusted source of healthcare professionals and medical personnel to organizations like yours since 1966.
We serve a wide variety of institutions, including:
- Medical Practices
- Assisted Living Facilities
- Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Rehabilitation Centers
- Correctional Institutions
When you partner with Interim HealthCare, you’ll have access to the highest caliber of healthcare talent in the market at any given time. Whether you need staff for temporary support or an extended period of time, we are well-positioned to meet your needs with a full range of qualified professionals.
Nurse Burnout? Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late!
Take the time to address burnout now, before it’s too late. Don’t let your facility become another statistic; reach out for help and watch your facility blossom into a thriving environment where nurses want to work!
Looking for more strategies your facility can implement to improve nurse burnout?
Check out our latest ebook here.
Why should you partner with Interim HealthCare for staffing?
There are so many ways we can help. Learn more about our healthcare staffing services here.