5 Common Causes of Nurse Burnout
The common causes of nurse burnout are rarely talked about these days. With the pandemic still rolling, nurses often go on with their lives. But the stress and burnout nurses feel are very real. The pandemic affects the work of nurses and the different factors that make their jobs extra challenging.
The 5 Causes of Nurse Burnout
A nurse’s job is overwhelming and can be a toxic experience when the shifts are long. Of course, nurses are superheroes, and nothing seems to weigh them down. But there are plenty of other reasons why nurses are often exhausted at work. Here are common causes of nurse burnout:
#1. Stressful environment
Most nurses work in a stressful environment and often involve high-stress levels. Nurses who work in particular areas like the Emergency Rooms, Trauma Unit, or Intensive Care deal with traumatic injuries, combative patients, high mortality rates, and ethical dilemmas that put more strain on themselves. As a result, the burnout these nurses face is widespread.
#2. Short Staff
The shortage of nurses is now a real problem in many hospitals. These days nurses handle more patients nurses than they can, and with the increasing number of Covid patients, it is more likely that nurses are understaffed. There is also an increase in retiring nurses, making it harder for new nurses to adjust to their roles.
#3. Lack of Sleep
As a nurse, your job often involves working night shifts and long hours. Because of this, many nurses do not get enough sleep. And even if they do, it is not the best quality of sleep either. In a survey conducted by Kronos, 25% of nurses reported suffering from insomnia or chronic fatigue.
#4. Lack of team support
One of the many reasons for nurse burnout is when team members do not cooperate. Poor teamwork caused by conflicts, lack of communication, and bullying can lead to poor execution of nursing care. It can also lead to a toxic work environment and medical errors if many nurses do not work together.
#5. Emotional exhaustion
The main job of nurses includes patient care which is the most rewarding aspect of this profession. As a nurse, you form connections with patients and their families when you help and care for them. However, this could also lead to emotional distress for nurses, especially if they are in critical or end-of-life care.
Nurses who take care of several patients at once can also lead to emotional exhaustion. And nurses who are taking care of more than four patients in one shift have higher risks of burning out and raising each patient’s chances by 23%.
Other Reasons for Nurse Burnout
While the ones mentioned above are prevalent, there are also other reasons why some nurses are exhausted to the rim. Among these include:
- Work overload and time pressures
- Role conflicts and ambiguity
- Career development issues
- Being exposed to infectious diseases
- Needlestick injuries
- Work-related threats and violence
- Difficult patients
How to Know If You are a Burnout Nurse?
There are plenty of signs that you are already burnout as a nurse. While there are signs that you are experiencing total burnout, some nurses quickly dismiss it and continue working. If you are that nurse, then it’s time to sit back and take note of these burnout symptoms.
Gets sick easily
One of the most common signs of burnout is when you get sick often. A weakened immune system can lead to many gastrointestinal issues, heart problems, and chronic pain. If you are not careful, these can easily manifest after contracting viruses. You also experience constipation, aches, and pains.
Experiences compassion fatigue
People who become nurses are compassionate by nature. And nurses who often work with the sick and dying tend to lose their compassion after witnessing pain and suffering. Because of this, some nurses detach themselves from patients due to feelings of failure and cynicism toward their job.
Have you ever felt exhausted but cannot seem to get rid of it no matter how much you rest? Do you go to bed tired but still wake up feeling the same in the morning? It is a common sign of chronic fatigue. As a nurse, this condition is widespread. Extreme physical exhaustion, unable to catch up with sleep, and dozing off at hours when you should be awake are among the most common signs of this condition. It is often felt by nurses who work long hours on consistent shifts.
Lack of enthusiasm
When you were a new nurse, working seemed to be an exciting thing. However, as the years go on, this enthusiasm seems to fade. If you ever dread going to work and focus on going home whenever you are there, your confidence in this job is starting to die down. And that is not a good thing. Your lack of enthusiasm may lead to other issues at work.
Feelings of being unvalued
Work is part of a nurse’s life. But when you are overworked as a nurse, you may feel unappreciated and unvalued. And when this goes on for long, feelings of resentment and frustration can happen. This resentment could be towards their job, coworkers, and even their patients. It is not a good state of emotion for a nurse. If this is the case, the best step is to reach out to someone you can talk to about how you feel. You can either discuss this with your supervisor or a therapist to get the help you need.
To the general population, having anxiety is normal. It is also a part of our lives – to experience anxiety. However, when the stress becomes crippling, it can be an issue. Nurses who feel too pressured at work to the point that they cannot function normally can become a problem. Burnout can cause severe stress, which leads to insomnia or delays in daily activities. Nurses cannot give quality care when they are not feeling their best.
These are the common reasons for nurse burnout and when you feel you are going way over than you can carry, take a pause and rest. Ask for sick leave or vacation leave. Take time off to take care of yourself.
Keep in mind that nurses like you are human too. Do take time to recharge and refresh your mind and body. A few days off work will not hurt you. And remember, you must take care of yourself first before taking care of others. Make your health a priority above all else!
4 Ways to Expand Your Nursing Career
You don’t have to work in a hospital or do bedside tasks to have a successful nursing or expand your nursing career. In fact, an article on ‘Lifelong Learning and Nurses’ Continuing Professional Development’ showed that nurses are becoming more interested in their professional development to update their skills and deliver better healthcare services. More importantly, these professional development opportunities allow nurses to acquire skills and knowledge that will help them get closer to their career goals.
Indeed, these professional development activities are important because they can widen your career horizons. The good news is that there are plenty of learning opportunities that nurses can take part in. So if you’re interested in advancing and expanding your career as a nurse, you should try doing the following strategies:
Involve yourself in research efforts
Nurse researchers design and implement studies, which is why they often start their careers as research assistants, clinical data coordinators, or clinical research monitors. To become a nurse researcher, you need to earn a master’s or even a doctorate degree before obtaining at least two years of experience in conducting clinical research. Once they have two years of full-time experience, they’ll need to get a research certification from The Society for Clinical Research Associates or The Association of Clinical Research Professionals.
This is one of the Career Alternatives for Nurses that have stricter qualifications because nurse researchers study diseases, treatments, and medications. These professionals often work in laboratories or universities where they learn and share new insights that could benefit the field of medicine.
Develop your soft skills to become a qualified leader
You can positively change the current organization you work for by becoming a nurse leader. Educational qualifications are not necessary for this role, but the American Nurses Association recommends that you develop your foundational leadership competencies to adapt to external pressures and crises. These competencies are primarily soft skills, such as good decision-making, team-building, diplomacy, and adaptability. These soft skills can be developed through experience, but you can also learn them through online courses or professional development classes.
Nurse leaders need these soft skills because they manage nursing teams and serve as knowledge resources in clinical settings. Nurse leaders also fulfill human resource and administrative functions, making it crucial to learn how to run a team with empathy and authority.
Earn a specialization to become a practitioner
If you want to work independently of healthcare organizations, one career path you can consider is becoming a nurse practitioner. Our article on the ‘Highest Paying Nursing Careers’ notes that you have to earn an additional Master of Science in Nursing degree or even pursue a Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree to pursue this path. You must also obtain national certification and state APRN licensure to qualify as a nurse practitioner.
However, all that effort will be worth it because nurse practitioners earn a good salary. Aside from being a high-paying career path, there are remote opportunities for nurse practitioners in Iowa, Pennsylvania, and other states with nursing shortages. Through these opportunities, nurse practitioners can pursue specializations in pediatrics, behavioral health, and women’s health while enjoying the perks that come with working from home. Nurse practitioners can even provide care to patients throughout their lifespan, guaranteeing more career security.
Seek a mentor that can hone your entrepreneurial skills
You can also be your own boss by becoming a nurse entrepreneur. Nurse entrepreneurs simply need to complete their bachelor’s degree and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to run a qualified nurse business. However, researchers from Chicago and Maryland emphasize that nurse entrepreneurs can experience more tremendous success through formal and informal mentorship programs. Mentors can teach entrepreneurial skills and broaden the business network of nurses, which is why nurse entrepreneurs rank them as the most critical ingredient for success.
So if you’re aspiring to sell health products or services, you can find a business mentor by joining professional networking events or industry meetups. You can also join mentorship platforms like MentorCruise or Clarity to work with professionals who can develop your entrepreneurial skills.
You can expand your nursing career to new heights, especially if you’re willing to invest in your own skills development. Whether you plan to get formal or informal training, you can ensure that your new competencies and knowledge can greatly contribute to your new career path.
9 Ways to Survive the Night Shift for New Nurses
There are plenty of us who work the night shift, and nurses, in particular, have ways to survive the night shift. Now, if you are a new nurse and are assigned on your first night shift, here are ways to get through the night.
9 Ways to Survive the Night Shift
Working as a night shift nurse can be both rewarding and demanding. Depending on where you are assigned, you can either love your assignment or hate it. So, how can you survive working the night shift? Here are nine ways:
1. Set your night shift schedule.
One of the first challenges you will encounter as a first-time night shift nurse is sleep. When you are used to sleeping at night, sleeping during the day may be problematic. To avoid this, clear a schedule when you will sleep after your shift and then stick to it. Of course, this will be entirely up to you.
2. Stick to a routine that works for you.
Time management is essential as a night shift nurse. Create a routine that works and stick to it. Whether scheduling your time with friends, family, or yourself, a schedule that works for you is vital.
3. Get enough sleep.
Working on a night shift can mess up your body clock. That said, you must create an environment conducive to sleep. A quiet, darkened room, an eye mask, and disconnecting yourself from everything can help you get the sleep you need .
4. Keep caffeine to a minimum.
One of the ways to survive the night shift is drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks. Although this helps keep you awake, drinking too much caffeine is not healthy. It is recommended to drink coffee about 20 to 35 minutes before starting your work to keep you alert for the night. It would also be best to limit your coffee to at least two cups.
5. Bring healthy snacks and stay hydrated.
It is common to get hungry at night time. If you think you will be hungry on your shift, snacks can help you. However, I would recommend you eat a full meal an hour before going on your night shift .
Choosing healthy snacks to bring is essential. Keep in mind that gaining weight is easy when working a night shift. Our metabolism is slower at night, which also makes our digestion slow. Healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, salad, granola bars, and other healthy options are excellent if you don’t want to gain weight.
6. Watch your health.
Many night shift workers are prone to health risks, which is why sticking to a healthy diet is a must. As a nurse, you must check your health as well. Insomnia, diabetes, increased blood pressure, colds, and a weakened immune system are just a few of the health issues that night shift nurses may experience.
7. Keep yourself busy.
One of the many challenges of night shift nurses is to stay awake throughout the night. It is hard to keep your eyes open when you don’t get enough sleep the day before your shift. To keep yourself awake, find activities that can help your stay up all night.
When I was doing my night shifts, one of the ways that helped me stay up was to arrange the supply closet. I made sure that everything was in order and checked for lacking supplies. Not only did it make the supply closet neat, but it was also easier to track which items were out.
You can also find activities like that. Keeping yourself busy for the night will keep your mind awake and alert.
8. Mingle with your co-workers.
One of the ways to survive the night shift is to form a bond with your co-workers. Spend time getting to know the people you are working with and form new friendships. It will make things easier at work, especially at night.
Remember, there are only limited people to ask for help during night shifts, and the ones you can rely on are each other. Socialize with your co-workers, and you will see that work is accomplished accordingly.
9. Simple exercises can do the trick.
Keeping yourself busy is helpful but staying active is another way to keep you awake. Simple exercises like walking or stretching can keep your blood pumping. When your body is awake, your mind is too. So doing a few simple exercises will keep you up all night.
Working the night shift is not always easy, but there are ways to keep you alert and ready. Do your research, too; you may find other ways to help you survive the night shift that is not included in our list. It will help you prepare and take care of yourself better.
8 Career Alternatives for Nurses: Part 2
Our previous post tackled the eight career alternatives for nurses that you can choose to work in if you are looking for a career change. In this second part, we have added other nursing career options that you might enjoy doing in this second part.
What are Your Choices?
If you want to boost your career as a nurse, trying these alternatives may work out for you. Here are eight choices to choose from:
Academic Nurse Writer
Have you heard about this position? An academic nurse writer is a job where nurses work outside of patient care. Nurse writers often enjoy a lucrative career in healthcare-related companies like pharmaceutical, insurance, and other patient care services.
What they do is they create nursing-related content for websites, like training manuals or textbooks which tailors the information to the general public or other nursing professionals.
It is an excellent opportunity for nurses with a good background in research, writing, communication, and health services. And the best part of this is that all you need is a BSN to qualify. The average income for an academic nurse writer is $73,500 each year.
Nurse Health Coach
Do you have an interest in working with one client or patient at a time? How about helping people achieve their health goals? If yes, becoming a nurse health coach is one of the career alternatives for nurses to pursue.
A nurse health coach is a nurse who works one-on-one with clients to help them keep a healthy lifestyle and prevent health conditions from happening. They usually work in healthcare facilities, insurance companies, and social services .
Nurses in this job often create a diet plan, monitor clients, and establish safe exercise routines. It is also part of their work to help motivate clients to be in their best health.
To qualify for the position, you should have a BSN. However, some employers don’t mind. Nurses with an associate degree can also be eligible for this position. If you want to earn more, it would be best to have a BSN degree instead. The average income for this position is $49,000 per year.
Public Health Nurse
Another exciting career alternative for nurses is to work as a public health nurse. This job addresses community health care, and nurses who choose to work in this area have the opportunity to be in social service agencies. They can also work in schools and nonprofit groups.
The main job of nurses in this profession is to identify at-risk groups and individuals and develop preventive care programs. These programs have also been proven helpful, especially now that we are experiencing the stress of this pandemic.
For a nurse to qualify for this job, one must have a Master of Science in Nursing degree in addition to their RN license. Both degrees are needed to earn more in this nursing field. The average income for public health nurses is $59,500 per year.
If you are interested in taking care of patients with Alzheimer’s, and terminally ill patients, and providing assistance to their families, being a hospice nurse is the ideal job for you. As a hospice nurse, your job is to administer pain medication, provide nursing care, and monitor the patient’s vital signs.
If your patient is at the end stage of life, maintaining comfort is also an essential part of your job. The hospice nurse also must provide emotional and educational support to the patient’s family.
A BSN degree is needed for a nurse to qualify for this job. Additional hospice care and palliative nurse certifications are also helpful for nurses seeking employment. The average salary for a hospice nurse is $70,000 each year or more, depending on the certificate and training.
One of the most in-demand jobs for nurses belongs to this area. Usually, dialysis nurses work for nursing facilities, hospitals, clinics, or private dialysis nurses. They care for patients who have kidney-related illnesses, where they develop treatment plans and conduct dialysis procedures for the patients.
It would be best if you had at least a BSN and RN to qualify for the job. Other employers may also require candidates to be certified nephrology nurses or have nurse dialysis credentials to further allow for the position. The average salary for dialysis nurses is $71,100 per year.
Legal Nurse Consultant
A legal nurse consultant is a nurse who specializes in researching medical and disability cases, employment records, and other legal documents. They also make recommendations that give legal proceedings. insurance cases and law enforcement investigations the information they need.
Interested nurses must be licensed RNs who have completed an associate degree in this field. You can also be a legal nurse consultant if you have a BSN with clinical and case management experience, specialized legal certification, and paralegal training.
You might also consider becoming a nurse attorney if you are interested in pursuing a law degree if you already have a BSN. The average income for a legal nurse consultant is $79,000 to $80,000 per year.
Disease Prevention Nurse
Nurses who want a career in the nursing field but does not require them to be in a hospital setting can work as disease prevention nurse. Their job is to research diseases, and how it spreads to patients, the community, and healthcare workers.
Once they have the data they need, disease prevention nurses will analyze it and decide how to contain it, prevent it from spreading, and more. Nurses in this area can work in nursing homes, hospitals, and even private practices.
Before qualifying for the position, applicants must have nursing experience first. They are also required to have at least a BSN under their belt. The average income for disease prevention nurses is $85,000 or more, depending on the degree they hold and their nursing experience.
Do you enjoy traveling? Are you a nurse who isn’t bothered by flying? If yes, then being a flight nurse is perfect! As one of the best nursing career jobs, this is a popular alternative for nurses who do not want to work in hospitals .
One of your primary duties as a flight nurse is to handle stressful situations while on the flight. It could be an emergency situation too, for example, a passenger on board had a heart attack. It is your role to provide emergency aid.
Flight nurses can also work on rescue planes where they help provide emergency care. It usually involves patients transported to hospitals via airlift.
Usually, flight nurses work in trauma centers, hospitals, fire departments, and many others. According to reports, this job will grow by 15% by 2026. Depending on their employers, flight nurses can earn $67,000 to $80,000 per year.
What is the Best Nursing Career Option?
All nursing fields offer unique experiences and may help increase your skills. The best ones are the ones you enjoy working as a nurse. Whether you choose to be a legal consultant or a dialysis nurse, loving the job and providing the best nursing care to your patients matter most!
To know more about nursing career options, click here for the first part.
8 Career Alternatives for Nurses: Part 1
There are plenty of career alternatives for nurses. Being a nurse is one of the most respected and rewarding jobs globally. But if you don’t want to do bedside nursing? Are there any career alternatives for nurses?
8 Career Alternatives for Nurses to Choose From
Unlike other jobs, nursing has increased career growth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a growth of 7% in nursing employment over the next few years. That said, you should be able to pick a job within this field that does not involve working as a traditional nurse.
If you are wondering what kind of careers you can work as a non-traditional nurse, here are your options:
A nurse nutritionist is an excellent option for those nurses who are into healthy diets and lifestyles. Your job is to consult patients and help improve their health through diet and nutrition.
Working in this nursing field allows you to work in a medical facility with patients who are dealing with medical conditions involving diet. One of your jobs includes encouraging them to eat and offering healthy options.
Extra training is needed for nurses who are planning to become a nutritionist. The average income for nurse nutritionists is around $50,737 yearly. It also depends on their training and certifications.
2. Nurse Manager
If you enjoy working in the hospital, a nurse manager is a good career alternative for nurses. Nurse managers are also known as nurse administrators. They help manage and supervise registered nurses at work.
As a nurse manager, your role is to run a nursing department, supervise teams of nurses, or help manage the clinical facility. This position often requires a Master’s in Nursing degree (MSN).
The average income for nurse managers is around $101,000 per year. California ranks as the state for highest-paid nurse managers.
3. Nurse Researcher
Nurse researchers learn about medicine, how medications interact, and the study of the human body. If you enjoy researching scientific data, this job is a good choice.
Many nurse researchers work in laboratories or universities. They conduct research to study, test their research, and help find a way to improve the results. Researching diseases, treatments, and other health-related topics are valuable in the healthcare industry.
A nurse researcher also writes books, consults, and teaches classes. They also speak at conferences. The average income for nurse researchers is around $95,000, yearly.
4. Telemedicine Nurse
One of the best career alternatives for nurses belongs to telemedicine nurses. This job combines technology and nursing skills to help patients within the comfort of their homes. It is a good option for nurses who want to help patients who are living in remote areas. They also help patients suffering from chronic conditions who need to stay at home and not go to a hospital.
As the pandemic rolls on, it’s reported that telehealth visits have increased to 50% as of March 2020. If you want to in work in this area, experience as a floor nurse is a must. The average income for telemedicine nurses is around $75,000.
5. Forensic Nurse
For fans of forensic science, working in this field would be a dream come true. And for nurses interested in this field, working as a forensic nurse is an option for you.
The work of a forensic nurse is often stressful but very rewarding. Your job includes working with the legal systems and providing care for victims of violent crimes.
One of your primary duties is to gather medical evidence to use in court proceedings. You may even testify in court to back up the pieces of evidence you present. Many forensic nurses often work in correctional facilities or various hospital settings. An estimated $89,000 is the average nurse pay in this field.
6. Nurse Lobbyist
Another job that you must consider is becoming a nurse lobbyist. What do these nurses do? As a nurse lobbyist, you will work for communities, states, and countries. You will also work alongside lawmakers that government agencies use nurse lobbyists.
These nurses help analyze data and health laws to improve them. The average income for nurse lobbyists is around $100,000. But if you have a higher degree or education and years of experience, you can earn even more.
7. Clinical Nurse Educator
If you love working in an academic setting, this is your chance to work as a clinical nurse educator. The main job description for this profession is to teach and mentor aspiring nurses.
Your general role is a teacher nurse. You will be administering tests, overseeing internships, and facilitating lessons. You will also be mentoring nursing students in class or hospital settings.
A clinical nurse educator may also work in a medical facility. They help develop opportunities for current staff nurses and offer them ongoing training. The average income for clinical nurse educators is around $87,700.
8. Nurse consultant
Many nurse consultants work with legal teams, offering their advice and consultation to those working in cases involving medical details. These nurses help assist, check medical charts, and often act as expert witnesses.
They can also work for a medical facility, hospital, or nursing home. They offer their consultation and recommend individual treatment plans for patients.
Those who are already experienced in this field help check the current qualifications of nursing staff and help improve them.
Your career as a nurse is not a boring one; there is always something to do! Of course, there are other career alternatives for nurses that you can choose from. We will tackle them in Part 2 of this post. And now that you know the different options for your career as a nurse, go ahead and check them out. You might find something you will enjoy doing for a long time!
The Together While Apart Art Project
The Together While Apart Project is a project made for nurses. Being a nurse in this pandemic is undoubtedly trying. We’ve been placed in a situation that most of us are unprepared for. No matter how good you are in your job as a nurse or anywhere in the world, the pandemic tested our strength, knowledge, skills, patience, and mental health.
As frontliners, we trudge on to battle like soldiers, fighting this invisible enemy to help protect the community and country we serve. It is why we are so grateful for the people who rallied and supported us, nurses, all the way. We thank the community for sending their help and for people like Deane Bower, artist, founder, and creator of The Together While Apart Project.
What is The Together While Apart Art Project?
The Together While Apart Project is a collaborative art project and fundraiser for the American Nurses Foundation, created in 2020 at the height of the ongoing pandemic. It features the fantastic artworks of 19 artists from across the country, representing nine states and coasts.
The painting represents Hope, Healing, and Light, the characteristics that Healthcare Professionals so beautifully epitomized in such a complex and unprecedented period. It also describes the love and support of all healthcare workers, especially nurses.
After its completion, the artwork traveled around the country for ten months. By June 2022, it finally found its home in the halls of The University of Virginia Medical Center, which now hangs in the lobby of their Main Hospital. It also received national recognition from the Smithsonian Institute, ChannelKindness.org, and NOAH (National Organization of Arts in Health), among many other well-known organizations.
The American Nurses Association has established a fund in the name of The Together While Apart Project as part of ANA’s Foundation and Wellness Initiative Programs to give back to all nurses. It will provide nurses throughout the country free services such as mental and physical wellness, job enrichment programs, and financial planning. The goal is to reach $20,200, where funds raised are already up to $12,000.
In light of this campaign, Cup of Nurses encourages everyone to help our fellow nurses. Let us all find a way to honor nurses and thank them for their tireless efforts in serving everyone during this pandemic here in our country and across the globe.
To learn more about this campaign and fundraising or if you would like to donate to this cause, click on the link below 👇
You can also Google the American Nurses Foundation, Inc. – Together While Apart Fundraiser for more information.
We believe that we can fight this pandemic together. So, let us help each other. Now is the best time to show our love and support to our heroes in healthcare; let us give back to our nurses!