common causes of nurse burnout

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. 

Chronic fatigue

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.  

Overwhelming anxiety

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. 

Your Takeaway

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! 

 

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