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Blog & Press/blog/3 Signs of Nursing Burnout, and Tips to Help You Cope

3 Signs of Nursing Burnout, and Tips to Help You Cope

September 30, 2014

Nursing can be a highly rewarding career. Not only do you spend your days helping people recover from - and manage - health problems, you also get to enjoy the fruits of your labor when your patients are discharged.

However, the responsibilities aren’t always glitter and gold. The fast pace of the work day and emotional stress can lead to issues down the road. Specifically, becoming burned out with nursing. The best way to deal with the problem is to nip it in the bud.

Here are 3 signs to look out for:

1) Constant Exhaustion

If you are tired day after day, that can be a warning sign of burnout. First, get a medical checkup to rule out other causes. Then, resolve to take the following steps:

Get more exercise. Exercise will give you an instant energy boost and increase your alertness. In addition, if practiced consistently over time, exercise can make you more resistant to stressful situations.

Get more rest. When you lead a busy life, it's tempting to cut back on the number of hours you sleep at night. Lack of sleep though, can exacerbate burnout, reduce your quality of life, and pose risks to your health. Try to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep a night.

2) Aversion to Work

Loss of motivation is a classic symptom of career burnout, and a signal there may be problems at work that need to be addressed. A common issue is losing control over the conditions of your job. If that's the case, consider the following options:

Address the problems directly. Being passive and hoping for the best can lead to frustration in your work environment. Take control of your workplace issues and talk to someone about them; preferably a sympathetic supervisor, if possible. Also seek social support from your co-workers.

Take control of your hours. If unpredictable hours are causing stress, consider options like travel nursing with Fastaff, where you have control over the length of your assignments.

3) Substance Abuse Problems

Abusing drugs and alcohol can start as a coping mechanism, but quickly escalate if you’re not careful. If the use of drugs or alcohol is adding to the problems in your life, that's a critical sign you shouldn't ignore. There are many programs that can help.

Burnout is a serious roadblock in the career of a nurse. By taking the proper steps and seeking help when needed, you can help ensure that the problem will only be a temporary one.

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