Nurse Burnout: Stress Management Tips

Healthy and mentally stable individuals are the backbones upon which economically viable societies are built.

Societies that desire growth and progress should have people who are fit to work and grow its fortunes. As humans, we sometimes get sick and require medical attention. Although some people have a phobia of visiting the hospital, medical experts advise that professional help be sought if symptoms persist.

When one visits a hospital, the quality of service received largely depends on the personnel on duty. Medical doctors and nurses are among the two most prominent personnel that attend to patients in hospitals. It is important that these personnels are properly motivated and incentivized for optimal performance. It is essential that nursing burnout is checkmated through proper staffing and good remuneration.


What is Nursing Burnout?

Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion due to excessive and long-lasting stress. Caregivers become unhappy and dissatisfied when they are burned out due to excessive workload or other factors.

Reasons for dissatisfaction among caregivers include the condition of service, environment, benefits packages, and staffing issues. These contribute to keeping them worn out and unable to give their best.

Given the important roles that caregivers play, no sane society can afford to have disgruntled nurses.

Causes of Nurse Burnout

Although the reason for fatigue may vary for different individuals, there are some general factors that contribute to fatigue and stress. Some of the causes of fatigue for caregivers include the following:

Emotionally Tasking Duty

One of the key reasons nurses get exhausted is the tasking nature of their job. Compared to some other professions, they often face fatal and high-stake emergencies with far-reaching implications. Facing emergencies like these often can cause emotional exhaustion.

Working Hours

The long hours that caregivers have to put in per shift can cause burnout. The long working hours sometimes caused by understaffing increase work hours with less downtime. Unfortunately, the duration they have to work sometimes takes its toll on them, thereby causing physical, mental and emotional fatigue. Longer shifts sometimes translate to higher chances of fatigue as well as patient dissatisfaction.

Turnover Rates

Sometimes, there is a lack of stability in the workforce and workers often leave or join a hospital. When this occurs, it causes stress for those that remain as the new intakes have to be onboarded and this takes time. Also, change in staffing may affect schedules and sometimes one may need to cover a shift on short notice. This can cause exhaustion.

Click here for more insights on how turnover and staffing contribute to stress among caregivers.

Sleep Duration

Clinical facts indicate that inadequate sleep is capable of impairing cognitive abilities as well as inducing mental health challenges. It is therefore no surprise that nurses are one of the most at risk to burnout. This is informed by sleep deprivation due to the long hours they have to work. It is important that caregivers have enough sleep to improve their productivity and efficiency.

Draining Tasks

Another cause of mental exhaustion among caregivers is physical tiredness from work. Added to being alert for sometimes 12-hours shift, some caregivers are tasked to help doctors through operations. These surgical procedures and other strenuous emergencies can drain nurses and impact their output.

Burnout Symptoms

There are different ways that fatigue can manifest among caregivers. These symptoms serve as indicators that one is getting stressed and should be attended to. Some of them include:

  • Feeling of panic when its time to go to work.
  • Pessimistic approach towards work.
  • No empathy for distressed patients.
  • Withdrawal from professional and personal relationships.
  • Feet dragging when requested to perform a task.
  • Reduced work ethic.
  • Heightened irritability around co-workers and patients.

Ways of Improving Satisfaction for Nurses

It is imperative that the satisfaction of caregivers is prioritized as it has direct impact on the wellbeing of patients. When a nurse is happy and up and doing, it reflects in the quality of service that patients receive. Some of ways of improving satisfaction levels are discussed below:

Make a Change

As a nurse, you can switch up your schedules, environment, and roles for better comfort. You can move from one unit to another where you’re afforded more time or roles that spice things up for you. One could get bored working in a particular unit, hospital or location. Hence, a change could benefit you by spicing things up and keeping you motivated.

Nurse-Friendly Clinics

Some hospitals could offer better conditions of service compared to others. If you feel constantly stressed at your hospital, don’t hesitate to seek other options that offer better incentives.

Seek Autonomy

If autonomy and freedom to discharge your duty matters to you, seek hospitals that will afford you the liberty to make decisions. Being involved in planning your daily routine helps to keep one happy and increase chances of satisfaction.

Balance Work and Personal Life

Sometimes, one might struggle with work-life balance. The inability to strike a balance between your work and personal life may negatively impact you as a nurse. It is pertinent to ensure you don’t prioritize one and let the other suffer.

Take Care of Yourself

Do not be so engrossed with taking care of others that you forget to take care of yourself. The caregiver also deserves care as well.

The importance of nutrition, rest, exercise, fun, family and friends, mindfulness etc. cannot be overemphasized.

Read this article for more tips on improving satisfaction at the workplace.


Nurses play a critical role in society and their disposition affects the wellbeing of patients. Hence, it is imperative that the wellbeing of caregivers be put on the front burner as much as possible.

As a nurse, do not take your satisfaction and happiness for granted as your stability has a far-reaching impact on society.

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