How to Prevent Nurse Burnout

By ShiftMed Team//Nursing Profession

Nurse burnout is mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by sustained work-related stressors.  

Today's nurses don't just pass out medications. They multi-task. The long hours, pressure to make life-impacting decisions quickly, and strain of caring for patients who may have poor outcomes are just a few sources of nurse burnout.  

Add in the stress of COVID-related protocols and illnesses, and nurses are multi-tasking under duress—from managing central lines to administered breathing treatments—and they may be at risk.  

Better Nurse Staffing: Balancing time and juggling tasks 

Burnout affects approximately 38% of nurses annually, which means almost 4 of 10 nurses will arrive at work dreading their shift. And exhaustion is not the only problem; nurse errors can create havoc for a facility.  

Nurses and facilities alike benefit when they have a plan to combat nurse burnout that lets nurses: 

  • Ask for sufficient time to administer medications.

    Medication errors occur when nurses rush to meet increased work demands or administer medications for several patients simultaneously. Nurses need time to triple-check medications, scan armbands and check allergies. It's essential to allow nurses to reschedule other tasks or ask for help.  

  • Write down stressors, then brainstorm at least one way to reduce each stressor —whether that's asking another nurse or a nurse manager for help. 

  • Delegate where possible.

    Even the most efficient nurse can be overwhelmed if they are multi-tasking plus doing tasks a subordinate can do. A nurse may also benefit from asking a friend or relative for help at home. 

  • Set boundaries and put down the device

    .Nurses can start their decompression periods by avoiding mobile phones or tablets at mealtimes or before bedtime and setting boundaries at work.  

  • Engage in healthy activities.

    Seven to eight hours of sleep, healthy foods, and exercise will all help to combat exhaustion. 

  • Seek support.

    Many health organizations offer employee assistance programs to access relaxation practices, assess stress, and provide daily strategies to relieve stress. 

  • Practice gratitude.

    Practicing gratitude for the things in life that bring joy is a significant step to feeling better. 

Last but not least, a nurse staffing app that delivers credentialed, on-demand nurses and aides in the fastest and easiest way possible can be a boon for an exhausted nurse. A simple-to-navigate staffing portal connects schedulers directly to ShiftMed's healthcare workers to ensure staffing nurses go smoothly for schedulers and nursing staff alike.