Nursing is regarded as an ethical and reliable profession in Canada. Nurses care for the infected, injured, and scared patients while having a commendable knack for healing the bodies, minds, and souls of patients. As a career path, nursing in Canada tends to attract naturally empathetic and compassionate professionals. However, these qualities leave many professionals prone to the burnout and something that is used to explain the physical, mental, and emotional fatigue that is experienced on the job. This shouldn’t frighten young nursing students to enrol on nursing courses in Canada and pursue their dream of becoming global nurses. There are some ways in which nurse burnout as a problem can be prevented as a nurse tends to journey through his/her profession. Keep reading to learn more about burnout among nurses and its causes, symptoms and steps that must be taken to cope with it.
What is Nurse Burnout?
Burnout is a phenomenon that is characterized by an overall reduction in the nurse’s energy. IT manifests in emotional exhaustion, lack of motivation, and feelings of frustration that can reduce work efficacy. It must be noted that burnout is similar to the work stress but it has its effects of feeling drained. It is characterised by an over engagement that comes with a job. Work burnout and stress can lead to nurse burnout. If a nurse feels stressed at work, they must take control to rectify the situation. The longer they feel stressed, the more likely they are to feel burnout and exhausted. When an employee begins to feel engaged, they start letting go until they finally reach a point when they do not feel engaged at all. The emotional and mental exhaustion that comes as a result of stress leads to burnout in a profession.
Causes of Nurse Burnout:
There are many causes of burnout. The common ones are mentioned below:
- Long hours of work and overnight shifts
- High stress-inducing environments
- Managing too many things single-handedly
- Bullying and harassment from patients, sometimes even doctors
- Lack of benefits
- Dissatisfaction with the job overall
Why Does Nurse Burnout Matter?
Nurse burnout and taking note of it is important for many reasons. The most important one out of many is that most nurses feel unhappy and disengaged from their work which is a reality that is harmful to mental wellness. In addition, nurse burnout has serious negative consequences for patients as well. They are more likely to feel dissatisfied with the quality of care and suffer from worse health outcomes when the nurses feel burned out. Burned ou nurses often miss out on changes in their patient’s health while moving slowly and not being around for a crisis. Sometimes, they may also be distracted from work and more. When nurses feel burned out, their mental, physical, and emotional health are all at a risk.
Symptoms of Nurse Burnout:
In case the nurse burnout is not addressed in the right ways then it can lead to many symptoms. Some of these symptoms are mentioned below.
- Constant Fatigue: With burnout, you can experience constant fatigue while going to bed tired. It can also be challenging to find the time for exercising, enjoying time with your near and dear ones, and falling asleep.
- Overworked: Burnout and feeling drained have a lot to do with feeling overworked. This is a feeling that leads to frustration and even resentment which is actually unhealthy for many nurses.
- Lack of Energy: Burnout can cause a lot of what once held enjoyment in the nursing profession. Nurses who experience burnout may also dread going to work but once they are there, they only focus on going home. This leads to a lack of focus on patient care.
- Compassion Fatigue: Many nurses enter the nursing profession because they identify as compassionate individuals who wish to care for others. The emotional stress they experience and the pain they feel can cause them to lose their compassion. They may also begin to experience detachment from their patients, cynicism, and failure.
Addressing Nurse Burnout and Its Causes:
Nurses are pretty vulnerable when it comes to nurse burnout because they can usually get caught in the middle of following administrative policies and providing competent patient care. In their integrated effort of trying to balance these two things, they may miss out on self-care. Nursing education in Canada stresses preventing and overcoming burnout while being at work. However, the nurses are often caught up in their work to the point that they fail to see the signs of it and in case that happens, it becomes challenging to prevent. Not only can burnout affect the nurses themselves, but it can also lead to less effective treatment for patients. Nurses might find themselves becoming forgetful and sometimes they also end up making mistakes. The catch is that nurse burnout and its effects can actually surface in many ways but it is mostly related to common symptoms such as fatigue, dreading going to work, feeling unappreciated, and feeling overworked. Across the continuum of healthcare, many facilities have been doing their best to prevent nurse burnout because the negative effects of burnout in professionals can be long lasting. Burnout can also affect the healthcare system at a level that no one can ignore. Hence, nursing leaders or supervisors focus on identifying any signs of burnout in nurses so that the hospital nurse staffing and nurses do not suffer. Moreover, nurses should also take preventive measures because no matter in which way, nurse burnout is bad for everyone. The good news is that it can be prevented. Let’s see how in the steps mentioned below.
Tips to Overcome Nurse Burnout: Nursing Courses in Canada
There are some workable tips of nurse burnout and what must be done to manage it if you are a nurse. These tips are associated with the nursing profession and can be followed for overcoming stressful situations at work.
1. Practicing Healthy Living:
One of the best ways to manage extreme situations of burnout or any unavoidable stress is to make sure that you are practising healthy living. As a nurse, you should be eating well so that your body is full of nutrients that are needed on an everyday basis to function well. In addition, you can also indulge in some aerobic activity because that is an excellent method to combat stress. It helps in reducing adrenaline and cortisol while also stimulating the production of endorphins. Regularly following an exercise routine is one of the most important parts of healthy living. Also, remember to take some time for unwinding your body and clearing of mind. Be it for an as small-time period as five minutes, but nurses must take some time off to do things that bring them mental relief. All things including eating well, exercising regularly, and meditating help to keep your mind focused, the body strong, and emotions at ease. They form an important part of healthy living and must be stressed.
2. Having a Supportive Network:
Having a network of professionals supporting you is always one of the best moves for a nurse. Particularly, a nurse must have contacts within the field or work setting for getting support at the time of need. Even though family members or friends of the nurses can offer useful insights and sympathy, almost nothing compares to the solidarity of other nurses. This is because other nurses are able to understand exactly what your work demands and they are also able to support you at work when you need it the most. As a nurse, one has to deal with many stressors while working such as patient death and difficult diagnoses. At these times, a supportive professional network is very useful. This is the reason why other nurses who are familiar with your struggles can be a source of comfort and immense relief. Even on better days, a good nursing network can make a huge difference in helping you achieve career growth and fulfil your career aspirations. You can connect with nurses on common interests and explore the potential that your profession holds.
3. Being Organized:
Nurses often hear about the importance of an organized and disciplined life but not many of them really understand it to a point that they implement it in their lives. The practice of being organized is actually more important than ever in nursing. In fact, being organized is actually an effective way of burnout management that can help nurses in leading a good personal and professional life. An organized life helps a nurse to keep a track of everything while offering an excellent way to deal with anxiety and other common problems. In case you are a student who is or wishes to study nursing courses in Canada, now is the best time to adopt this habit. On the other hand, if you are past that stage, even then you can start right away simply because it is never too late to inculcate good habits. You can start by setting priorities on an everyday basis because that helps in setting your mind in the right direction. Moreover, it will also help in planning daily tasks and getting them done timely. As an advice, consider coming to work at least 15 minutes early and reviewing all tasks so that you can figure out the most efficient way of performing and overcoming stress.
4. Engaging in Mindfulness:
The simple ability to be in the moment is important for a nurse. Nursing professionals should be able to make instant decisions while giving complete attention to the task they have at hand. In order to ensure 100% concentration, practising mindfulness is an excellent practice. Habits such as meditating and practising yoga can help a nurse stay calm and collected. These mindfulness practices also help to slow down, listen actively, and focus on what lies ahead. Nurses should always stay mindful of any signs such as the need to eat something, sit down, or sleep. Taking some time to shut your eyes and taking equal breaths also helps in feeling grounded. Whatever the practice might be, the goal is always to stay grounded and maintain a mindful presence. This helps in overcoming any kind of stress and anxiety that might surround a nurse while on the job.
5. Spending More Time in Nature:
Spending time in nature or even sitting and looking at beautiful landscapes can help in reducing any negative feelings such as stress, fear, or anger. In fact, it provides tangible physiological benefits for stress management. When you spend more time in nature, you will feel your blood pressure being balanced, your heart rate being optimal, muscle tension being relieved, and there will be a reduction in stress hormone production. Irrespective of whether you are a student completing your nursing education or a practising nurse, try to spend some time in nature getting refreshed. When you go out and breathe in the fresh air, you will also be able to feel more grounded and in the moment. This will ultimately help burnout in feeling fresh, healthy, and rejuvenated at the same time. Anytime you feel overworked, take some time to go out and connect with nature so that can be at peace with yourself and your work.
6. Choosing a Hobby:
In case your days are only about waking up, going to work, coming home, and sleeping then this is a major indication of a change. Choosing a hobby or doing something that you thoroughly enjoy will help in elevating your mood and add much-needed positivity to your life. Regardless of whether you are a student who is studying for a 2 years nursing program in Canada or if you are working as a nurse, picking up a hobby will elevate your happiness quotient. Many nurses have natural talents. They choose nursing as a profession because they are passionate about it but keeping up with a hobby helps in exploring different interests. Choosing a hobby that brings alive an entirely different part of you can help in coping with burnout. You can do anything like cooking, writing, singing, photography, dancing, etc. All you need is just twenty minutes of a day to do something that genuinely makes you happy and provides you with much-needed entertainment that can benefit you in the long run. Whatever you choose, just ensure that you are doing it simply because you enjoy it and not because it is an obligation. Otherwise, it will not bring you joy. If you choose something that you genuinely enjoy doing then your stress levels will be reduced automatically.
Taking care of the patients and helping them lead healthy life is something that comes naturally to nurses. However, they should first realize that caring for others starts with caring for the self. If nurses do not care for themselves then they will not be able to be effective in their work environment. They will also be increasingly prone to experiencing burnout and nursing professionals should be encouraged to be mindful of their needs, feelings, and emotions. This can help them understand their concerns and take effective steps to ensure a successful, long, and happy professional life.