What are the first signs of burnout?

  1. What could I expect to see in myself or others if burnout was just starting; and, what could be done to prevent it? I seems so hard to disguish between being just plain exhausted from overwork in an understaffed/underequipped environment . With 1/2 the staff already fully burnt and miserable to work with , I do not want to become like them. What can I do other than finding a new job???

    The 40+ bed ED (Level 1 Trauma center) where I work has just announced budget cuts which include mandatory go-home for the per diem nurses, aides and housekeeping staff, no more overtime, no new equipment (we already fight over the 2 working dynamap machines, 3 working monitored floor beds, 2 pulse ox and 4 thermometers). Feels like third world nursing already---now, nurses are turning on each other in order to make sure someone other than themselves are canned if the cuts go further. I'm just plain too tired to look for another postion right now and want to avoid burning out. Can anyone offer some advise on how to detach myself from what is going on around me?
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    When, after some time off, you still can't stand the idea of going to work.

    When you find no pleasure in what you do anymore.
  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    nurses and burnout
    what you can do to prevent it
    http://www.nurseweek.com/features/97-2/burn.html


    warning signs: http://www.nurseweek.com/features/97-2/burn2.html
  5. by   caliotter3
    Assess your "presence" at your job at this time. How do you perceive your standing with the people who would have input into the decisions over layoffs? Be as objective with yourself as possible. If you perceive yourself as low person in a dogpile there, then calmly put some time and effort into alternatives.

    Otherwise, think about how you present yourself. If your "game face" is drooping a little, then improve it. You want to be at least as far under the radar as possible to keep yourself from being one of the first considered to go.

    Getting on anyone's good side or turning into a little workplace suck up or whatever to gain favor (of course you know sometimes all kinds of negative beh works, depending on the mgr's style and vulnerabilities) is not an option. You don't sound like that type of person to begin with.

    The name of the game is survive, so go in, do the job, stay away from the griping and backbiting, backstabbing as much as possible. At least you are aware that trouble's abrewing when it comes to job security. Many times, people get canned and there wasn't a clue, much less an announcement.

    I wasn't trying to insult your intelligence in this post, b/c I assume you have been in the workforce long enough to know that everything I said is pretty basic. You are the person in the best position to maintain your own morale level. Hope everything blows over as much as possible. Good luck to you.

    Been There, Done That!
  6. by   stillpressingon
    Quote from TazziRN
    When, after some time off, you still can't stand the idea of going to work.
    Great advice from Tazzi. It's so easy to be in the middle of a shift with a the-most-difficult-pt-ever-to-walk-the-planet and walk off the shift going, there's no way I can go back. That's soooo incredibly different than what you're going through with co-workers especially. I've found in my own work that in so many ways co-workers make all the difference and it can be extremely taxing emotionally when there're unsupportive or especially what you're experiencing with the back-biting.

    Hugs to you as you decide what to do! You're in a tough spot
  7. by   ckben
    Quote from TazziRN
    When, after some time off, you still can't stand the idea of going to work.

    When you find no pleasure in what you do anymore.
    i'll add this: when you wake up in the morning and dread the next time you go back to work, even if it's 3-4 days down the road.

    another thing i've noticed: if you start losing your patience with people and things that you would never have lost patience with before. when you sigh at the secretary for telling you one of your patients called for something, even though you know they're just doing their job.

    when you routinely come home and start telling your spouse about all the lousy things about your work instead of the cool things you did that day or the rewarding things you saw.

    when you're asked in a staff meeting to name something the floor is doing right and you have to think REALLY hard...
  8. by   CseMgr1
    Quote from TazziRN
    When, after some time off, you still can't stand the idea of going to work.

    When you find no pleasure in what you do anymore.
    Bingo.
  9. by   angel337
    i don't thnk you are doing yourself any justice by staying in that miserable place. it is ridiculous to expect people to work safely and efficiently in an environment like that. i know it is a pain in the butt to look for another job. but in your case that seems like the only solution. i too was in a similar situation. i work in a level 1 trauma now in a better staffed hospital and i don't regret it one bit.
  10. by   BouBou
    My Hubby, who is an engineer, had a workshop on this subject. The person giving the workshop said "You know you are burntout when you want to go on vaction from your job for 20+ years and never want to come back". However she said that there was a way to recover from being burntout but I can't remember.
    Last edit by BouBou on Feb 10, '07
  11. by   Pepper The Cat
    When you wake up in the morning and dread going to work. When you have to dig really really deep to find your compassion. When your back hurts after a moving a patient and your first thought is not am I seriously hurt, but how many days off can I get out of this? And finally, when your unhappiness with work spills over into your personal life.
  12. by   ORSmurf
    When after you've taken time off (like a week or two) and you still dread going back to work. When you find yourself crying and depressed about work on a regular basis. When you almost get in a car accident on the way to work and instead of being relieved for the near miss, you almost wish you had been in the accident in order to get out of work!
  13. by   burn out
    When you get calloused and bitter and feel like you can't make a difference anymore and really don't care. When you start going through the motions and your heart just isn't in it anymore.

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