Getting burned out

  1. 0 Hello...

    I think a mixture of the winter blahs, our census being very high, and about a quarter of our staff being out sick I am heading towards burn out. We have a baby who has been tortured by us for the past 5 months getting ready to leave this world, which is really affecting me. I am glad she will finally be in peace, but the thought of what she must feel kills me.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get through this difficult time on my unit? I know that this is just one of the low times and that things will get better again. I went to the mall and wasn't in the mood to buy anything (big red flag). All the usual things that cheer me up aren't working right now.
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  3. Visit  Imafloat profile page

    About Imafloat

    From 'NC'; Joined Sep '04; Posts: 1,311; Likes: 1,064.

    12 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  elizabells profile page
    1
    No suggestions, just support. I'm sure it won't shock anyone to hear I'm in about the same position as you are right now. Darn it, I don't WANT to get hard, like the nurse who mocked me for going to my primary baby's funeral! But how do we go on, month after month, crying over these kids?

    ((((WeeBabyRN))))
    Imafloat likes this.
  5. Visit  Imafloat profile page
    0
    Quote from elizabells
    No suggestions, just support. I'm sure it won't shock anyone to hear I'm in about the same position as you are right now. Darn it, I don't WANT to get hard, like the nurse who mocked me for going to my primary baby's funeral! But how do we go on, month after month, crying over these kids?

    ((((WeeBabyRN))))
    Thank you!

    I was talking to another nurse at lunch last week about all of this and she told me that I had to learn to leave it at work. I asked her to tell me how, because after taking care of someone for 5 or 6 months I truly love them and they sometimes come to my mind.
  6. Visit  hikernurse profile page
    1
    Quote from WeeBabyRN
    Thank you!

    I was talking to another nurse at lunch last week about all of this and she told me that I had to learn to leave it at work. I asked her to tell me how, because after taking care of someone for 5 or 6 months I truly love them and they sometimes come to my mind.
    If she gives you any words of wisdom, let us know. I haven't figured out how to leave the little ones at work. We have a pretty good-sized unit and I find obits for my patients every week or two .

    In some way, I think that by remembering the babies, we are honoring their presence on earth, for however long their time lasts.

    I wish I had some good advice for you, but like Eliza, just support. {{{{{WeeBaby}}}}}.

    Maybe you need to call in sick for a week. Your mental wellbeing is as important as your physical health. If we worked together, I'd be happy to pick up your shifts for a few days .
    Imafloat likes this.
  7. Visit  preemieRNkate profile page
    1
    Just wanted to send some support and hugs to you! :icon_hug:

    Sometimes when things get bad up by me, it helps me to go through the pictures and cards that families send us. Something about reading the thanks and praise and seeing pictures of happy, healthy babies reminds me why I do this.
    Imafloat likes this.
  8. Visit  Sweeper933 profile page
    1
    As others have stated - mental health days are definitely needed every now and then. After a hard night, a lot of times a bunch of us will go out to breakfast. It always feels good to get some good food, and to just discuss everything that happened during the night ( a really bad code for example...)

    Time is also a very good thing...
    Imafloat likes this.
  9. Visit  Elvish profile page
    1
    Do you keep a journal? Writing is really cathartic for me.
    I also take Zoloft. I don't mean to sound like antidepressants are the cure-all, but they do help sometimes.

    It took me a LONG time to learn how to leave work at work. I don't know how it happened, it just did. But I still think about patients that I've gotten close to or that I took care of for weeks on end, or whose situation really touched me. That makes you a good nurse.

    Also - does your facility have some sort of Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? Usually it's a firm the hospital contracts with to provide a few free sessions of counseling, be it financial, marital, family, job or addiction related stress. I've been and it really helped. Usually it's about 6-8 sessions they give you for free per situation, and that may just be enough to get you over the hump.

    Hugs and peace to you. (((((WeeBaby)))))
    Imafloat likes this.
  10. Visit  RainDreamer profile page
    0
    Quote from WeeBabyRN
    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get through this difficult time on my unit?
    If you find out, let me know.

    (((((HUGS)))))
  11. Visit  babiesbottlesdiapers profile page
    0
    I have worked in the NICU for 13 years now. You will go through waves of burn out-it is unavoidable. There are a few things you can do though.

    1-take a mental health day--spend the whole day at home with a book or comedy, bubble bath, etc
    2-I started a little photo album years ago of patients that touched my heart-behind each photo I write some notes and thoughts about the situation and the baby.
    3-As soon as I leave work I literally let my hair down, change shoes in the car, and blast music all the way home.I keep a knapsack that is only for work and don't bring anything to work that I will use on my days off.
    4-See if you can do a shift once in awhile in the regular nursery--it can help to see that not every baby is born with problems.
    Hope it helps
  12. Visit  RN mom of 2 profile page
    0
    I asked her to tell me how, because after taking care of someone for 5 or 6 months I truly love them and they sometimes come to my mind.
    You are a very special person to feel this way. Reading that made me want to cry. I think being a compassionate person can be a curse as much as it is a blessing. I'm not working as an RN right now, but I can tell you, I would feel the same way. The one thing that gets me through is prayer. Since death is a spiritual matter, I seek spiritual help. Take care.
  13. Visit  littlepeach profile page
    0
    I kind of feel like if I ever get to the point that I don't care, I need a new profession. I have also been to funerals. It is my way of closure. I do try to leave most of it at work, and I have gotten better at it. I called in sick for two weeks last month. It just made me want to stay out longer. I am really looking forward to the time change, maybe it will help us all.
  14. Visit  Imafloat profile page
    0
    Quote from preemieRNkate
    Just wanted to send some support and hugs to you! :icon_hug:

    Sometimes when things get bad up by me, it helps me to go through the pictures and cards that families send us. Something about reading the thanks and praise and seeing pictures of happy, healthy babies reminds me why I do this.
    Thank you all for your suggestions. I did start writing a blog as an attempt to journal, it really does help to see your thoughts as concrete words. It seems like when you see your thoughts as words you can deal with them more methodically (not sure this is the right word).

    In my mailbox Monday was a card from a family who had 24 week twins. The front of the card is a collage of pictures of the surviving baby who went home last month. Inside the card was a genuine and beautiful thank you from the parents, with a promise that their baby would hear all about me one day. On the back, where it would say Hallmark it had a picture of the baby and said "Thank you WeeBabyRN, I love you, Love, L." This card made me realize that what we do really matters, just me doing my job and CARING made a positive impact on this family.

    I feel like I am climbing out of my hole. I am looking forward to the time change.
    Last edit by Imafloat on Mar 6, '08 : Reason: typp
  15. Visit  Diary/Dairy profile page
    0
    I am glad to hear that things are getting a little better - keep taking care of yourself!


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