When I initially posted this I was thinking in terms of the difficulty in getting into a nursing program
and the ongoing education that is probably three times what I had to understand in order to graduate. The pressure to understand so much and still have to succeed in all the other classes is difficult to say the least.
Nurses then continue in a field that gives them great responsibility for the lives of patients while the MD comes and goes. They have almost no authority to go with that responsibility. This certainly is a set up for burnout.
In the far distant past nurses were caregivers. They cared for the sick and injured. Rarely did they have the patients with the critical, multi- system problems we see now. Those patients died. There was little to be done to turn the problems around. Now these patients are the norm. Education of the nurse to know what is happening is of little use or comfort when we don't have enough nurses working at one time to allow adequate care. The problem is not always lack of nurses, it is lack of nurses hired to do the work.
I honor the newer nurses and those of us who have been around since the dinosaurs. We need to work together for change. We need more highly educated nurses at the bedside rather than to be placed in offices where policy is decided without understanding the implications at the bedside level.
Recognition and labeling are the first steps to change. The next require a more concerted effort to make others aware. Unions and legislation are two routes we can use to effect change that may decrease the burnout. Mandatory OT is one area that can be addressed from either or both of these avenues. We know that lack of sleep is a killer in so many ways.
Burnout is also related to comparing where the money is spent. Sell the fancy artwork in the upper management offices and more nurses could be hired to carry the burden of the health care needs of our patients.