burnout anyone else experience it?

Nurses General Nursing


After 28 years of nursing I started having major problems with depression, anxiety and just plain interacting with people. I have been off for 13 months and life is getting better but still is not normal. A school psychologist friend has explained a lot to me about teacher burnout but I have never heard much info about nurse burnout. Any comment from anybody?

Thanks, Greyhair.

Burnout is common in the helping professions (nursing, teaching, social work, law enforcment, etc.). If you read on this board for any length of time, you will encounter many fellow nurses battling burnout too. It happens when much is expected of you, and you give & give, but don't take time for yourself. There are plenty of articles and info on the web about burnout and how to combat it. Sometimes people need to take time off (as you have), change work environments or simply cut back hours.

Think about how you react to situations. Do you take on too much? Do you skip breaks and work overtime? Can you say "no" when you don't want to do something? Preventing burnout involves changing your perceptions and behaviors. As human beings, we can only do so much. We have to take care of ourselves, too.

I'm amazed you haven't heard of burnout before after all your years in nursing! My goodness, I've only been an RN 6 years & I'm already burned out. I am well aware of the problem, as many of my peers feel the same.The demands of the profession can eat you alive if you're not careful.Glad to hear you're feeling a little better.Hopefully, you'll be feeling "normal" again soon. I hope you are also getting help for the anxiety/depression. Sometimes these things take medical intervention & time to heal.You'll find support & encouragement on these boards. Many of us are struggling with the same issues. Take care!


9 Posts

Thanks Kona2. I am guilty of all of the questions in your reply. I was aware of burnout but when it happened to me there just didn't seem to be much awareness from the people around me and that my teacher friends were much more aware of and had more experience with it. My workplace actually cancelled my sick leave after two weeks and suspended me without pay because they didn't think my Dr.'s note was acceptible. That was worked out with my union's help but wasn't a positive experience.

GI Issue Nurse

13 Posts

Dear Burnout

Burnout is a very real problem in our profession. There is tons of literature out there on the issue and ways to cope with it. As you well know, we are hardest on ourselves and our fellow nurses. Please take the time to cope and do not be afraid to reach out for support. Ease your way back into work maybe in an area that you can work part time. I have been there and it takes time to get past it, in the mean time don't stagnate, move foward.

God Bless.



2,836 Posts

:o I have been an LPN for 30 years and have been burned out for many years. Presently, I am working at an elementary school as a paid volunteer reading tutor. I thought it would be much less stressful. Unfortunately,because of the unbelievable paperwork this job has turned into a nightmare. Now I feel the only difference between nursing and tutoring is the money. After this program ends at the end of July I will be returning to nursing because I get paid more money and have less paperwork. :uhoh3:
Specializes in Inpatient Acute Rehab.

There is burnout in nursing. I did experience it about 12 years ago. I have been LPN for 19 years, and went back about 12/13 years ago to get my RN. Only I got so burnt out that I quit my job and instead of getting my RN, I got a degree in English/Journalism at that time. Well after about 9 months of not working as a nurse, I decided tgo back to work as a nurse. It really helped. Now, I continue to work as a LPN, and I graduate June 4th with my ADN/RN.


62 Posts

Yes, I know about burnout, because I am experiencing it.

Hair falling out, chest pain, irritability, no sex drive, eating too much, etc.

This is why I am going on interviews for a new job, away from hospitals and the bedside. I want to be me again. I never want to be a nurse again.

Nursing is too juvenile, oppressive, and ridiculous for me.


bellehill, RN

566 Posts

Specializes in Neuro Critical Care.

Burnout has happened to me and I hate it. It is physically and emotionally demanding to take care of people in a stressful environment, then you come home and do it all over again without a break ever. I don't have a solution...only to let you know that you are not alone.


12 Posts

You are definitely not alone. I am at "the" pivotal point in my career to either make it or break it. For me, change seems to be the only answer. Unfortunately, I need change a little more often than I should. I think it's just Nursing. It's a high stress career. It doesn't matter what your specialty is. There is stress. not to mention, that life and death stuff that we nurses deal with. I am absolutely torn when someone asks if I'd do it all again. I'm not sure I know how to be anything else anymore and I love it and hate it in the same breath. I have no answer either. I wish I did.....I'd be really wealthy.:) Just know that there are thousands of others feeling your feelings and you are never alone.

Loving Life

56 Posts

Yes, I know about burnout, because I am experiencing it.

Hair falling out, chest pain, irritability, no sex drive, eating too much, etc.

This is why I am going on interviews for a new job, away from hospitals and the bedside. I want to be me again. I never want to be a nurse again.

Nursing is too juvenile, oppressive, and ridiculous for me.


You sound just like me! I too am going on interviews to get away from floor nurses and negative people. I get my BSN next month and I'm out. Good luck to you.


423 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological Nursing, Acute Rehab.


I remember those days...days that I would come home crying because I just couldn't handle the negativity, the attitudes and the pressure. I have worked with and tried to be a manager to some VERY difficult people, and it took me almost losing it in a staff meeting with the CNA's to realize what I was doing to myself. I was young then, and thought I could really make a difference and help the staff to better themselves, but my naivete prevented me from seeing that you can't always better a situation, no matter how good your attitude or intentions. Getting into management isn't always the answer, as I've learned. Back to the bedside with me!

Now, I won't stay at a job where I'm surrounded by negative people constantly, or when it affects patient care. I'm happy where I am now, and it helps a LOT that I only work part time. I hope you can get to a place where you feel better about nursing. Good luck!

Jennifer :)


62 Posts


I'm glad I'm not alone! Best of luck with your interviews.

By the way, I got the job I interviewed for, I found out yesterday! Just have to give notice and yay a new life for me.

NO more bedside nursing ever again.


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