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Burnout or just Cranky?


Specializes in Med-Surg, Emergency, CEN. Has 10 years experience.

In the last two weeks, I've found myself increasingly frustrated with the whining.

My coworkers are whining that they have to do their jobs (whether it be transport, techs, RNs, or providers). Students are complaining that the entire universe has it in for them (because no one else has problems). The patients are all complaining that they've had to wait 5 whole minutes for XYZ. In fact, all I have been hearing at home is whining too, Christmas is expensive (well duh!), the meals I cook aren't what they wanted, etc.

In my entire nursing career, my attitude has always been "It's ok. We'll make it work. It sucks, but we always do. Tell me what you need and I'll make it happen." People comment on it, some of them say they depend on it. However, in the last two weeks my attitude has changed to "No matter what I do, it isn't good enough to satisfy anyone."

So I'm going on vacation. I'm going to get away from my job and my family and do whatever I want for a whole week, maybe just a long weekend. Money's tight so it'll have to be something tiny. I don't care. I want a good book, a hot soaking tub, and no one to tell me that what I want to do isn't going to work for them... vacation, here I come!

Christy1019, ASN, RN

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma/Critical Care Nursing. Has 11 years experience.

I completely understand what you're talking about. I used to be so upbeat about work and life but now I find myself being so cynical and agitated. Although I wish I could take a week vacation, I can't, so enjoy it for me!


Specializes in family practice and school nursing. Has 30 plus years experience.

good for you

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience.

Once upon a time I used to take one day a week JUST FOR ME. I realize this maybe impossible for some due to schedules, family, appts, chores, etc. And, I am sad to say, I no longer do that! But I was impressed by someone who told me that you have to make the time for yourself, because no one is going to give it to you. For instance when I told my husband that I was having, say, Tuesdays as MY day, he went immediately into Worst-Case-Scenario mode: the dishes would be undone, the laundry pile up, etc., etc, etc. But the world is not going to hell in a handbasket if a task is postponed or someone else has to do it for a change. Now I just have to re-convince myself that I am worth my own time and energy!


Specializes in none.

Yeah, I relate to the balance issue. Nursing can become all consuming. That is why the boundaries article that came up this last week is so relevant to me. I don't want to be the chronic complainer or person that is burnt-out all the time.

Julie Reyes, DNP, RN

Specializes in pediatrics, occupational health. Has 6 years experience.

I love that! I get a massage every month - and thankfully we have a chiropractor in town that will see me after so that I can have it all put on my insurance (I have back issues)! haha! My husband doesn't see the need for it and complained about the money going to that, and I said, "It saves us money because it keeps me from going to jail and you bailing me out!"

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 40 years experience.

I love that! I get a massage every month - and thankfully we have a chiropractor in town that will see me after so that I can have it all put on my insurance (I have back issues)! haha! My husband doesn't see the need for it and complained about the money going to that, and I said, "It saves us money because it keeps me from going to jail and you bailing me out!"

I love this! But it just goes to show how much fighting we have to do to carve out a little something for ourselves.

firstinfamily, RN

Has 33 years experience.

I totally understand, I also have taken vacations without my family, including my spouse, just to give myself a break!!! Nursing can suck one dry!! I often feel taking care of patients leaves us totally exhausted physically, emotionally, and psychologically, plus being in a negative environment just makes matters worse!! We need some renewal time. I have learned that I need to take some down time, relaxation time for myself. Learning how to meditate, use imagry, music, massage. I ask for massage gift certificates because that way I don't feel guilty spending that money on myself!! WE need to feed our creative selves. Learning how to play an instrument, take some basic art or sewing classes can help. I truly believe we use our intellect so much that sometimes it interferes with our ability to just take it easy and relax. I have to re-train my brain to think creatively, relax etc. Learn how to do this for yourself or join a relaxation therapy group. I think it is great you have taken this time away for yourself!!! Get some rest and think of NOTHING for awhile. Take Care.

brandy1017, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

If you read my posts you know I struggle with burnout. I do my best to cope by taking frequent vacations, even if I can only afford a staycation. Also put myself down for low census, work only two 12's at a time with 2-3 days off in between. I'm grateful for the good days and friendly patients that help make up for the bad ones. We have many good coworkers and we all get along on the night shift. I'm stretching to save retirement money, pay off mortgage ASAP so I will have the luxury to retire by 62 or at least switch to part time. I've been maxing out my Roth IRA and its good seeing the money grow. It gives you peace of mind to have money in the bank and not live paycheck to paycheck. Also switched to high deductible where my HSA can grow year after year and even can be a great retirement account if one is blessed not to have health problems. I buy $4 generics at Walmart for prescriptions since you don't have prescription drug coverage with a HDHP. I live as frugally as I can so I can afford early retirement.


Specializes in Med Surg. Has 4 years experience.

Enjoy your vacation! It sounds like you need a break. I can relate. I go between the "we can make this work, we're an awesome team, everything is OK" to that "nothing I do is good enough." For me my struggle is with the opposite shift. As the charge nurse, I get creative in how I divvy up the patients and I work hard all night doing whatever needs to be done. The patients end up OK, the staff is happy. Even if we're short it works out well. Then the next shift comes in and it's as though it's the end of the world when they're short. Yes, I hate working short, but they'll know for days that they'll be short and no one does anything. Even after I call everyone and beg for help, I'm still the bad guy that couldn't staff them appropriately. I know, it's nothing personal, but it still drives me crazy!!! How about a "thanks for working so hard and thanks for trying." Nope, it's just complaining.

Hmm...maybe I need that time off, too! I do try to take me time and read and engage in other hobbies. It does help. I'm also actively looking for a position away from the floor. As much as I like my coworkers and my patients, I'm done with the complaining.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

Enjoy! :up:


Has 43 years experience.

Yup, self care is important.

I chop wood.

I kill things (ok, I hunt and fish for food not trophies).

I spend time in the wilderness where no person can demand or expect something of me.

All of those things help me to keep my sanity and to maintain an optimistic attitude about my work.