Please help me to not burn out...

  1. Hello all:

    I want to thank you all for your posts, they have educated me, entertained me, and helped me get through my first two years as a nurse....

    This is my first post, and a question: How do I do this for the rest of my life? I'm 29 and understand that my generation probably wont have the social security net, so I'll be working until I'm 70.

    I love being a nurse but it is so exhausting! I really appreciate my days off, I really have come to appreciate my life and health and family. I understand what I bring to nursing, I also understand my flaws as a nurse.

    I think maybe I'm just at a point where I've changed a few things in my life so I'm questioning more. (Just moved back home to the country after working in a major city hospital, and am changing jobs) I'm going from a huge city hospital to a smaller one...

    Sorry its 0300, and I think maybe I just answered my own question...but advice is great as well.
  2. Visit tara.danley profile page

    About tara.danley

    Joined: Dec '05; Posts: 16; Likes: 3
    clinical nurse manager
    Specialty: 7 year(s) of experience in oncology, med surg, Alzheimers

    8 Comments

  3. by   NurseCard
    Well, as you already probably know, the change in scenery is going to help you. But also, keep in mind that there are many many options out there for nurses. Lots of different fields to work in; Med/Surge, OR, ER, ICU... home health... hospice... local health departments... you name it.

    I just became a psychiatric nurse after working on the same Med/Surge floor for seven years. I was getting burned out. So I know where you are coming from.
  4. by   StNeotser
    I intend to go back at some point to get my BSN so I can have a desk job when I'm old and tired.
  5. by   angel337
    i know exactly how you feel. i do like being a nurse, but it is very exhausting and in my opinion even though nurses in general make good salaries, it does not compensate for the work we do. i have a regular job an i occasionally do agency to change environments and make a little extra cash. i am learning quickly that nursing is virtually the same... no matter where you go. right now i am exploring different job opportunities.. away from the bedside. i have a friend who works for a law firm and maybe 3 -4 times a month she picks up a hospital shift. she says this has kept her mind fresh and she doesn't feel burned. i plan to go in that direction eventually.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Separate your home and work lives. And learn when to say "no". This is so critical to avoiding burnout.

    Also, never stop learning, whatever that can be to you. It may mean going for an advanced degree. It also may mean attending educational conferences/seminars. Or, just take up a class or two at a local college/university to learn a new language, or art appreciation or something creative. These things often breathe "life" into nursing (or most) careers, so take advantage.

    Have an active off duty life---find hobbies you love and pursue them. Spend lots of time with those you love and appreciate them. This goes along with saying "no" now and again. Put your family and loved ones first.

    If you do these things, while there is no guarantee, you will significantly lessen your chances of burnout.

    Oh and be sure and visit allnurses.com daily; it's the one healthy "addiction" that helps one avoid burnout! (smile)
  7. by   HyperRNRachel
    I think I can help you answer this. I have only been a nurse for 9 months and this past week I could not talk myself into going to work. I had to take a look at what it was that got me to this "on the verge" moment. I realized that I was taking my nursing role home with me. I was living and breathing being a nurse, and at the same time I had stopped all involvement in my other interest. I guess my nurse ego had taken over. My days off consisted of sleeping as much as possible (I believe a person can sleep too much), watching t.v., and worrying about what I did/did not do for my patients.

    So, to correct this pre-burn out situation, I started dragging myself onto the treadmill, went grocery shopping for healthy foods, I cooked dinner, and started making plans to finish some home decorating projects that I had put on hold. I also talked about some events that, although effected me deeply, I had not discussed with anyone.

    Looking back on the negative events (one being a horrific, fast, unpredicted, code situation that eneded in the death of the patient) I realized that I did not grieve. I have always tried to handle everything with a sense of humor, but there is a time when crying and being angry can be much more therapeutic.

    Take care of yourself. Do the things that you love to do. Do not let the nursing role consume you. :blushkiss
  8. by   Shaddimere
    I have been a neonatal intensive care nurse for 29 years, and believe me, in the past few years there have been times when I have had to take a "mental health day" because I just could not force myself to go to work. Our work loads have gotten heavier, our patients sicker, and our staffing shorter. I still love what I do, but the working conditions have made it so much harder.What has helped me is that I took another position, so I now work 24 hours a week in NICU and 12-16 hours in a different role. I am a pediatric and pregnancy bereavement cocordinator, and counsel families who have lost children. While that may seem like a terribly depressing job, it has helped me gain a new perspective, and given me a lot of positive reinforcement as I help families deal with worst experiences of their lives. I have also stopped working overtime shifts, even though we are offered bonus pay to do them. Sure, I could use the money, but my sanity wasn't worth the sacrifice. I am currently completing my BSN, and plan to do my Masters in a counseling field. So I keep myself very busy, and look toward a future where maybe I can give up 12 hour shifts. As I approach 50, they are getting harder.

    The most important thing you can do is find your passion in nursing. We are so diverse that there really is something for everyone. I am fortunate that I discovered early on what I love, and because neonatal nursing is still growing and evolving as a science, there are plenty of challenges to keep it interesting. Truly, my complaints are the exhaustion and frustration of not feeling you have enough time to devote to each patient . Don't give up!!! our profession needs dedicated people now more than ever. We are finally beginning to come into our own, and people like you are the future of nursing. Good Luck!
  9. by   tara.danley
    Thank you all so much....somehow I understand all of this deep down, but have doubts about how to keep my head...I'll keep this advice to heart and keep this site bookmarked at all times....
  10. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Remember, while nursing is part of who you are, it should by NO MEANS DEFINE YOU!

    This is why I emphasize you keep a close eye on personal life/affairs and keep loved ones close to your heart. I have not heard of anyone who went to his/her grave wishing he/she had worked more----I have heard many who said they wish they had spent more time relaxing, or spending time with those they loved. The sooner you incorporate this understanding, the better off you will be.

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