How to Prevent Nurse Burnout

September 21, 2021
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Nurses are known for doing everything in their power to care for others — even if it means neglecting themselves. But, this can be detrimental to your health and can also lead to burnout. That’s because caring for others can drain your physical, social, and mental energy. And, when you remain drained over a long period of time, it can impact how well you’re able to care for others. So, what causes nurse burnout, and what can you do to prevent it from happening to you?

What is nurse burnout?

Burnout refers to the effects of sustained stress for long periods of time. It can occur in every occupation, but nurse burnout specifically involves nurses in the healthcare or medical field who work with patients. Nurses can be particularly susceptible to burnout because working with patients and their families can be stressful, especially in certain environments — such as hospitals or ERs.

Causes of Nursing Burnout

Burnout can happen to anyone — from the most dedicated and upbeat nurse to those who are calm and reserved. The causes of nursing burnout may vary, but common factors include:

  • A constant, fast work pace
  • Complicated patients
  • Poor patient outcomes
  • Staff shortages
  • Supply shortage — including PPE

5 Ways to Prevent Nurse Burnout

1. Strengthen Relationships

Relationships at work and home play a crucial role in preventing burnout. That’s because having someone to talk to about emotional distress — both personally and professionally — can help relieve pressure and high-stress situations. Having a work bestie to connect with when things go awry or having a partner at home that you can confide in can make all the difference for your mental health.

2. Set Boundaries

It can be difficult to create and maintain a work-life balance for nurses. But, setting a clear line of when you’ll shut off your brain from work and focus all your efforts toward your personal life can benefit you both mentally and socially. Be mindful of when you’re thinking about work. Are you thinking about work while at work, or is it following you home and you’re dwelling on things before going to bed? While we’ve all had the fever dream about administering the wrong dosage to a patient, failing to set boundaries may disrupt your sleep and cause your fever dream to become a reality.

3. Get a Full Night’s Sleep

The average adult should achieve seven to nine hours of sleep each night. This is especially true for nurses. That’s because you’re responsible for the well-being of your patients, so getting the proper amount of sleep can help you stay alert and directly results in fewer errors during your shift. Whether you work day shift or night shift, implement different strategies to ensure you’re well-rested and ready to take on your day.

4. Take Care of You



You can’t take care of your patients unless you take care of yourself. That’s why implementing strategies to prevent burnout is so important. One of the best ways to prevent nursing burnout is to put yourself first every so often. Whether it’s making time to exercise before each shift or setting aside time to read before bed, make sure that you’re investing time in yourself. Practice mindfulness to determine where you are feeling empty, and think about ways you can fill up that part of your life — from having lunch with friends to having an at-home spa day.

5. Attend Therapy or Assistance Programs

Sometimes, you can’t do it alone. Outliers — like the pandemic — can make a stressful and challenging job all that much more difficult. Make sure to take advantage of any therapeutic or counseling services offered by your organization. If your institution doesn’t offer any, find these types of services outside of work. Attending therapy, even group therapy, can help relieve stress and help you feel supported, heard, and loved — all the things you want to return to your patients.

Join The Care Options For Kids Team!

Are you ready for meaningful work that comes with benefits and not burnout? Join the compassionate care team that helps children and families live their best lives. Our clinicians provide best-in-class pediatric nursing, therapy, and school-based services. We bring individualized care to children where they live, work, and play. We have opportunities in homes, schools, and clinics across the country.

Apply at Care Options for Kids now. We make it easy to get started, so you can begin making a difference as soon as possible.