A healthcare setting can be a picture of chaos with all that happens within its walls, from diagnosis and treatments to handling emergencies. In all this scenario, a healthcare professional readily available to be a frontline caregiver is none other than a nurse. From catering to the demands of the patients to boosting their morale, a nurse is no less than the backbone of a healthcare setting.
Unfortunately, fatigue and burnout are becoming widespread in this profession due to the overwhelming nature of the work and the shortage of nurses in the US. According to the American Nurses Association, 62% of nurses suffer from symptoms related to burnout. If you are a nurse and the piling fatigue is holding you back from giving your best, here are some tips to help you manage and combat it.
1. Improve Your Job Satisfaction:
Job fatigue sometimes arises not from overwork but from doing something that does not interest you. Does your current nursing role excite you? If not, job dissatisfaction might be the answer to your work-related fatigue.
One way to open up new avenues of nursing opportunities and prospects of salary hikes is to upgrade your qualifications. Since your hands will already be full of responsibilities, you won’t be able to return to a full-time studentship. Moreover, if you work in a state like Texas, one of the best places for nurses based on salaries and living costs, job competition would naturally be high, and you must perform to the best of your abilities. To navigate this situation, consider going for an online program. You can look for BSN online programs in Texas and upgrade your skills while continuing your job, increasing job satisfaction and minimizing fatigue.
The nursing field is vast, with many opportunities, from clinical to administrative and managerial leadership roles. Doing what you love is an automatic mood booster, which increases productivity and enhances performance. If you enjoy your job, you will likely avoid mistakes, learn faster, and stay optimistic while radiating the same positive vibes to your patients!
2. Maintain a Work-Life Balance:
As a nurse, you operate in two different worlds. While one world requires you to be on your toes with unforeseen circumstances and emergencies, the other demands you to be a caring family member and a steadfast friend. When these two worlds collide in an overly packed routine, and you can not meet the contrasting demands of work and family, the result is fatigue and burnout.
One way to achieve this balance is by using your nursing skills to map out your priorities. Think of what you would recommend to your patients if they were stressing out due to work-life imbalance. You can start by making a personalized plan and improving your time-management skills. Also, consider retailoring your schedule if you take 12-hour shifts to get a long weekend of four days. This long weekend may allow you plenty of personal time.
There will be days when your work will demand more of your attention when you will have to over-work, and that is fine too, as long as you do not neglect other aspects of your life for long.
3. Create a Strong Social Circle:
Whether you need immediate assistance or want to go about your daily rants, a group of friends and coworkers can help lessen the burden in times of need. Especially if you are a frontline health worker, some days can be stressful, and having emotional and instrumental support can help you prevent fatigue. Fostering healthy and strong relationships with coworkers can make an emergency look more like an adventure than a crisis, making your shift much smoother. Joking around with your colleagues can help long hours of your work fly by and make your time at work more bearable.
4. Unburden Your Mind:
Returning home with a mind fraught with worries about your patients and actions can lead to mental exhaustion. Consequently, you will be unable to recharge for the next day and experience fatigue if you are constantly engaged in this mental clamor. To avoid this, try sweeping your mind off the worries before you return home, and give it a much-needed break.
To do this, try some journaling. You can write about your day, any special event that might have happened, what worries you, etc. Letting it all out on a page will help you feel lighter. If you are not keen on writing, try meditation before jumping into bed. With an unburdened mind, you will be ready to face another day and be more resilient to work fatigue.
5. Build Compassion Resilience:
Being compassionate would be second nature to you as a nurse, which is vital for a patient’s welfare. However, prolonged exposure to unfortunate situations and chronic self-sacrifice often take a toll on your well-being, a condition known as compassion fatigue or empathy overload. It can lead to emotional stress due to repeatedly facing others’ sufferings. If you feel you suffer from a similar condition, you must step back and realign your intentions of compassion.
One way to build compassion resilience is to create boundaries and balance without giving up on your goal to make a difference in your patients’ lives. It will help you maintain your physical, emotional, and mental integrity while still being compassionate toward your suffering patients. Instead of feeling helpless in situations you can not control and taking the blame for unfortunate outcomes, focus on your wins of helping others. This approach toward your job will replace your compassion fatigue with compassion satisfaction.
Being a nurse means playing a crucial role in someone’s well-being and recovery. Naturally, you will be inclined to be alert and give more than your capacity. However, the fatigue and exhaustion that come with it can affect the quality of your life and patient care activities. It can lead to errors in medication administration and reduce your physical and cognitive abilities. To avoid letting fatigue hamper you from progress, ensure you have a plan laid out for you to counter it. Be vocal about the ordeal, ask for help, and focus on your well-being to avoid discomfort and improve patient care. Your optimal functioning will lead to better treatment outcomes and, in turn, a happier you!