Nurses who feel on the brink of burnout are not alone. The International Council of Nurses reports that burnout within this profession almost doubled during the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, the group reports nurse burnout rates were at about 40%. Now, they are closer to 70%.
Those who chose this profession likely did so because of a desire to help people, and arguably chose one of the most important ways to achieve this goal — to help those who are in dire need of medical care get the help they need.
Address the frustration that fuels the burnout
Because of the drive that led nurses to the profession in the first place, it is no surprise that the thought of stepping away from this career likely leads to feelings of frustration and maybe even anger. But those who are in this position can take some comfort in the fact that they are not alone.
It can also help to know that those who feel the same are pushing for change including legislative reform to help better ensure the care nurses provide is valued.
Options for immediate relief
Although a push for change can help in the long term, the need to address present frustrations is also important. The medical experts with Harvard Medical School encourage those who are struggling with burnout and other forms of stress to take the time for mindfulness.
Ten minutes per day, they state, can help reduce the impact of overwhelming distractions and help us manage crises like those that have resulted during the pandemic. They state the impact of taking time to focus on your breath and bring your attention to your body, intentionally blocking thoughts of outside stressors for five to ten minutes can help us find the strength we need to better manage the stress that comes with the profession.
Delegate when stressor is not in your wheelhouse
Sometimes the stress comes from more than just trying to manage patients and the everyday expectations that come with being a nurse. It is important to know when it is best to take on these issues and when it is best to delegate the matter to professional counsel, like when that stress comes from an official investigation that threatens your nursing license.