A new study in the medical field, released by the Critical Care Societies Collaborative, found that up to a third of critical care nurses show signs of severe burnout syndrome.  As much as 86% of critical care nurses, the study says, appear to have at least one of three symptoms of nurse burnout syndrome, characterized by work-related emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion.

The latest research in a long line of studies in the medical field demonstrate the peril of burnout in all RNs — not only to nurses themselves, but also to the patients in their care.  As far back as 2002, nurse-researcher Linda Aiken, PhD, RN, and her colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania found in a landmark study a link between nurses who experience stress (and the burnout and job dissatisfaction that comes with it) and adverse outcomes in patients. The new study echoes the long-known relationship between high levels of nurse burnout and lower patient satisfaction, higher incidences of medical errors and higher rates of patient mortality.

Burnout can prompt nurses to leave their places of employment in search of less-stressful work environments. In some cases, burnout causes nurses to leave their profession altogether.

To help avoid burnout syndrome, it’s important that nurses align themselves with hospitals and other healthcare employers that promote a workplace culture that shares their values. Hospitals that have achieved Magnet recognition, the most prestigious international distinction a healthcare organization can achieve for their nursing programs, demonstrate organizational cultures that promote nursing excellence and outstanding patient care.

Nurses can also take their own steps to help lessen the nurse burnout. Here are some examples:

  • Eat better. Eating the right foods creates energy and promotes a healthy mind and body. Staying hydrated is also an important factor in maintaining your health. A tip: Even during a busy shift, keep a gallon of water on hand and mark the container every hour to show how much (or how little) you’ve consumed. Make it a daily habit.
  • Treat exercise like a second job. Exercise has been shown in countless studies to effectively treat stress. Viewing exercise as a second job can help motivate you to get up and get going. Exercise should be another “must” in your daily routine. Eisenhower Medical Center offers employees the opportunity to workout at the Renker Wellness Center free of charge!
  • Meet with your nurse manager. Communication is HUGE in the work environment, especially in as challenging of a profession as nursing. Having some check-in time with your manager contributes to your professional success by ensuring that you’re on track with your goals. Your manager can help you get there.
  • Make time off an important part of your life. Your job can be draining. Be sure to give yourself some space and take time away from work. Alone time, as well as time spent with family and friends, can improve your job performance and overall satisfaction.
  • Remember the value in what you do. As a nurse, you make an impact on the lives of others. How amazing is that? Remember to focus on the rewarding aspects of your job. Keeping a positive attitude toward your job can help you gain a sense of purpose and control.

Stress in nursing jobs might be inevitable, but it’s also repairable. If you feel unable to handle nurse burnout on your own, talk with your manager and customize a plan that will help you better manage the stressful parts of your job. You’ll benefit from avoiding burnout and so will your patients.

Originally posted on 27/7/2016

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