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Battling Burnout in Nursing

Battling Burnout in Nursing

Megan Malugani | Monster Contributing Writer

Stomp Out Burnout

People at risk for burnout can take action to avoid it, experts say. Here are some of their suggestions for avoiding work-related burnout:

Bond with Colleagues: Reaching out to colleagues and discussing difficult situations can help to reduce stress, Pfifferling says. Traditionally, he contends, there has been a lack of positive feedback among health professionals, which fuels isolation and burnout.

Talk It Out – and Let Others, Too: A friend, colleague, counselor or career coach can help a person beat burnout just by listening. “Working with someone can help you clarify your vision and what motivates you,” and help you come to terms with the clash between your expectations and the reality of your job, Pfifferling says. Employers should also play a role in fostering a more supportive working environment, he says. “Organizations should look at provider satisfaction with an attitude that if someone is complaining, it’s not that they’re a complainer, but that something needs to be fixed,” he says.

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Don’t Lose Sight of the Forest for the Trees: The most important step people can take to prevent burnout is to constantly evaluate their life priorities and keep them in mind, Ewing says. She asks her clients to think about the different areas of their lives – family, career, hobbies and religion – like pieces of a pie. She has them divide the pie in two: how their life is actually sliced and how they’d like it to be sliced. Burnout is preventable in the long term if you tailor your day-to-day activities to reflect how you’d like your pie sliced.

Checklist: Are You Burned Out?

Because of the intensity of their work and their emotional investment in patients, healthcare professionals suffer a high rate of burnout. Although anyone can suffer from burnout, there are certain personality traits that put a person at risk, says Ewing. She and other experts say people are most at risk of burnout if they:

• Don’t know how to say “no” to demands on their time and energy.

• Assume added responsibility when they are already working at capacity.

• Consistently sacrifice their personal lives for work.

• Lack control in their positions.

• Regularly suppress their emotions.

• Don’t discuss their problems or feelings.

• Routinely criticize themselves.

• Haven’t learned how to manage stress effectively.

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