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5 Ways to Tell if You’re Experiencing Burnout

5 Ways to Tell if You’re Experiencing Burnout

Sean Dent | Scrubs Magazine

January 24, 2011

Bitter, battered, negative and unhappy. These qualities do not a nurse make.

Ever worked with anyone whose candle seems to dimming each day you see them?

Here are five ways to tell if you are approaching that limit.

You have nothing nice to say about your job (current position)
Nobody’s job is perfect. We all have certain things that annoy us, or drive us batty at work. Everything from a colleague to the red-tape politics can push your buttons from time to time. But, when the common theme is all about what you don’t like, won’t do, or can’t stand it’s time to rethink your situation. The good should always out weigh the bad, otherwise find a new job.

New nurses aggravate you
You know the old rumor of ‘Nurses eating their young’. Well if you are living proof of this urban legend you need to stop thinking about what a new nurse doesn’t know, and start remembering what it was like to be one! You didn’t walk into this profession knowing everything, someone had to teach you. It’s time to pass on the knowledge, and lessen the fear. These new breed of nurses are willing, able, sharp and smart. Who doesn’t want that type of person as a colleague?

Change (Technology) is your enemy
It’s the only constant thing in our profession. Everything about our profession continues to change and evolve. Our patients and their presentation has changed, and so should our care. Gone are the days of counting drops in glass bottles (although, yes we still do this), taking temperatures with mercury-filled thermometers and having post-operative patients lying in bed for days. Change is a good thing – for you and our patients.

You don’t get along with any of your co-workers
Yes, personalities will collide. We all have coworkers that just ‘click’ with us, and others that never meet on the same page. Que sera sera. That challenge exists in every work environment. The difference is, as a rule, you should be getting along with more than you don’t. If you have more enemies than allies, you may want to look in the mirror. It’s not everyone against you, really.

You have nothing nice to say about your profession
This is by far the worst offense of them all. We work in the greatest profession out there. Sure there are things I don’t like and would rather not have to deal with, but when someone asks me about my chosen profession I light up like a flood light. My mouth starts running a mile a minute about all the great things I have seen, done and experienced. I am wanting to contribute to the ‘whole’ not just be a working part of this awesome machine. You will never catch me say anything negative without a handful of positives to finish my sentence. If you don’t like your choice of profession, please do us all a favor and don’t just talk about leaving.

So, do you know anyone who fits any of the above?

Burnout isn’t the end my fellow fighters! Maybe you just need a much deserved vacation to re-energize? Maybe a stay-cation? Maybe the recharge involves a change of scenery? That is the great thing about our profession, the unlimited opportunities and options out there!

Take advantage of them and fire up that spark!

Next: Are You at Risk for Burnout? Take the Quiz! >>

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In Career: 7 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Nursing Career
In Nursing Blogs: How NOT to Gain Weight as a Nursing Student

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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    srerrn2

    almost 4 years ago

    4 comments

    I am one of those burned out nurses. I still got along great with my co-workers and really did try to be welcoming to new stafff. For me, the issue was a management team that led thru fear and intimidation. EVERY day for six and a half years I would go to work expecting to be reprimanded or fired. I wasn't the only one so I didn't take it personally. That was just their management style. What happened with me is that I started calling off sick periodically. It finally caught up with me and I was terminated for excessive absenteeism. Other than the financial stressor of being fired it is soooo good to be out of there. My husband has encouraged me to take a couple of months off and find the right job.
    I believe I am a very good nurse and have worked in ER's x 12 years. I could tell I was burnt out because I just didn't like going to work and I was becoming more judgemental and less compassionate with my patients. Easy to do in the ER but not acceptable.
    Do NOT let your situation get this far. As nurses we should love what we do and even if we have a bad day we still want to go back. If you are that unhappy at work and can feel yourself burning out then get out quickly. It will be better for you, your family and really no one wants to have to explain a termination on their next job interview.

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