NURSES BURNOUT by Philomena N Okeke,Author.

Burnout can be defined as depletion of your physical and emotional energy

for over a long period of time due to unrelieved pressure from your job.

So many nurses have been burned out in the past.Some of them changed jobs,relocated,

got married,develop health issues, but so many are still hanging in,doing it differently

with smile on their faces,coffee in the hands,friendly environment and doing what they love.

The ball is your hand.Nursing is a very beautiful ,fantastic,lovely but challenging profession.

You make the best of it.I love it and so will you.

I have been burnt out in the past without realizing it until someone pointed it out.

Over fourteen years ago ,it all started when I told one of the doctors that I worked with, that I saw him ,the managers and everyone working in our unit in my dream .And that we were preparing for JCAHO(Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organization) visit.(JCAHO came to our hospital that year and we scored 93%,I was one of the coordinators in my unit)He replied,” if you saw us in your dream then you are definitely burnt out.So please evaluate the jobs that you have and see which one is giving you stress the most.If it is this job or any other job .Whatever it is, you must leave it immediately.”I did not like the doctor’s suggestion.I thought that he hated me. Two days later my manager called me into her office to tell me that my Primary doctor called and said that I needed emergency surgery.And that I must go for the surgery immediately.I told my manager “NO” the doctor just wanted to make extra cash.I do not want to go.I do not need any surgery.She replied,”YOU MUST GO BECAUSE IF ANYTHING HAPPEN TO YOU ,WE WILL NOT BE LIABLE”. So I left very uncertain of what will be my faith.I had my surgery done.It was the removal of cyst .I returned to work immediately.I love working .Working was my only language that I speak.One year later I decided to move on and left that hospital but never stopped working.But drastically reduced my hours,learned to speak up ,make friends and then learn to educate and delegate.Also learn to listen to my body.


(1)Unrelieved pressure from work.You work in a hostile and unconducive environment.You are constantly harassed ,rather than encourage and support you.Or Charge nurses give you the worst assignment and bully you all the the time. The other nurses do not like you because you are inexperience or not one of “them” or from the Registry.You come to work tortured,ridicule and relegated to the background.That is working in a stressful,dangerous environment

(2) Lack of support : You are single or divorced and has no support,friends or families to help you.

(3) Difficult Co-workers: You have difficult co-workers that are not supportive.

Their main agenda is to see you fail.They are not happy if you sit down to review

your work or chart. And their popular language is that “she does not belong here”

(4)Having a lower degree: BSN rather than associate degree is much better.

You have more respect. And the doctors want to communicate with a BSN

than associate degree.There is a proverb that says,”If you want to eat a toad get

the juicy one”.

Nursing profession have so many specialty ,bedside Nursing is one of them.

(5) Bedside :Bedside Nursing can be emotionally draining.You see so many trauma on a daily basis.You watch people of your age ,your dad age ,your son’s age your brother age die of various diseases from gunshot wound to cancer, car accident. Nurses experience death,and complication lost of limb can be so emotional and can affect the ability to continue.

(6) New Nurse: Lack of knowledge and inexperience can make it difficult for new nurses.

There is the unrealistically high aspirations in Nursing Program that teaches “the perfect patient situations”,which most often does not exist.It is surprising to the new nurses when the those situations in nursing  schools does not apply in the real world.They start to feel incompetent and lack of resources at the beginning of their career.

Rome was not built in a day so new nurses should learn to ask questions rather than development attitude.What attitude do you want to show when you are inexperience?.And the experience nurses should learn to support their own.The doctors knows when we have new nurses and they (doctors) react to their inexperience. Who is that nurse that called me? She does not know anything.Doctor :she is new ,please be gentle ,we want them to stay I replied.Do not chase them away please.

(7) Lack of Respect among the healthcare Team.Respect is reciprocal.Please give me some.

(8) Under staffing: Sometimes there is not enough staffing ,so we have to manage the limited

staff that we have.With long hours of work,and maintaining a high quality standard of care.

(9) Delegation: Most Nurses do not know how to delegate or they believe that it will not be delivered the way they want it.In an attempt to do it all without seeking help could contribute to burnt-out.

(10) Lack of Emotional intelligent: It is very important to know how to deal with people.It is always good to understand people that you work with before dealing with them.Because we have the individual differences.If you do not know how to fit in,it can be very deterimental, frustrating and can contribute to burn out.


(1) Emotionally exhausted.This is much more than tiredness after working eight

hours and you want to go home and rest.This is complete fatigue.

Asking you to do one more problem will upset you or too much to ask.

(2)Depersonalization: This is a situation where the nurse has no feelings for the patients

that he/she is taking care of.All the patients are the same in her/his eyes.

There is no individualized plan of care.He/she became a slective listener.

The nurse does not have feelings for the patients that he/she is taking care of.

(3)Decreased in Personal Accomplishment:In this situation a competent nurse becomes

the nurse that barely provide minimal patient care.

Patients are dissatisfied with Nurse care.This is a situation where

there is unhappy outcome.The nurse in this stage feels other nurses

are better so my effort will not yield any difference or a better positive outcome.

Nurses experience death,and complication lost of

limb can be so emotional and can affect their ability to continue.


(1)ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Identify when you feel burnout.

Provide an equitable assignment.Work should be assigned

effectively.Please do not overload the highly competent nurses.

(2)SELF CARE: Take time to care for yourself.Exercise,meditate.Take your

PTO ,have time for you.You earned the PTO is yours,use it but do not abuse it.

(3)STRONG TEAM :Find time to develop strong ,and compassionate

co-workers who are supportive. I can tell you that they do not need to

speak the same language with you,but they are great team players.

(4)RESILENCE : Develop a coping mechanism in other to alleviate burnout.

Preserve Nursing morale,and avoid role confusion.Salary most often is not the number one factor but if the physical enviroment is not conducive.The salary becomes a serious issue.Is the environment clean,safe?What is the organizational climate? Is the establishment friendly?Is it difficult to interact or communicate with other nurses.

(5)EDUCATION: Educate yourself,subscribe to Nurses Journal.Stay current in Nursing practice.

The ANA Ethical Code for Nurses is that Nurses must maintain competency in Nursing profession.

(6) SAFE TIME: Delegation could be the fundamental key to successful management of your time.

Delegate correctly to the right professional.Understand the roles of the Nurse,Case manager,the CNA,Manger,PT so that your needs will be met.

(7)Realistically look at your environment Do you have any control?But you can control yourself,your mood,and your behavor.Do not be too apologetic.Prevent defensive mechanism.Acknowlege your limitations.


Published by edochie99

A Registered Nurse with over twenty years of hospital experience, an author with Masters Degree in Nursing,also Bachelor Degree in Nursing,graduated in 1996 from USC,University of Southern California.MSN in 2009 University of Phoenix.

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