Nurse Burnout: What You Need to Know
Are you suffering from extreme work stress? You’ve probably heard the term “burnout” before, but did you know burnout is now listed in the ICD-11 by the World Health Organization (WHO)? Although it is not yet classified as a medical condition, it is recognized as a syndrome caused by chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. The new entry, found within the section on problems related to employment or unemployment, is specific to phenomena occurring in an occupational context and is diagnosed based on symptoms below.
Symptoms of Nurse Burnout
- Feelings of depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to that job
- Reduced professional efficacy
Adjustment disorder, anxiety and certain mood disorders can be mistaken for burnout, and as such, they must be ruled out before a diagnosis of burnout can be made. Going forward, the WHO says it is planning to develop evidence-based guidelines on mental well-being in the workplace. Hopefully, this will help people more quickly recognize the symptoms and get the help they need before it causes damage to their personal relationships and career.
Burnout in Nurses: Are you at Risk?
Although a recent Gallup survey found nearly one in four employees feel burned out always or often, the incidence in nurses can be much higher. In fact, a study in 2017 found that nearly half of working U.S. nurses has considered leaving the profession because of symptoms now recognized as being associated with burnout, especially those working in oncology or ER departments. Hospitals dealing with ever-tightening budgets, staffing shortages, sicker patients – and more of them per nurse – have steadily increased nurses’ work hours and stress levels in recent years. Add to that the emotional strain of patients dying, and the toll comforting grieving friends and family can take, and you have a perfect recipe for a classic case of burnout. Additionally, nurses are sometimes so focused on recognizing and caring for the ailments of others, they forget to look out for their own mental health adequately. When it comes to nurse burnout, here are some tips to help avoid it:
- Recognize the warning signs
- Take your symptoms seriously
- Seek intervention as early as possible
- Inquire about support systems within your staffing agency or hospital
- Maintain quality self-care
- Eat health foods, exercise and get adequate sleep
If your current nursing job is causing you too much stress that could lead to burnout, maybe you should consider a brand-new setting. Take the first step and search our current travel nursing opportunities.