In recent years, the incidence of burnout in RNs has been shown to be as high as 70%. We know you became a nurse because you’re committed to helping others—so how do you go about keeping that passion alive, in yourself and others? There are a lot of causes of nurse burnout, and in our previous post, 5 Ways to Combat Travel Nursing Burnout, we told you things you COULD do to avoid burning out. But have you ever wondered what things you MIGHT be doing that are contributing to nurse burnout overall?
Curbing nurse burnout cannot be accomplished in siloes, nor can it begin anywhere other than with nurses. See our list below on habits to break and how, by doing so, nurses help each other to build a stronger, more caring community that is a “no burn-out” zone!
1. Not really listening to those around us
With the fast-paced environment nurses work in, it can be easy to rush through interactions with patients, colleagues, friends and family. Though we’re all trying to master the art of being one step ahead at all times, living in this limbo of hasty communication can allow for miscommunication, letting important matters slip through the cracks. When this happens, it makes our jobs harder, our work less productive and our team dynamic less balanced, creating a perfect storm of stress and, ultimately, burnout for ourselves and the nurses around us. Let’s face it…we can all afford to listen more—especially when it comes to the well-being of our teams and patients.
Conscious practice around active listening (defined as listening with all senses) works to prevent communication breakdowns that make our work together and in general inherently harder. Active listening enhances our ability to absorb and pass on data, while also deepening the relationships with those around us, because we’re able to listen with greater empathy. Some tips around active listening include eye contact and repeating information that was relayed to us back to the other person. These suggestions may seem small, but they have lasting positive impacts on our work environment and the nurse community as a whole.
2. Not speaking up when something’s bothering us
Nurses are used to rolling with the punches. There’s a saying that what we tend to focus on grows—and when we push off addressing concerns we may have with one another, there’s a chance that the frustration we feel will snowball and contribute to a less than cheerful work atmosphere. When the mood is off in a tight-night group, it’s something everyone can feel. We’ve already mentioned that communication is key to curbing nurse burnout, but it doesn’t stop with active listening. Constructive communication with one another, especially around issues that are bothering us, position us to improve our working relationship and build trust that is crucial in nursing.
Committing to being open and honest with the other nurses you work with fosters an environment where everyone feels encouraged to speak up when something is bothering them. It is even possible that the issue you are experiencing with a colleague or organizational process is shared by some of your peers who have not yet had the courage to speak up. Speaking up keeps everyone safe and healthy.
However, speaking up in the workplace isn’t always easy—especially when we find ourselves part of a new team. Here are some tips to having these conversations in a more productive way:
- It’s not about blame, it’s about the solution. When having these conversations, it can be helpful to remember that nearly every nurse became a nurse because of their passion for helping others. Helping one another as a team is just as meaningful as the work we provide to patients. With that said, instead of focusing on assigning blame, focus on finding the solution.
- Don’t assume the interaction will be a negative one. Speaking honestly with one another shouldn’t feel like arming up for battle. In fact, we all play a part in creating a safe space where nurses are empowered to share what’s bothering us. When we start to normalize the notion of sharing constructive feedback with one another, we make it feel less like a confrontation.
3. Isolating ourselves from others
We’ve touched on isolation in a previous blog post and for some, it may be difficult to envision nurses experiencing this, considering the jam-packed days and the constant interaction with patients and colleagues. However, isolation and loneliness can be experienced even in a crowded room. When these types of emotions are lingering, is makes us more prone to stress and burnout. Nurses have an opportunity to build comradery by having frequent check-ins with their team members to see how they’re doing and asking whether they need any support. No one understands a nurse’s struggles more than another nurse, and confiding in one another brings us out of our shells and into the family we’re meant to be.
At Freedom, we’re committed to being there for our nurses every step of the way in their journey—whether it be to provide tips to avoid drama at work, resources around mental health and beyond. To learn more about The Freedom Difference and our dedication to our nurses, click here.