NNBA Featured Expert
Building a Career Path to Prevent Nurse Burnout
By Anne Llewellyn, RN-BC, MS, BHSA, CCM, CRRN Nurse Advocate
Today there is a great deal of concern about burnout in the profession of nursing. A Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder found 7 in 10 nurses reported feeling burnout in their current roles. Mayo Clinic defines workplace burnout as a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about how someone feels about their competence and the value of the work they do. Nurses can experience burnout for a number of reasons but the discreet signs of burnout often go unnoticed when you are busy taking care of others.
Signs of burnout include but are not limited to exhaustion, feeling physically ill, or dreading the thought of going to work.
Burnout not only affects nurses, but also impacts patients their care givers and co-workers. Studies have shown a link between nursing burnout and increased infection rates in patients. In addition hospitals with high burnout rates tend to have lower patient satisfactions rates. Today, with reimbursement tied to quality and patient satisfaction, nursing burnout can impact the financial health of the organizations they work and the patients they are called on to care for.
Being proactive about your well-being can help ward off emotional exhaustion and keep you at your best—both at work and at home. Another important point that many nurses don’t focus enough on is developing their career plan. That they will work toward once they have completed their “basic training”.
Most experts recommend new nurses need to spend time in the “trenches” where they learn the basics and how to put the theory they learned in nursing school into practice. Many say, the early years of nursing can be the years you will look back on with fond memories. The experience and expertise you will gain in those early years will be what allows you to move forward into new roles that will stimulate you and allow you to put your career path into action.
Belonging to your professional organizations is an important part of a nurse’s professional development. Organization like the National Nurses in Business Association are important in helping nurses discover opportunities that will fulfill them in their careers.
My closing word or encouragement for all nurses is to stay alert and be willing to explore opportunities that come to you. Burnout is something you can prevent by establishing career goals, putting a career plan into place and doing the work needed to achieve them. Nursing is full of opportunities – enjoy your career!
Anne Llewellyn, RN-BC, MS, BHSA, CCM, CRRN is a nurse leader with expertise in critical are, risk management, case management, nurse advocacy, publication and education. She is a member of NNBA. Her second book, Nurses: Moving Beyond the Bedside, There are No Limits provides nurses with over 30 career options to consider as they move forward in their careers. To contact Anne, email her at email@example.com