Nursing Lifestyle

Overworked Nurses Need Relief from Burnout

Overworked Nurses Need Relief from Burnout

The stress of caring for ill patients, rotating shifts, long hours, and patient complaints are some of the things that cause nurse burnout. It doesn’t matter where you work in the nursing field; burnout is becoming a huge problem.

“Nurses need to take care of themselves first before they can take care of patients,” says Holli Blazey, MSN, ANP-BC (nursing program coordinator for Employee Wellness at Cleveland Clinic.). “It’s just like when you’re on an airplane and the flight attendant tells you that in case of an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask before placing one on your child.”

It's no secret that nursing is a high-stress career. But, today, nurses have a lot of issues that they need to weave through, like long hours, low pay and the nation-wide staff shortage.

One former emergency room nurse for over eight years puts it this way, "It was too stressful and not worth it to me any longer. I felt like I was working so hard, often without breaks or lunch, but it was never enough. I felt like my truly sick patients' safety was at risk."

Another nurse who has been a registered nurse for over 40 years admits that she is looking forward to getting out of the rat race and retiring. She loves her patients and feels like what she does improves their lives, but the changing expectations of the profession make it almost too challenging and stressful for her and other nurses to perform their duties effectively.

Nurses everywhere say they love what they do, but are overburdened by low staffing levels, added responsibilities, and higher number of patients in their care.

The burnout and stress experienced by nurses have many of them considering leaving the profession. Still, there are others who have learned how to manage the stress. However, all of these nurses worry that the understaffing and extended hours will mean a decrease in the quality of care patients can receive.

One nurse who works in a hematology/oncology floor states that the understaffing was a huge problem: "It may not sound like much but that one patient difference can make a big difference in the level and amount of safe, quality care that the nurse is able to provide their patient."

She goes on to say that often nurses are pulled from her floor and put in the general medicine floors because there are staffing shortfalls.

At least 82% of the nurses nationwide believe that workplace stress is the most significant risk to their health. Almost 57% of nurses claim they also work extra hours to handle their workloads.

As the patient load continues to grow, the burden is placed on more and more on nurses. People are living longer thanks to medical advances, but there are more complex problems that seem to be happening.

In Ohio, the medical system handled 1.9 million unique patients in one year, which is a 4% increase of patients from the previous year.  To handle these increases, hospitals are working with local colleges to recruit new nurses into the workforce. However, at the same time, hospitals are experiencing budget cuts and trying to work more efficiently. Budget cuts put more work and long hours on the nurses who are already working.