Preventing Burnout for Nurses
Burnout is real! It affects nurses as much as anyone.
Did you know that the nature of your work makes you more vulnerable to experiencing burnout and compassion fatigue? Nursing is not a profession for the faint of heart at the best of times. Let’s face it, this year has been really tough for health care workers.
The Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions (CFNU) recently tweeted that approximately 60% of nurses intend to leave their jobs within the next year and more than 27% of those nurses plan to leave the profession altogether.
The tweet refers to the CFNU’s report Outlook on Nursing: A snapshot from Canadian nurses on work environments pre-COVID-19, which observes
“Despite the inherent challenges, nurses are working hard to ensure that the quality of patient care remains high – potentially at a cost to themselves.”
Preventing burnout is important for everyone, but it can be especially critical for professionals working in the health care sector.
No one wants to feel emotionally tapped-out, exhausted, overwhelmed, stressed and irritable for much of the time. As a health care professional, burnout cannot just get in the way of enjoying your life, it also means you are more likely to make a mistake at work and expose yourself to the risk of a claim or a complaint. Talk about a downward spiral!
As the year is drawing to a close and the promise of vaccines are on the horizon, challenge yourself to take a moment and do something for yourself – so you can take the next year on with a fresh perspective and new energy. Go ahead, make your mental wellbeing a priority by
- Recognizing the signs of burnout before things become overwhelming
- Taking care of yourself as you would take care of your patients
- Practicing self-compassion
You owe it to yourself to take care and be well!
If you would like to learn more, here are some resources on the topic:
- The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) has resources to help you get started with thinking about self-care, including a self-care fact sheet.
- CAMH has resources for health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including self-care tools.
- Hamilton Health Sciences has put together a COVID-19 Resilience Support Toolkit.
- If you love listening to podcasts, check out The FreshRN Podcast, Episode 46 – Proactively Preventing Nurse Burnout for some self-care tips for nurses.
- The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) has a list of resources for Psychosocial Support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- If you think you might be experiencing a little more than burnout, the Nurses Health Program might be a good resource for you.
Carina is an advocate for nurses. She is a lawyer, not a mental health professional. If you are suffering, please reach out to a qualified health care professional for help.
Hopefully these informational resources will help you be the best nurse you can be and stay out of legal trouble. The information on this website is not a substitute for legal advice. If you are facing a complaint, an investigation or a claim, please reach out and speak with a lawyer for legal advice that is tailored to your specific circumstances.
 World Health Organization (WHO), Burn-out an “occupational phenomenon”: International Classification of Diseases.
 Nurse Journal, “Nurse Burnout” December 4, 2020 – www.nursejournal.org