Don't feel bad if you are fed up with your nursing job, or even nursing in general. As you probably already know, nursing is one of the most physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding occupations around, even if the general public does not consider it to be so. Almost every nurse will go through a phase where their nursing job has gotten the best of them, and they begin to have doubts about their purpose there. These feelings can be caused by many things: lack of respect from administrators and doctors, dissatisfaction with your work environment and safety, fatigue from long strenuous shifts, abusive patients and family members, insufficient pay, and many more. The good news is there are ways to overcome these feelings without abandoning your nursing career.
How do you know if you are burned out? Most people will automatically know when they have had enough. For most, the feelings can be overwhelming and undeniable. However, some may not recognize the warning signs. Some common symptoms include shortness of temper, dreading every new shift, an overwhelming feeling of stress, feelings of depression, poor job performance, lack of empathy towards patients, tardiness, and missed shifts. If you are feeling any of these symptoms, it may be time for you to sit back and evaluate your position and purpose. This decision is an important one, because dissatisfaction in your nursing job can also affect you in your personal life. If you decide that something has to be done, here are some different approaches to try.
Focus on the Positive Every nursing job will have positive and negative aspects. Find what you enjoy most in your job and use that as motivation when you step onto the job each day. This motivation may be certain people you enjoy working with, the satisfaction you feel when you help a patient, the opportunity to share your knowledge, or any other positive reason you may find. If you look forward to the positive aspects of your nursing job, rather than dreading the negative ones, you can start each shift in a good mood.
Prepare Yourself Mentally You already know your job and know what to expect each shift. For example, if your job is high intensity, such as in the Emergency Department, you know that a hectic shift is likely. Some nurses may need to take advantage of their off time to keep themselves in a place where they are mentally prepared for their next demanding shift. There are many ways to do this. You just have to find the ones that are right for you. Some ideas for you to try include: yoga, stretching, deep breathing, quiet reading, listening to music, or spending quality time with your family. These methods can be done on a regular basis or as part of a pre-shift ritual. Whatever you choose, you will have to decide what works best for you to center yourself before taking on the potential madness of your shift.
Make the Most of Your Breaks While breaks may be scarce for some nurses, those who get that luxury should take full advantage of them. Find a way to disconnect and decompress during that short amount of time that has been allotted. Breaks are intended for you to step away from the job for a short period; not for you to harp on the abusive patient, family member, or co-worker that you will have to face when the break is over. Something as easy as going for a short walk or sitting outside may do the trick. If not, try some of the relaxation suggestions in the "Prepare Yourself Mentally" section above.
Expand your Nursing Horizons Sometimes, poor working conditions cannot be avoided. Some nursing jobs will never be improved, because the administration may not be looking out for the best interests of its nurses. Sometimes a change of scenery is the only option when you are stuck in a nursing job that just seems to be destroying you from the inside out. Luckily for you, you are a nurse. Your nursing expertise can be used in many different ways. These days, there are always jobs available that you can transition into. This not only gives you something new to try, but it also helps you expand your nursing expertise into different specialties. Are you tired of hands-on nursing all together? You still have options. Learn how to utilize your medical expertise to review medical records in the legal field. Consider the LNC STAT course where you can become certified as an Advanced Legal Nurse Consultant. You can find a Legal Nurse job in a law firm, insurance company, or managed care organization. You can also start your own consulting practice.
Don't feel bad if you have reached the point where you feel like quitting. While nurses are often expected to be superhuman, those expectations are often unfair, unreasonable, and unreachable. Do what you need to do to keep yourself motivated and energized within your nursing career. Sometimes it's okay to put yourself first, so don't feel guilty when you do.