Nurse burnout has become an increasingly popular topic, and for good reason. Conditions for nurses need to improve. Studies have demonstrated how detrimental poor staffing ratios can be for both patients and nurses alike. Patients are more at-risk for negative outcomes, while nurses experience the kind of routine stress that can ultimately result in burnout.
What exactly is nurse burnout? It’s that fatigue nurses start getting just hours into a 12-hour shift. It’s a helpless feeling nurses keep tucked inside when they can’t get the support they need from their charge nurse or supervisor. It’s a culmination of negativity that can chase nurses from the profession.
But the nature of nursing lends itself to burnout in general, which emphasizes the need for improved conditions. Nurses encounter people who are very sick and sometimes helpless on a daily basis. It’s a lot to weigh on any one person’s conscience. When you pile unsafe and tumultuous working conditions on-top of an already stressful profession, the concept of nurse burnout seems too ordinary.
Take Doctor Thomas Paine’s observation from the ER room where he’s seen countless nurses leave the OR:
In almost a decade at my current job in a busy suburban ED, I have watched countless talented and experienced ER nurses come and go. At first, I asked them why they were leaving. Now, I ask them why they stayed as long as they did.