Ask the Nursing Expert... about preventing burnout

Angel McGarrity-Davis, RN, CDONA, NHA
Angel McGarrity-Davis, RN, CDONA, NHA

Our nursing home has been really short of nurses, so we've all been working a lot of overtime. How do we prevent burnout? 

There are 10,000 people turning 65, every day for the next 19 years, so we all better start thinking about protecting the nurses in our field.

Nursingworld.org statistics currently say there are 2.6 million nurses. There is an expected growth of nurses until 2018 by 22%. In 2018, we should have about 3.172 million.

In my professional opinion, nurses work because they love their patients and their families that they serve. We work because it is our purpose in life and our passion. 

When long-term care patients do not have nurses to care for them, we feel like it is our responsibility to fix it. That is why nurses get burned out. 

Hopefully, your company realizes this about our character. A few good ideas to mention to them include the following:

• Increase nurses' vacation time — and make them go 

• Try 12-hour shifts so there are more days to rest in between 

• Increase break periods 

• Remember that gratitude goes a long way

• Staff members should be able to create their own schedule (and give them some flexibility). It doesn't have to be the way that it has always been. Be creative and innovative. 

Two additional thoughts: Nurses are not good at work-life balance, and nurses' purpose is being fulfilled when they are caring for others. 

Let's hope that there are employers out there who can stick up for us when we need it!