RNnetwork Blog

Everything you need to know about travel nursing.

Nurse life Working with RNnetwork

Seven Ways to Avoid Burnout as a Nurse

Woman with headacheNursing is a rewarding career, but the long hours, demanding workload and emotional toll of constantly caring for others can quickly lead to burnout. Don’t let the effects of burnout take over your life. Try these seven tips to stop burnout in its tracks.

Know the signs of burnout

The first step in preventing burnout is to know the warning signs. If you start to feel sick and exhausted all the time or dread the approaching workday, you might be experiencing the first stages of burnout. Other warning signs include:

  • Insomnia
  • Feeling despondent or unappreciated, as if nothing you do makes a difference
  • Lack of motivation
  • Insensitivity with patients

Once you recognize the signs of burnout, you can take action to reverse the process.

Make your health a priority

Your wellbeing should be one of your priorities every day. Without sleep, exercise, proper nutrition and a healthy work/life balance, you’ll have no energy after work to focus on you. Carve out at least 15 minutes (30 minutes is ideal) each day to exercise. Whether it’s enjoying your favorite yoga class or taking your dog for a walk around the neighborhood, daily exercise will boost your energy and your mood. Also, instead of grabbing a quick bite of some flavorless on-the-go meal, treat yourself to a healthy meal and sit down at the table to give yourself a chance to enjoy it.

Begin and end the day with a relaxing ritual

The way you wake up sets the tone for the rest of your day. Instead of jumping out of bed the moment your alarm rings, set it 15 minutes earlier and use that extra time to do a relaxation or mindfulness technique. For instance, you could meditate, write down five things you are grateful for, read a book, write in a journal, gently stretch or anything else you find relaxing.

Make sure you end your day the same way. Take 15 minutes before you go to bed to unwind, focusing on activities that promote relaxation. If you are having trouble falling asleep, try progressive muscle relaxation techniques to help you relax.

Take time to unplug

In today’s technological age, our daily lives are immersed in electronics, keeping us connected and accessible 24/7. Although technology makes different aspects of our lives more efficient, overusing it can leave you feeling overstimulated and cause stress. Set a time each day when you completely disconnect. Put away your laptop, turn off your phone and TV, and don’t check your email. You’ll be amazed how much free time you’ll have for other activities.

Set boundaries

Overextending yourself is a bullet train straight to burnout. Setting boundaries is crucial to your emotional, physical and mental wellbeing. Learn to say no to demanding requests that encroach on your time. This can be difficult to do, but remember saying no allows you to say yes to the things that you truly love to do.

Make time for the things you love

Don’t sacrifice the hobbies or things you enjoy doing outside of work. Anticipating upcoming outings, like going to a great new movie with a friend or hiking with your spouse on the weekend, can help you get through a long work day — and it can make the activities even more enjoyable. Even if you don’t have time for a night out with friends right now, plan to squeeze in a pedicure or treat yourself to an indulgence — it is pumpkin-spiced latte season, after all. Small pleasures can make a big difference when you’re exhausted and feeling the effects of a demanding shift.

Remember why you became a nurse

On the days when you don’t feel like you make much of a difference, think back on what made you want to become a nurse. Try keeping a happy-thoughts journal you can look back on when you’re feeling worn down. Make a habit of jotting down rewarding nursing experiences when they happen to remind yourself that your career does matter and patients appreciate the care you provide.

However, if the cause of your burnout is a toxic work environment, maybe it’s time to find something new. Check out our open travel nursing jobs to see if traveling is the lifestyle you’ve always wanted.

About the author

Liz Cornwall

Liz Cornwall is a public relations specialist and is passionate about the company’s Putting People First culture. Prior to joining RNnetwork, Liz worked in advertising and marketing and also helped launch a pet magazine in Salt Lake City.


Ready to get started?

Let us know where to reach you, and a recruiter will be in touch shortly.

Questions? 800.866.0407

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

By submitting your information via this form, you agree that you may be contacted by a member of our team via SMS, MMS, email or phone as outlined in our privacy policy