Working as a nurse is incredibly rewarding, but it is also a very tough job. Nurses commonly work long hours — mostly on their feet — caring for patients, often in very stressful environments. No matter how passionate they are about their jobs, the pressure can easily catch up with them.
Not surprisingly, nurse burnout is on the rise. As an employer, it’s your job to keep a close watch on your nursing staff and make sure they are mentally and physically taken care of. Here’s some advice to help keep them happy and healthy.
Limit Work Hours
It’s no coincidence that an increase in nurse burnout coincides with a national nursing shortage. If your facility is short-staffed, nurses are likely expected to work extra shifts on a regular basis, while carrying a large patient load. Put an end to this by restricting the number of hours each nurse can work on a weekly basis. If you need extra help to fill the gaps, consider adding a few new nurses to you roster.
Be Mindful When Scheduling Shifts
Exhaustion is a major cause of burnout, so make sure your nurses are able to get enough rest. Take care to schedule shifts in a manner conducive to sleep. For example, don’t mix and match day and night shifts. When nurses are able to establish a routine, they can develop a better sleep schedule.
Having plenty of time between shifts also makes for a better work-life balance. Giving nurses time to enjoy a personal life reduces their chances of achieving burnout.
Nurses are passionate about their work, but sometimes the job can feel thankless. Make them feel valued by regularly acknowledging their efforts and thanking them for all they do. A little gratitude can go a long way, so don’t underestimate its value. Knowing their efforts are appreciated can remind them why they chose this career in the first place.
Make It Okay to Ask for Help
Help your nursing staff recognize burnout by talking to them regularly about its causes and highlighting common signs associated with it. Encourage people to speak up and ask for help if they even suspect they might be impacted. Catching this problem early can ensure nurses get the support needed to overcome burnout, before it gets to the point where they want to quit.