Friday, August 15, 2014

Dealing with Burn Out

I have been the nurse in this cartoon. So tired, I didn't want to talk to anyone, see anyone, or do anything. The unit I was on was very....incohesive. I was there to work and definitely learn. But apparently, I was an anomaly. I didn't know about cliques, or drama.
Passing meds, taking off orders, clarifying orders with pharmacy, patient care, getting the med room ready for next shift, serving meals, changing patients....gee, what was I thinking? I made work about work, and only had a few people that knew about my life outside of work. I still do that. I feel like I can do my life after work. But I've made the observation that many nurses make work their whole life. One could easily see how that can happen. You spend 36 to 60 hours a week with a group of people, you can make them your family. But, to quote Damon Wayans in the movie, "Major Payne", " I didn't say families don't break up, ". Professional distance isn't a bad thing. And making friends at work isn't a bad thing, either. Just don't make your whole life about work. Have friends that don't help you find a vein on a patient, but just play cards or go to the movies with you. Part of burn out is the hopelessness a nurse feels when she sees no end in sight. That nothing is ever going to let up, or things will always be this way. You have to make yourself engage at home. Small steps at first......(maybe go for a cup of coffee, head for the library, find a crossword puzzle to do, wash dishes by hand) and then bigger ones, (like take a fun class, go on vacation, an exercise program) will help with the burn out.
Changing units isn't a bad thought, either. Sometimes people don't gel. They are thrown together to do a job and varying philosophies on work ethics can make for bad feelings. For me, changing units was a great thing. I got a chance to "visit" when I had to float to other units on overflow days. See if that's an option. Sometimes just doing the same kind of nursing for years can burn someone out. Maybe if you can change floors, ( or even jobs) you can restore your faith in the career that you've spent so much time, energy, and money getting excellent in.

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