Avoiding Burnout as a New Nurse

If you're just out of nursing school and starting a career in the profession, it's not unusual to experience a bit of shock given the new demands. There's an adjustment period that all new employees must endure in a new field of work. But jobs in the medical field can be stressful because of a myriad of challenges that workers in other fields don't have to face.

As a nurse, you probably struggle to neutralize your emotions in the workplace. You treat patients daily who have to fight debilitating and life threatening illnesses and injuries. It's difficult for you not to feel a sense of remorse when you see patients suffering, especially the ones with whom you've formed a bond during the extended periods of time they've stayed in the hospital. Even worse is watching families suffer as they lose a loved one. Nurses must maintain their focus at all times despite being only human. Additional anxiety arises when you deal with patients with contagious diseases. Sometimes the standard safety precautions don't seem like enough. Patients who are unclean and unpleasant to deal with can make easy tasks difficult. Then, of course, there are the pitfalls of a typical place of employment – these are the things employees in other fields do have to face. Nurses, doctors, surgeons and other employees of the hospital are in a constant struggle to deal with the demands of their jobs, and sometimes they take it out on each other. In many cases, you're asked to do jobs they know little about. With one mistake, you can face termination and a lawsuit.

As you gain experience, it becomes increasingly important for to adopt habits that will keep you in the game. It may sound cliché, but patience is a virtue. You'll have to become accustomed to the unpleasantness of a hospital. Perhaps the head nurse expects too much of you, or perhaps a coworker isn't pulling his or her weight – these are things every nurse experiences. Maintain a positive attitude and simply perform your job to the best of your abilities. Maximize the time and resources you're given, but don't spread yourself too thin. If you lose your energy and focus, you'll do your job poorly. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Sure, nursing calls for selflessness, but if you lose sight of number one, you'll risk burning out before your career takes flight.