By LeAnn Thieman. This was originally published on LeAnn's blog.
The healthcare field is far from free of its fair share of stressors. So, it’s no stretch of the mind that nurses, doctors, and other caretakers are burning out.
Statistics embody this truth: About one out of every five nurses quit their job in their first year of practice, and about one out of every three nurses will leave their place of work within their first two years (according to a study published in Sage Journals).
Nurse burnout is on the rise, and nurse retention is at a low. Nurses and other caretakers are simply overworked, overwhelmed, and overstressed. Today, we’re addressing that latter issue: Stress. Let’s take a keen look at the stressors which, unfortunately, plague nurses.
Common Healthcare Workplace Stressors
Stress in the healthcare field doesn’t just occur in some hospitals and clinics. It’s a common issue. Healthcare facilities around the world are experiencing difficulty with nurse retention due to caretaker burnout. This issue is uniquely difficult, because there isn’t just one concise source problem. Stress in the field of nursing can crop up due to any and all of the following issues:
Exposure to Illness
Nurses care for those who are injured and ill. With illness, nurses are inherently prone to contract illnesses themselves. Even with the best practices and facilities, nurses are vulnerable to contract the very illnesses that they are treating. That’s why it is crucial that nurses remain mindful of their own health, as well as the wellbeing of their patients. Nurses should support their own health to ensure that they remain immune to the airborne illnesses that affect those around them.
Healthcare workers are surrounded by injury, illness, and aging – all of which can result in the death of patients. As caretakers become attached to those that they care for, it can be heart wrenching to lose a close patient. Death is inevitable a part of the job. That’s difficult to cope with! Once again, it’s crucial to remain mindful in the face of death – stay conscious that you, as a nurse, aid your patients, providing comfort and care, even in the final days of their life. Nurses help people!
Nurses are constantly on their feet. A nurse often walks miles in a day, moving charts, checking on patients, providing care, etc., etc. That means physical strain, as well as the aforementioned mental strain. Nurses often suffer from sore joints, including foot pain, backaches, shoulder soreness, and leg pain. After a 12-hour shift, a caretaker can be in pain and near exhaustion, which brings us to another stressor…
Nurses often lose sleep, or they’re forced to sleep during irregular hours. Losing sleep can be draining, and irregular sleep can be jarring. It’s difficult just to start the day while tired, let alone work a full day while exhausted. That’s why it’s crucial for healthcare facilities to assess their scheduling to adapt to their caretakers’ schedules, not the other way around.
If a facility is understaffed, its caretakers may be required to work long hours. While that can cause a loss of sleep, as we just mentioned, it can also take away from a caretakers’ free time and personal life. Like any professional, nurses need a healthy work-life balance to thrive.
Lack of Support
Nurses need support. Like any other person, our caretakers need positive relationships (in and out of the workplace), healthy nutrition, regular exercise, plenty of sleep, free time, etc. Healthcare facilities can, and should, provide support programs to their caretakers to ensure that they remain happy and healthy.
To learn how to reduce nurse burnout and improve caretaker retention, visit SelfCare for HealthCare.
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