Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The Best Ways to Avoid Burnout for Working Student Nurses

Burnout is defined as exhaustion, depression, cynicism and other stress-related emotional responses to work, coupled with the feeling that one is overwhelmed by the demands of life. It is often referred to as “professional fatigue” or “emotional exhaustion”.

Student nurses are trying their best to juggle school attending and a work/life balance. That can be difficult with a full curriculum and a job where time management must be on point. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to avoid burnout!

The article will feature some helpful tips on how student nurses can avoid burnout.

Why Is Burnout Rising?

Factors contributing to increasing burnout include poor time management skills and communication. If you feel like you are being taken advantage of at work, it’s important to speak up. You can also try to find a mentor or someone willing to advise and support you during your clinical rotations.

The reality is that many working students in the healthcare industry suffer from professional fatigue without even realizing it. Studies have shown that some nurses can lose motivation for their work after only six months, and student nurses are no exception.

How is Burnout Different for Student Nurses?

It’s not easy to find time to relax and recharge when you are working outside of the classroom. On top of that, it’s also hard to make time for things that don’t have to do with work or studying at all. It’s important to set boundaries at work and personal life expectations. Make sure you have an internal compass to know what is healthy for your mental health and what’s not.

Student nurses find themselves having to balance their work and study life. They often feel like they should be working extra hours to further their education. However, this can lead to over-exhaustion and burnout. If you feel burnt out at work, it’s important to speak up. Student nurses need all the support they can get, especially as stress levels rise during clinical rotations.

You should try to identify the right program for you to reduce the likelihood of burnout. For instance, if you can avoid working for a short period of time then you could click here to look at an online ABSN – these courses can help you to get the skills you need for the career you want quicker than another program. It is full time so you can devote yourself only to your studies and not try to fit other work around it at the same time. This might be the style of course for you. 

Identify Stressors and Coping Mechanisms That Might Lead To Student Nurse Burnout

Be sure to discuss your work expectations with your school, employers, friends, and family. If someone pressures you to go back to school instead of taking a break, it can lead to burnout.

Student nurses need time for their minds, body, and spirit.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid burnout altogether and put yourself in a good position to finish your studies feeling great!

Find Meaning in Your Work

Nursing is both a job and a vocation. It can be frustrating if you feel like you are only there to make money.

It’s important to remember that your job should be more than just a way to make money. The work is going to be hard and the salary will not always carry you through. There are ways to find meaning in any work and student nurses should be encouraged to do so.

The first step is to get an idea of why you want to be in healthcare – this might have changed over time so consider carefully. What do you enjoy the most, how can you work towards that?  

Develop Good Communication Skills

Effective communication is key to working successfully with colleague – nurses, doctors, and other staff. It’s important to be clear on the expectations of your workplace, school and clinical instructors so that you are able to manage expectations and prioritize carefully. 

Good communication can also help you avoid misunderstandings or errors in care and procedures. The more you work on your communication skills, the better you will be at managing problems, timings and understanding your patient’s needs.

Determine How Much You Can Handle

Nursing school and clinicals is an intense combination of coursework and clinicals. It can be easy for a student nurse to feel overwhelmed if they have too much going on outside of their classes, like a part-time job or other commitments.

While you may think you are doing your best for yourself and your education, over-booking can lead to burnout. Try to cut back where you can – perhaps switch to ready meals or batch cooking for a bit, tidy away ornaments so it’s easier to clean, alternate between video calls and meeting in person with friends. 

Make a personal schedule or use a planner/organizer to ensure tasks get done on time. An agenda can help you manage all the activities that are going on in your life, which will reduce stress and help avoid burnout.

Define Your Limits

Leading on from the point above, clearly define your limitations. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the demands of your nursing program, it’s important to define what you can and can’t do. Defining your limits helps your body and mind cope with stress. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment knowing that you can take care of yourself in certain situations.

It’s important to define your limits so that you know how much you can handle, which will help you plan better from the start. It can seem like a lot of work at first, but the more often you do this exercise, the easier it will be for you in future situations.

Develop a Healthy Boundary with Work/life Balance

When you know what your physical, emotional and mental limits are, it’s important to set boundaries for them to maintain your work/life balance. It can be really helpful to plan when you’ll be working versus relaxing or spending time with other people.

Boundaries can help you develop a healthy relationship with your job and avoid burnout. Students who don’t set boundaries often find themselves overwhelmed by working too much or not enough. Setting boundaries are helpful in knowing how much time to devote yourself to different tasks in your life, whether it be study group, an internship or clinical rotation.

Begin by focusing on one area of your life that feels the most demanding and find ways to cut down on obligations that could impact that area.

While it can be difficult to say no at times, it’s necessary if you want to avoid burnout. Being in over your head at work (or in life) can be stressful and lead to burnout. By learning to say ‘no’ you can avoid the feeling of not being able to do it all and panicking. You’ll find that your time is then used more effectively, and you’ll have time for more meaningful things. 

Take Time For Yourself

It’s important to take time for yourself, whether taking a break from work or taking some time off school. Small regular breaks can help with studying and maintaining a mental balance, but you should also take complete days off to rest. It doesn’t matter if you have anything booked or not, or you just want to clean your house or cook a load of meals. Everyone needs a day to focus on themselves, so don’t be scared of using holiday time when you don’t have anything booked. Remember you don’t owe anyone an explanation for what you are doing with your time off – that’s not necessary information for them. 

Nurse mentors and instructors can understand the immense stress that student nurses might experience, but they may not fully empathize with it. Sometimes people just don’t get it unless they’ve experienced it themselves. It’s important to take some time for yourself and away from your school and clinical settings to clear your head.

Try not to feel guilty about taking time for yourself. You have a right to take time off or ask your boss or employer for flexibility or help if you need it. 

Be Conscious of Your Workplace’s Culture

The culture at work is sometimes overlooked when you’re focusing on your clinicals, but it can greatly impact the quality of your work and emotional health. 

For example, if you are part of a toxic workplace or people are not supportive of their employees, it could lead to emotional distress that is hard to cope with. 

To avoid this, it’s important to learn about your workplace’s culture. It should be a pleasant, encouraging environment that supports your job and education. 

Find Supportive People Around You

Finding supportive people is important when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the demands of being a student nurse. Not only will it help you get through your studies, but it can also help you maintain balance in your working life.

However, it’s important to be careful when looking for these people. It can be easy to find the wrong support, and even though you might be hurting in certain areas of your life, they probably won’t understand that unless they’ve been there before.

This link has some tips to build a network of supportive people who understand what you’re going through as a student nurse.

Negotiate Your Workload with Your Mentors

When student nurses are overwhelmed by their workload, they often feel powerless to change the situation. It’s easy to feel trapped in these situations and to give up before trying a different approach.

As a student nurse, you have more power than you think. Negotiating your workload with your mentors, instructors, and employers is possible. 

Don’t Overschedule Yourself

Avoiding burnout can be difficult when you over-schedule yourself. There’s a natural tendency to fill up our calendars with activities; however, it can make us feel overwhelmed and fatigued, which is not good for our health or well-being.

There are times when you may have to work hard or study, but you don’t have to do it all simultaneously. Learn to recognize these times in your life and schedule breaks accordingly. 

Identify Time Wasters

How much time do you spend watching TV, browsing the internet, texting on your phone, and checking social media? 

Going through each time waster will help you identify them once and for all and make sure you’re not doing something that drains your energy unnecessarily. Looking at how much time is wasted can help you identify where there is waste in your life. 

By identifying where your time really goes, you can make better decisions about how you spend your time and learn to develop healthy habits to prevent burnout.

Learn How to Delegate Tasks To Others

Delegating/distributing tasks to professors, mentors or coworkers can work well in reducing the burden on yourself. Delegating can free up your time, help you manage your workload, as well as trigger a sense of accomplishment. 

Delegating tasks to others can ease the burden of nursing school duties and allow you freedom to take care of yourself. Delegation is a good way for you to learn how to manage your time and stress because delegating allows you to focus on what’s important in life.

Accept the Help You Receive

Feeling overwhelmed with all the demands on our lives? Try accepting the help that’s available to you from nurses, professors, mentors, or employers. 

For example, if your nursing school helps you with a clinical rotation, accepting that help allows you to be less burdened by the task and allows you to focus on other things in your life. 

Accepting help can be hard but knowing that you have a support system will help reduce stress and prevent burnout.

Always remember: Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed!

Conclusion: Take time for Yourself and Reduce the Risks of Burnout

Burnout is a real problem within the healthcare sector, especially within the nursing profession. Most of us will go through a period of burnout in our lives and some even go through it throughout their entire careers.

It’s important to understand your physical, emotional and mental limits so that you can set boundaries for yourself to maintain balance in your life, take time off when necessary, reduce time wasters, learn how to delegate tasks, accept help when you need it, and always remember it’s OK to ask for help! 

If you’re experiencing burnout, seek support from friends, teachers or professors – they’ve been there before, so they know what you’re going through.