Nurses are the backbone of any healthcare organization. From advocating, observing, and speaking about patients’ history, preparing them for exams and treatment, to administering medications and treatments nurses are always overloaded with work and often overlooked. And this may affect their behavior toward patients.

As soon as the patient enters the hospital, he gets an idea about the kind of care and treatment he is going to receive.

Because, before meeting the doctor, he has to come in contact with the nurse for registering himself in the hospital at the reception table and helping them to record his medical history.

At this time the behavior of the nurse tells a lot about the culture of the hospital.

So as a healthcare organization, taking care of the mental and physical well-being of your nurses should be your first priority.

Signs of burnout in nurse

Sometimes due to high workload and responsibilities, long working hours, and emotional stress nurses do feel stressed out and unable to do work.

Due to this unmanageable chronic stress, they feel:

  • Exhausted
  • Depleted of energy
  • Lack of efficacy and accomplishment
  • Detachment from the work

These are the signs of nurse burnout

Have you noticed any of these signs in any of your nurses? Or do you want to avoid such kinds of sufferings in your nurses?

Then let’s see the factors responsible for such signs of burnout in nurses so that you can take measures to avoid them.

Causes of burnout in nurse

1. High workload and long working hours

The generation of baby boomers is getting older, and chronic disease is increasing day by day. This resulted in an increased number of patients in the hospital.

This increased number of patients creates a pressurized atmosphere in the hospital and urges nurses to work continuously without a break. They always have to stay on their toes to take care of patients. But this often leads them to feel exhausted and make mistakes. These mistakes cause frustration both in patients and nurses. 

Research has shown that a high workload and long working hours result in less satisfied patients. And this negatively affects the self-esteem of nurses. Long working hours and high workload disrupt their work-life balance, which is the major reason for burnout in nurses. 

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2. Toxic work environment

Nurses are humans and they too loved to be heard. They feel respected and valued when their opinions are counted. And exactly the opposite happens when they are not given a chance to share their point of view.

When management excludes them from the decision-making process, they feel undervalued and disempowered. Such behavior of management creates staffing issues and an overall sense of inefficient support among nurses.

Like every other professional, the nurse also enjoys friendliness among their peers. But when instead of friendliness, they have to face bullying, backbiting, and politics, they feel stressed out.

3. Sleep deprivation

Six to eight hours of sleep is very essential for every human being, and nurses are not indifferent. According to a Kronos inc. survey, 25% of nurses feel they don’t get enough sleep between two shifts.

An increasing number of patients and less number of nurses compel the present nurse to work double shifts, which is the main reason for sleep deprivation.

Lack of sleep affects negatively physically and mentally. 

4. Emotional strain

Nursing is the most fulfilling profession, as it gives them a chance to serve humanity. And while working for the betterment of patients’ health nurses form the strongest bond with patients.

The main reason for detachment from work due to burnout is the attachment to patients. It gives them immense satisfaction when patients are recovering, and makes them grieve on the worsening of the patient’s situation.  And this causes emotional stress, a major cause of burnout.

Consequences of Nurse Burnout

1. Increased resignation

According to the Robert Wood Jhonson foundation, 1 in 5 new nurses leave their first job within the first year. 

According to a national study conducted by the RN network, half of the surveyed nurses considered leaving the nursing profession. According to the survey, the reasons for leaving nursing are workload, long working hours, and not being able to spend time with family.

Thus the major consequence of burnout in nurses is the upcoming shortage of nurses. 

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2. Unsatisfied patients

Another important effect of nurse burnout can be unsatisfied patients, since nurses are burdened with lots of work, they get less time on each patient. They may lack empathy towards patients in the hurry of completing their pending work, leading to their frustration with patients.

When a nurse is suffering from burnout, patients are just a number for them. They lack that emotional connectivity with their patients.

When patients notice that a nurse is stressed out and overloaded with work, they hesitate to share their problems with them, which leads to adverse health consequences and puts them at higher risk.

A recent study in Australia claimed that about one-third of nurses are suffering from depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, which make them difficult to focus on patients care. The safety of patients is at risk when they are treated by such nurses.

Thus, the burnout in nurses can make you pay higher prices, beyond your imagination. 

To avoid such consequences, taking care of nurses is a must for every healthcare organization

Let’s discuss preventive measures to avoid burnout in nurses. 

Four steps to prevent burnout in nurse

1. Prioritize the overall well-being of the nurse

Encourage nurses to take care of their mental and physical health by engaging them in yoga, meditation, journaling, etc. This helps them to work through stress, release frustration and balance their life.

Organize various programs in your organization that support nurse health and well-being such as mindfulness programs and self-resilience training. Help them to open up about themselves and vent out their stress without any hesitation.

2. Workforce management

Take the help of technological tools to tackle workforce management issues like

  • Time and Attendance
  • Overtime
  • Staffing and scheduling
  • Patients classification
  • Human resource payroll

Gathering and analyzing these data will help you a lot to avoid excessive overtime and an inflexible work schedule for nurses.

3. Work-life balance

Happy and satisfied nurses are the most productive and empathetic. Wondering how to make them happy?

No, don’t just bring them gifts or increments, rather show your empathy, and limit their working hours to a maximum of 10-12 hours.

This will help them to look after their loved ones also and will be able to have a work-life balance.

Along with getting some quality time with their family members, they will also get some time for self-care. They will be able to spend some time in yoga, meditation, and the activities they love to do.

4. Appreciate them

Like any other employee, nurses also love being appreciated. Along with fulfilling, the nursing profession is full of risk, as nurses are prone to get infected while examining and treating patients.

And that’s why they deserve your kind words of appreciation, appraisal, and regular increment which motivate them to continue their good work.


Thus by showing little empathy towards your nurses you can help them to avoid feeling burnout.

Nurses are very important humans not only for your organization but for the whole society as well. So take care of your nurses to help them and your organization to continue serving humanity.

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