According to a survey of 500 DONs and clinical nurse leaders working in long-term care (LTC), 48% rated “burnout and stress” as their toughest challenge, rating it more challenging than both “inadequate staffing” (45%) and “staff turnover” (43%)1.
While burnout can occur at all levels of the care continuum, DONs are particularly at risk because everyone looks to them for solutions and decisions. Over time, stress and burnout lead to physical and/or emotional exhaustion, which not only affects you, but your residents and staff as well.
In order to give the best care you can, you must first take care of yourself. Here is a four-step plan for beating burnout:
1. Reevaluate your goals. Take a few minutes to remember what inspired your commitment to long-term care nursing in the first place. Make a list of the functions and duties you perform that give meaning to your work. Are these related to resident care, staff development, leadership, etc.?
2. Align your goals with your priorities. Of course you can’t ignore the parts of your job that you least enjoy, but can you reprioritize your duties to align more to your goals? Find strategies to limit time-wasting interruptions so that you can devote more time to the activities that are most meaningful to you.
3. Encourage your staff. Burnout can be contagious. If you’re stressed to the point of burnout, you can bet your staff is feeling it too. As you rediscover what makes you happy, help your staff do the same. Walk your team through this four-step plan as part of a team building activity.
4. Make yourself a priority. Find time for yourself every day. That means eating well, exercising (even if only for 15 minutes), reading or listening to music, getting enough rest, and making time to enjoy being with family and friends.
By adopting healthy work and lifestyle habits, you’ll beat DON burnout and inspire your staff to rediscover their own enthusiasm and take charge of their own well-being.
Have you found other ways to beat burnout? Let us know your tips.
12013 AANAC Work Study Research