Impact of Burnout in Nursing Shortage
Role Strain and Burnout in Nursing
Causes, effects of role strain and Burnout among the nurses
Nurses face a lot of challenges in their work. Among the most common challenges is stress. Psychologists and other experts point out that stress in workplace is an occupational hazard. Despite this recognition, nurses still experience stress in their workplace. These professionals work for long and engage in different activities under difficult environment making the job to be a challenge.
Stress causes burnout among workers including nurses. Burnout is a terminology that is used to describe how workers react to chronic stress that characterizes jobs which involve direct interaction with human beings (Callara & Callara, 2008). A worker suffering from burnout displays emotional exhaustion, reduced productivity, and depersonalization. Workplace problems sometimes spill over to personal life thus affecting families since a worker may have other responsibilities such maintaining marriage and caring for children. Majority of nurses universally are females who are forced to divide their time between performing their job duties and managing other responsibilities such as home and families, further leading to burnout among them.
How it works
Nurse burnout affects patients and the institutions as well as the nurses themselves. To begin with, stressed nurses provide substandard and inadequate patient care (Lindberg, Hunter, & Kruszewski, 2009). When nurses are exhausted, they tend to make wrong choices and poor decisions. It is also quite common to see burnt out nurses with changed bedside manners accompanied by cynicism, depersonalization, lack of compassion, insensitivity, and lack of empathy. A nurse who may have been vibrant can suddenly become rude to patients, and stop being helpful to patients needing help. The change in the nurse’s behavior may affect the recovery rate of the patients; the relationship between burnt out staff and patients deteriorate and the sick that get poor treatment may opt to seek medical attention elsewhere.
Secondly, burnout among nurses makes some of them resign and seek job elsewhere. The remaining nurses are forced to take more patients under their care. Statistics show that a high patient to nurse ratio leads to patients contracting infectious diseases, getting injuries, failing to get timely care, while some patients are discharged without proper plans of home care (Callara et all, 2008). Nurse burnout also affects the organizations since they are forced recruit new staff when some resign due to work challenges. Additionally, other staff working within the same institutions with the nurses may also suffer from the effects of the burnout due to poor relationship between them and the nurses. This inconsistent change in the workers due to resigning and burn out greatly affects proper care and recovery of the patients.
There are several ways through which nurses can control and reduce role stress and role strain. The nurses need to recognize the source of stress and make plans on the best ways of overcoming them. They need to also know how strike a balance between work and social life. The health professionals can also seek help from support groups such as family members, friends, and colleagues. Finding ways of releasing stress such as practicing art or other hobbies can assist in reducing work related stress. If all these options fail, considering other jobs options can also assist to manage stress and prevent escalation of the problem into depression.
Issues that lead to nurse burnout and their solutions
One of the leading causes of nurse burnout is gender and obligation to one’s family. Studies have shown that the rate of burnout is higher among female nurses than that of their male counterparts (May & Holmes, 2012). Furthermore, the females who worked for the number of hours against their wishes were more likely to develop burnout. Work-family conflict leads to burnout if one interferes with the other, particularly when work interfered with the family nurse of the health practitioner. Nurses with young children and elderly parents to take care of can sometimes project their stress to workplace.
This challenge can be countered by the management of the organization where the nurse works organizing a positive wellness program to handle the issues affecting the nurses. Incentives such as counseling, time off, and food program can assist the workers to know how to strike a balance between private and work life.
The second cause of nurse burnout is poor management style. How nurses and their managers relate directly affects the rate of nurse burnout in organizations. Factors such as inadequate leadership, absent supervisors, poor communications, inability to respond to problems of the health practitioners, and frequent leadership change raised stress level among the nurses (Daly, 2005) The adoption of participatory form of leadership in organizations where nurses work also reduces stress among the nurses. The position the nurse holds also determines the level of stress among the nurses with those in management positions suffering from stress more compared to the other nurses.
To overcome this challenge of leadership, organizations should appoint nurses with experience and knowledge to serve in managerial positions. Institutions can also lay down polices to guide the managers on how to treat the workers. Finally, an organization can adopt a method of gathering views from all the employees to make them feel as part of the company.
Stressing experience as a nurse
There was one time I was working in the hospital and served during the nightshift. The nurses were few in the organization so the ten employed nurses worked for twelve hour shift; five during the day time and the other staff during the night. On this particular day, I had served the night shift and exhausted, was ready to go home and catch sleep before preparing to resume later during my night shift. Just as I was preparing to leave, the head nurse summoned me to her office and said that two of our colleagues had resigned without giving any form of notice to allow for preparation. I was expected to serve for additional six-hour period until midday. My love for the patients and dedication to the hospital made me work for the extra six hours. The experience was unpleasant since I offered poor service due to fatigue and sleep.