- 19 October 2021
- 8 min read
Beating Burnout: 9 Tips To Help You Cope In 2021Subscribe To Advice
Marzena gives you all the information you need to know about coping with Burnout and explains why prioritising yourself is key to beating stress.
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The term ‘Burnout’ was recognised by World Health Organisation in 2019 as an ‘occupational phenomenon’.
This term is well known and commonly experience by Healthcare Professionals, but there is limited research on burnout among student Nurses.
Burnout is known as a state of physical and emotional exhaustion (Mental Health UK, 2021).
People usually experience burnout when there are involved in on-going stressful situations at work and their role is emotionally and physically exhausting for them for a longer period.
Common symptoms which people experience during their burnout are:
- Feeling tired all the time
- Feeling helpless and trapped in the situation
- Feeling alone from the world and struggling to experience any pleasure from activities which used to be enjoyable for a person
- Cynical thoughts and comments
- Procrastinating and completing activities longer than usual
- Insomnia and disturbed sleep or sleeping too much
- Anxiety and its physical symptoms (for example shortness of breath or more common headaches)
- Decreased concentration and forgetfulness.
The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) is a 22-item self-report questionnaire that can be used as a tool to recognise symptoms of burnout in Nurses.
MBI explores three components: exhaustion, depersonalisation, and personal achievement.
Taking Its Toll
During the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students had to switch to distance learning, were deployed during the pandemic to unknown environments and disease which might potentially kill themselves and their families which caused uncertainty never experienced before.
Although it is important to be resilient in the healthcare workplace, we need to acknowledge that student Nurses have never been exposed to such stressful events like the COVID-19 pandemic and numerous lockdowns which both can affect physical and mental health.
They have been trying their best to cope with unprecedented demands which have increased their stress level and put them at higher risk of burnout.
The situation of student Nurses in the UK has been difficult for a long period.
If student Nurses get sick with a coronavirus, they are still required to complete their placement hours which they missed during their absence.
This might cause disruption in studies; working more than 37.5 h per week to complete the training and experiencing potential burnout.
Many student Nurses who used to also work in the care homes, were required to choose if they prefer to continue their placement and leave their jobs as they were not allowed to work in two different places to reduce the possibility of transmission of the virus.
Additionally, Brexit might have caused some difficulties for students from abroad and those who require VISA to live in the UK.
During 3- years of a Nursing degree, student Nurses are taught about resilience and the placements give them chance to practice those skills.
Nevertheless, having a good teacher around students really aids them in their journey.
Unfortunately, many students missed this opportunity due to staff shortages and burnout which many Healthcare Professionals have experienced during the last 19-months.
It is important to realise that student Nurses require dedicated time for learning about the procedures, administering medication, and developing Nursing skills.
Nevertheless, this might be difficult to achieve due to difficulties which medical professionals have been experiencing since March last year.Burnout among student Nurses might affect their academic performance and impact their ability to become qualified Nurses.
Also, this might have an impact on patients' safety and satisfaction with the service.
In the UK before the coronavirus crisis, there were around 50,000 shortages of registered Nurses.
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Tips To Beat Burnout
As Healthcare Professionals, every day we face challenging situations which many who did not work in the healthcare environment cannot even imagine.
People might not realise how much trauma Healthcare Professionals observe during their shifts until they work in this environment.
Moreover, it is necessary to highlight that working in the full PPE since March 2020 makes Healthcare Workers feel more tired after a shift than previously.
Although they are aware that this protection is necessary, nevertheless it puts a lot of strain on them.
Additionally, to prevent burnout, we need to practice self-care so we can look after others.
There are some ideas on how to prevent and deal with burnout:
1. Consider working more flexible hours, so you can have more break from the stressful environment- many healthcare providers offer bank staff positions, so it is worth elaborating your options with your line manager
2. Support- Reach out to your colleagues at work, friends, or family. Some helplines might offer support for the healthcare professionals for example IAPT, NHS inform NHS Staff support helpline, Mind, or Samaritans.
3. Relax, exercise, sufficient sleep, and a well-balanced diet- they all help us to manage difficult situations and keep us physically and mentally healthy
4. When you leave your job, try to focus on your personal life- do not check your work e-mails, do not pick up your phone, and focus your hobbies on something which helps you relax
5. Consider visiting your GP to make sure there are no physical health difficulties that might mimic burnout- I am sure your GP would help with ordering a specific test depending on your symptoms
6. Try to focus on something meaningful in your life- it could be your passion, hobbies, or even spiritual beliefs
7. Listen to yourself- practicing time ‘alone’, mindfulness, or even considering taking some time off might be healing for you and allow you to think through your situation
8. Take small steps- if you struggle to concentrate on mindfulness at least you can set yourself a task to do it for 2-3 minutes and then prolong this exercise for your wellbeing.
Take your time to heal.
Do not be harsh for yourself and make yourself a priority.
There is nothing more important than kindness to ourselves and the people around us, especially during this prolonged stressful situation that we have experienced globally since March 2020.
As a community of Healthcare Professionals, it is essential to make sure that the needs of the students Nurses can be met and we offer them our listening ear in difficult situations.
Using their knowledge, skills, and passion, Healthcare Professionals will be more likely to achieve a satisfactory response from patients who receive treatment under their care.