As a dialysis nurse, you may deal with high levels of stress. Not only that, but you are working with patients who are fighting for their lives. It is never easy to lose a patient that you have been treating for years.
According to a study on dialysis nurse burnout, out of 93 nurses, almost 50% experienced a moderate level of burnout. In addition to feeling burnout due to patient loss, nearly 80% of these nurses reported feeling stressed from the complex techniques and implementations of their job.
What is Nurse Burnout?
Burnout, when applied to the nursing field, involves feelings of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. These feelings can be caused by a variety of stressors, such as feeling overworked from long shifts or feeling grief over the loss of patients. Dialysis nurses experience all of these and more, like frustration over working with a dialysis machine. When looking at the variety of circumstances a nurse must deal with, it is no wonder that a nurse may experience burnout or chose to quit entirely.
Signs of Dialysis Nurse Burnout
Burnout involves mental, physical, and emotional health. Our mental health can greatly affect our physical and emotional health. In terms of physical and emotional exhaustion, a nurse may experience chronic fatigue, insomnia, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, susceptibility to illness, loss of appetite, headaches, fainting, gastrointestinal pain, or chest pains. These signals of burnout should never be taken lightly, especially if they have become physical.
If you or someone you know are experiencing burnout, you also may show signs of cynicism and detachment. These feelings are mostly caused by the repeated loss of patients. In a way, you may start becoming emotionally numb to the loss because it is happening so much. You may also experience a loss of enjoyment in daily life, pessimism, and isolation. If you notice yourself or another nurse withdrawing socially or displaying a new, negative behavior, it may be burnout.
A nurse experiencing burnout may feel that they are ineffective or that they have not accomplished anything in their career. These feelings could come from a lack of appreciation, little time off, or from patient loss. Signs of these emotions include hopelessness, increased irritability, or a sudden decrease in work performance.
If these symptoms progress, they could lead to anxiety and depression for the suffering individual. This is why it is very important to pay attention and lookout for signs of burnout. Additionally, if you notice a coworker is showing symptoms of nurse burnout, you may want to talk to your head nurse or another authority figure in your workplace. The sooner a nurse with burnout receives help, the better.
Self Care and Burnout
Individually, there are many ways that you can avoid burnout. The most important thing to do to avoid burnout is to detach yourself from work as soon as you leave the building. If you bring your stress home with you, there is no way you will find any way to relax and take a load off. Take the time to practice self-care and do the things you enjoy. In addition, healthy habits such as eating a balanced diet, getting the proper amount of sleep, and exercise can greatly help with stress management.
Seeking Out Help
In the medical field, nurse retention is something that is taken very seriously. This means that there are resources available to nurses experiencing burnout. Many places of work for dialysis nurses, traveling nurses, and regular nurses offer programs that offer phone counseling, stress management skills, and self-care support.
If you are a traveling nurse looking for a dialysis facility that focuses on nurse retention, you will want to consider New Directions. We offer flexible opportunities for nurses across the nation and want to help you succeed. With us, your mental health will be valued and your opportunities will be endless.