How to recognize burnout and build resilience during tough times
Lynette is a managing nurse who has worked for the past 13 years at night at a local hospital. She used to enjoy taking charge, coordinating her unit, the budget and schedules. Most times, she has gotten excellent feedback from the team that she manages, as well as from upper management. Lately, she seems to be ineffective, and feeling a very low sense of morale.
Due to her love of her job and excellent pay, she hardly takes a day off and sees no reason to. She enjoys getting the PTO cashed out at the end of the year and uses it towards her son’s’ college fund savings. She attends church regularly, and depends on prayer to see her through the tough times, but lately, it seems her prayers have gone unanswered. You see, three years ago, Lynette’s husband passed away.
She often feels lonely as he was her best friend. Outside of work, she only has one true friend who is often busy with her own family and business. Her trusted colleague and coworker who was previously the Chief Nursing Officer at the hospital, has transferred to another hospital and Lynette’s’ new boss is a bully. Lynette no longer enjoys her job, is frustrated and feels exhausted each morning she arrives home. She finds herself feeling torn down, emotionally. “What the heck am I doing with my life, she thinks? At age 48, I should be in a different place in life!” She did not want to step foot in her workplace another day.
Making the Call for Help
With an impending sense of urgency, Lynette made a phone call to her Employee Assistance Program (EAP). She never wanted to do that, but she felt like she had no other choice or options. She just wanted an unbiased opinion as to what to do next. Boy is she glad she did. She met with a counselor who spoke with her about burnout and resilience. She learned that a study done in 2013 found that up to 60 % of employees in healthcare report, they are burned out.
The primary symptom of burnout is chronic exhaustion, both mentally and physically. Most days, Lynette wishes she could just lie in bed all day long. The counselor also informed her that the second most common symptom is withdrawal, and this hit the nail on the head! With her decreased efficiency at work, she realized that she suffered from the third symptom, which is reduced productivity. Lynette’s counselor shared with her another study that demonstrated the way she was feeling was caused by a combination of too many job demands (i.e.: high pressure and workload, role conflict), and the lack of job resources (leader support, time/job control).
Luckily, Lynette was educated on a few, was able to decrease her stress and learned ways to prevent burnout from happening again. The first thing she had to do was
learn how to put herself first. Yes, it was ok to be a little selfish, she learned! Balancing self-care with self- interests was key here. She didn’t have to give her all without giving to herself first. Secondly, she discovered ways to speak positivity to herself before, during and after difficult times. She also began reconnecting with the positive, uplifting and supportive people in her circle. This was the key to building resilience. She also learned strategies on how to not take things personally; she learned that problems do not last forever and how to control her response to situations.
With a renewed sense of promise and hope, Lynette began to set daily goals for herself. Even something as seemingly small as her thought process, she began to address her negative thinking. One day at a time, one step at a time, she started implementing the tips that her counselor had given to her.
These new found habits began to toughen her flexibility skills and became used to handling change. Lynette also joined a small group at her church to help her grow spiritually. She reconnected with her old friend with a simple phone call. Lynette had an open conversation with her new boss and although, they failed to agree on many things, she was granted a transfer to a different department for a weekend only position. She decided to work part time for a while, so that she could focus on her health, family and pursue a lifelong dream of hers, to become a Nurse Entrepreneur by opening her own Nursing Assistant school. Lynette is thankful for the experience that she went through as it made her more optimistic, tougher and yet, fulfilled, as she is now living her God-given purpose.
About the Author
Michelle Rhodes RN Online is a Registered Nurse turned Entrepreneur. She helps Nurses and other healthcare professionals start their entrepreneurial journey with her signature 90 day consulting system. She also offers 1:1 Coaching Sessions that helps keep her clients accountable, on track and dedicated to their success and also serves as a Nurse Mentor.
Look for new and exciting offerings launching in 2017 by Michelle Rhodes Media LLC. Let’s Connect!www.michellerhodesonline.com and Michelle Rhodes Online on Facebook