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The Key to Burnout Prevention for Nurses

In 40 years specializing in stress and burnout, one thing is clear to me. Burnout is the result of people working in conflict with their deepest values.

Nurses have the capacity to work tirelessly and hard for years when they feel good about themselves and the value of their work. Working for prolonged periods with no personal satisfaction from the effort is a situation ripe for burnout. While physical stress is tiring, the spiritual stress of being out of harmony with your truth, your values, is devastating.

In the fast paced, short staffed, techno world of medicine, it is easy to go for days without having those special, vital moments with patients you treasure. Moving fast, attending to tasks rather than people is a sure set up for nurse burnout.

When nurses don’t feel they have the time to take an extra moment to listen, to make eye contact, to touch a hand with compassion it hurts at a deep level. Both nurse and patient satisfaction suffer.

You can prevent burnout by knowing what is truly important to you in the human connection with your patients. Then, creating and taking the time to be present, to notice those moments when you made that connection.
What is the most important value you hold about nursing? What is important to you when it comes to patient care? Is it connecting with that unique human being? Is it relieving their suffering? Is it the smile of thanks, or gratitude of a patient or family?

Think about the day when you came home exhausted and yet felt good inside about something you did for or experienced with a patient. What is it that stands out in your mind at those moments that make them special to you?

In workshops, I ask nurses to draw a picture of what nursing is about for them. Rarely do those pictures contain pills, IVs, charts or even hospital beds. Nearly all the pictures contain hearts, hands clasped with one another, smiling faces, symbols of connection between human beings. This is what nurses value most.

Nurses, while technically competent, also have strong values for human life, caring, support, love, comfort, listening, connecting and more. Acting on these values is what makes nurses come alive.

Take time to notice the moments you are connecting and living your value for meeting human need. Be aware of being present with the other person while you are also busy doing the tasks of the day. Breathe in those moments and feel your heart expand. Feel the difference you are making.

You cannot burn out when your heart is aflame!

This blog was originally posted on Aila's blog, Click Here to read this and other blogs from Aila's blog www.AilaSpeaks.com

Pedagogy Guest Blog by Pedagogy author Aila Accad. Aila Accad, RN, MSN, “Your Stress-Busters Coach” is an award-winning international speaker, best-selling author, and certified well-being coach with Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in nursing. Aila's class, Stress 101, provides healthcare professionals with a variety of tools so they will be able to identify how the stress response works, the different kinds of stress and many strategies for releasing stress quickly and also handling chronic stress and specifically stress in the workplace.
Posted: 1/13/2014 10:20:57 AM
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