Challenges and Burnout in the Profession of Nurses

They say that nursing is a work of heart, and nurses are driven by an insatiable urge to care for and nurture others. It takes compassion and empathy to devote one’s entire career to the wellbeing and care of those in pain. Professionals who adopt this career path are natural caregivers who take pride and satisfaction in serving others.

Much is said and written about the caregiving nature and compassion of nurses. Nurses deal with overwhelming bouts of stress and anxiety, alongside experiencing severe mental and physical burnout. And yet, their challenges and difficulties often go unnoticed behind their self-composure and selfless nature.

They invest their physical and mental energies into serving patients to the best of their abilities. It’s crucial to discuss the challenges of the nursing profession and propose solutions to elevate their life quality. Keep reading to explore the challenges and burnout nurses struggle to overcome each day.

Less Clinical Significance & Involvement

It’s frustrating for nurses to stay excluded from the treatment design processes despite their crucial role in monitoring treatment outcomes. Nurses have direct contact with patients, and they administer all medications and therapeutic interventions.

And yet, they cannot make any suggestions or improvements to the ongoing treatment. Lack of clinical significance and peer respect can prove immensely demoralizing for young nursing professionals.

Nearly all nurses have experienced embarrassing cases of bullying and scoldings at the hands of senior doctors, surgeons, and healthcare professionals. Entry-level and RN nurses are flooded with administrative and secretarial tasks with little participation in treatment design. Modern-day nursing education equips nurses with diagnostic tools and advanced skills to bring them at par with physicians.

We advise young professionals to pursue accredited online MSN programs to advance their capabilities with clinical training. An MSN program will help you carve out a specialization in your chosen field, such as gerontology, psychiatry, or medicine. MSN nursing professionals enjoy clinical significance and peer respect, alongside scores of lucrative opportunities for career advancement.

These nursing leaders enjoy superior marketability because they allow healthcare organizations to overcome the shortages of skilled physicians. Pursuing a full-time MSN degree isn’t easy if you don’t want to pause your career. But if you opt for the e-learning route, you can pursue academic advancement alongside your work responsibilities.

Exhaustingly Long & Demanding Shifts

If you’ve seen Grey’s Anatomy, you must have a fair idea of the exhaustingly long and physically draining healthcare shifts. But if you’re a nursing professional, you know the reality is much more grave and demanding. A 10-12-hour shift requires you to constantly stay on your feet, running across corridors and departments, which is an understatement.

Nurses have to deal with abrupt shift changes, and at times, they stay back beyond their designated schedules. It’s not easy for a nurse to leave a patient struggling with a life-and-death emergency and head home. If the patient needs you or the hospital has staff shortages, available nurses end up putting in extra hours. While the long shifts pay well, the financial compensation isn’t always worth the physical and mental burnout.

Performing a highly demanding job on a 12-hour shift with nothing but stale coffee and poorly cooked meals is intensely dissatisfying. And yet, nurses manage to devote themselves to their patients despite the exhaustion and overwhelming routines. It’s crucial to set priorities and explore work opportunities with a flexible schedule.

If you’re not keen on changing your employer, consider finding therapeutic outlets to de-stress. More importantly, be sure to get ample sleep and rest during your free hours.

Losing Touch with Family & Friends

How many family dinners and festivities have you missed in the past year? Do you ever get time to hang out with your girls and sip mimosas in a beachside bar? Or perhaps, you’re always too exhausted to put on your party shoes and dance the night away?

It’s natural for nurses to lose touch with family and friends. And while your career continues to progress and advance, social invitations stop pouring in after a point. People get used to your busy schedules and hectic work routine, and at times, disappointed by your unresponsiveness. The lack of a healthy social life can prove mentally and emotionally crippling. Why? That’s because it denies you much-needed recreation and the support systems of your family and friends.

We urge you to break free of this vicious cycle and make time for social gatherings and fun activities. Pamper yourself with relaxing spa sessions, go on exciting date nights with your partner, and dance the night away with your girls. Taking time to have a delicious dinner or catching a play at the theatre won’t harm your career or productivity. Sometimes, a night of adventure and fruity cocktails is better for your mental health than quality sleep.

Moreover, clinics and hospitals must consider knowing more about locum tenens, which allows nurses to take time off for personal matters, such as sick days, vacations, and family commitments. It enables clinics and hospitals to have a pool of nurses available for short-term assignments and to fill in for nurses who are on personal leave. Thus, they can maintain a steady supply of nurses without disrupting the workflow or quality of care.

Physically Burdensome Duties

Here’s a mammoth challenge that no one ever talks about: a nurse’s physically demanding and burdensome duties. Nurses must perform a wide range of physically draining roles and responsibilities. For instance, they carry heavy equipment and objects, run around the facility between patients and doctors, and stand for hours.

More importantly, nurses must help patients with bathroom visits, recreational activities, and mobility. The simple act of lifting and repositioning a patient who can’t move can prove immensely exhausting. If your patient is overweight, the struggle becomes more physically exhausting. At times, nurses end up experiencing backaches and physical strain on their bodies.

Regular exercise is crucial to maintain your bodily strength, agility, and stamina. Be sure to take your supplements and fulfill your body’s daily nutrient requirements to remain fit and healthy.

Safety & Protection

Nurses care for the sick, and they are exposed to a broad array of contagious illnesses, viruses, bacteria, and germs. Compared with an average Joe, nurses have a much higher risk of contracting a disease or airborne virus. The case of the COVID-19 pandemic alone is enough to grasp the level of risk nurses take by prioritizing their professional duties.

To stay safe, nurses must withstand the discomfort of heavy protective equipment and remain vigilant throughout the day. They must handle sharp objects and surgical tools with great care and take additional precautions to avoid contracting illnesses. For instance, they must clean their hands and limbs more often and sanitize frequently. After a point, all these precautions can get tiring and get in the way of one’s job.

Final Thoughts

Whoever thinks the duties of a nurse are easy and administrative clearly doesn’t understand the gravity of this commitment. Nurses are entirely devoted to their professional responsibilities, with little time and energy left for other activities. Luckily, academic advancement offers a viable route to carve out a healthy work-life balance for a rewarding and satisfying career.