Nurse Leaders: Taking steps to look after health is essential. It helps individuals stay in shape not only physically but also mentally. From eating well to exercising and practicing mindfulness, looking after personal health is not something individuals should ignore.
However, it is not just their personal lives where individuals should focus on wellbeing. They should also be aware of this in their professional lives – not only for themselves but also for any staff they may manage. This can be seen in the healthcare sector itself, where the busy and sometimes challenging nature of the work can impact staff.
Nursing is one of the most popular healthcare roles and one that relies on effective leadership to function. Nurse leaders play a crucial part in managing the nurses they look after and caring for their overall wellbeing. Additionally, nursing burnout can sometimes be a prominent issue for leaders to keep tabs on.
But what is it and what are the best strategies for leaders in this field to not only tackle burnout in staff but also promote overall levels of wellbeing?
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What Is Nursing Burnout?
Nursing can be a highly rewarding role which not only pays well but also delivers excellent job satisfaction and a range of interesting positions to move into. It can sometimes bring its own challenges though and burnout is one that some nurses face. It is also one issue that nursing leaders must be aware of and implement the best strategies to tackle.
Nursing burnout is a syndrome which sees nurses feel tired, stressed, de-motivated, low on confidence, and low on energy. Symptoms of nursing burnout can be felt both physically and mentally. Common causes of burnout in nurses include working long hours, taking on workloads which are too heavy, working in an unsupportive environment, and an overly stressful incident at work having a lasting effect on their physical or mental health.
How Nursing Leaders Tackle Burnout In Staff And Promote Wellbeing
Nursing leaders are not born with the knowledge required for the role and don’t automatically know the best strategies for managing staff effectively. The best leaders in nursing work hard to develop their managerial skills over time so they can excel in senior nursing positions. This applies to tackling burnout in staff and picking up innovative ways to care for their overall health.
Education is key and involves learning about how to care for staff wellbeing or stop them from burning out professionally. Completing a Doctor of Nursing (DNP) qualification is worth considering. DNPs are higher level awards which see students following a practice-driven pathway, rather than focusing purely on academic research. This allows graduates to pick up knowledge around nursing burnout and wellbeing strategies and learn how to implement them in a practical way.
Spring Arbor University’s online DNP in Strategic Leadership shows just what this kind of course offers to students. It is ideal for anyone considering becoming a nursing leader. It offers a convenient, flexible, and affordable way to develop key leadership skills as an advanced nursing professional. It also teaches students all they need to know about caring for the nurses they manage.
Why Is Preventing Nursing Burnout Important?
Finding the best ways to prevent professional fatigue is essential for numerous reasons. For example, it can ensure that nurses perform to their maximum potential and avoid mistakes from being over-worked. This is naturally much better for patient care levels and the service the healthcare facility offers. Preventing burnout also means the nurses which leaders manage are more motivated to come into work and do a good job. This is vital for cutting back on the sick days nursing staff may ask for and helps with staff retention over time.
Nurses not suffering from burnout will also be more likely to go the extra mile for patients and care for them with a positive attitude. This can see less complaints from patients about the care they receive and enable patient outcomes to improve. Nursing staff who are not burnt out are also more likely to work more effectively within a team and contribute to a positive working environment.
Why Should Leaders In Nursing Look After Staff Wellbeing?
While preventing nursing burnout is one aspect of pastoral care all nursing leaders need to focus on, they should also be aware of caring for staff wellbeing in general.
In many ways, it is similar to why addressing burnout in nurses is essential. Caring for staff health overall will help them feel happier in their job and valued by senior management. This will in turn see nursing staff come into work with a positive attitude and provide the highest levels of patient care.
Looking after staff wellbeing is also ethical and helps support nurses who are going through difficult times in their personal or professional life. Taking steps to promote physical wellbeing as a leader can also help nurses remain healthier and reduce the amount of time nursing staff are off sick.
Strategies Nursing Leaders Can Use
A nursing leader must ensure that the nurses they manage feel supported and valued. They should engage with the pastoral care side of the role and check in regularly with nursing staff to see how they are doing. This will give them chance to flag up any issues and ensure leaders pick up on any wellbeing problems to tackle.
A good tip for preventing burnout specifically is ensuring that staff are not overworked or working long hours and too many shifts per week. To achieve this, leaders could look at staffing levels in the team or facility and ensure they have enough nurses employed to cover the number of patients.
Many nurse leaders will also look at more flexible working schedules to help staff achieve a better work/life balance and reduce the chances of burning out. Encouraging nurses to take breaks is also a good tip for tackling burnout.
Additional Ways To Address Staff Wellbeing And Burnout
A good way to boost overall feelings of wellbeing in nursing staff can simply be to encourage self-care and promote wellness within the organization. This could be anything from providing the latest nutrition tips to encouraging a healthier lifestyle, passing on the benefits of getting enough sleep, or advice around simple exercises to stay fit. Some leaders may also choose to go further and set up activities like exercise classes for staff after a shift.
Wellbeing is also about looking after nurses mental health and there are some effective strategies leaders can consider here too. Self-care is also key in this regard and senior nursing figures can signpost staff to external resources if they ask for help. Many leaders will also set up support or wellness programs to help staff avoid issues such as burnout. If staff are struggling with the mental side of burnout, leaders could encourage them to take time off or move to another department for a fresh start.
Burnout And Wellbeing – How Nurse Leaders Make A Difference
Often, nurses can feel burnout or cynical at work because of a perceived lack of control in their role. A good strategy to address this for leaders is including nurse in any policy decisions which affect them. This could be anything from a new policy around annual leave to new guidance around the use of mobile phones in the workplace. By including nurses that leaders manage in the decision-making process, they will feel more involved, valued, and less likely to develop burnout.
Nursing leaders should also focus on how well their nursing teams work together and any potential tension between team members to resolve. If tensions are left to simmer, it can impact both the overall wellbeing of team members and how happy they are at work.
Wellbeing And Burnout Are Key Issues For Nursing Leaders
This article has explored what nursing burnout is and how important overall wellbeing is for professionals in the sector. Nursing leaders must take both into account and do all they can to prevent burnout and boost overall feelings of health among their staff.