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What can a nurse suffering from burnout do?

Dear Donna,

I have lost my passion for nursing. I guess it’s what some would call burnout. I never thought I would reach this state and feel very sad about it. I don’t want to change professions at this point in my career but know that I can’t go on with things as they are. I dread going to work, can’t wait to leave once I get there and spend my off time thinking about how miserable I am. What can I do?

Feeling Burned Out

Dear Feeling Burned Out,

Clearly it is time for you to make some changes, but I am not talking about changing professions. Instead, you need to breathe some new life into your career and take steps to get your nursing groove back. That could mean changing jobs or specialties or focusing on reenergizing yourself and your current situation. Burnout can occur when we no longer feel challenged or stimulated by our environment. Read “How Nancy Nurse got her groove back” for some specific steps to take to start generating positive momentum in your professional life.

Sometimes when you reach this state, a complete change in career direction is needed within nursing. That could mean not only changing specialties but also changing employers. For example, if you are providing direct bedside care, you might want to switch to something completely different such as insurance nursing (case management, telephone advice line, utilization review) or nurse recruiter for a hospital or nursing agency. This type of shift allows you to use your nursing knowledge and skills in a whole new way. Read “Knowing when it’s time to move on” to evaluate if changing jobs is right for you and how to go about starting that process.

Regardless of what you do next, it is imperative that you devote time to nourishing yourself — emotionally, physically and spiritually. Burnout often is the result of a complete depletion of energy from long-term output without adequate renewal and recharging. Read “First things first” to reconnect with yourself and your spirit. This will allow you to see things more clearly, feel more positive and have the energy to move forward in your life and career.

Best wishes,

By | 2021-05-07T09:29:57-04:00 May 7th, 2015|Categories: Nursing Careers and Jobs|0 Comments

About the Author:

Donna Cardillo
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, is president of Known as The Inspiration Nurse, she is a keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and author of "Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional" and "The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career." She brings more than 25 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru.

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