Managing BurnoutShayna J. FieldsLake Michigan College AbstractAnurse walks onto the unit to start a new shift and sighs with great despair.The day before the same nurse started with 5 patients while also being thecharge nurse; a patients daughter had accused the nurse of not answering a calllight fast enough; the house supervisor misread something the nurse had saidabout staffing and screamed at the nurse; a patient arrived to the unit with asafety attendant and security as an escort, due to being disruptive andcontinued to be disruptive for the remainder of the shift.
This nurse is havingthe classic symptoms of “burnout”. With the following research, it has beenbrought to the surface, there are many ways to decrease the amount of “burnout”on any given shift. With great management skills, resilience, joy at work, andmotivation, emotional “burnout” can be decreased throughout the workplace.
Managing BurnoutResilience It takes a special kind of person tobe a nurse. On any given day, family members/patients will yell at nurses forthings that aren’t in their hands; patients have critical conditions that needclose monitoring; nurses have multiple patients with high acuity; nursesoversee everyone that takes part in each of their patients care. All of thesefactors contribute to the well-known term called “burnout”. “Burnout istriggered by workplace stressors” (Lachman, 2016).
Some nurses can avoid these”stressors”, by having certain characteristics. Managing resilienceAs a manager, Donna J. Middlaugh ststesthere are 5 key steps to help employees achieve emotional resilience. “1.Profile the health of your staff … 2.
Establish a supportive environment … 3.Identify benefit support … 4. Introduce resilience and mindfulness training …5.
Promote spiritual resilience …” (Middlaugh, 2017). It is important, as amanager, to support the team that is managed. Being a good manager also meansbeing supportive. By being supportive, a great resilient team is built. “Ourteams take their cues from us. A shared sense of purpose is the hallmark of aresilient team. Resilient teams work together without displaying anger ornegative behaviors, banding together in tough times” (Middlaugh, 2017). Teamwork is key to working on a nursing unit.
Managing Crisis. As a manager, building a resilient teammeans working together in the toughest of times. In 2012, Hurricane Sandydevastated many areas along the mid-Atlantic coast. “Nurses need to be familiarwith the disaster plan in their facilities” (Mbewe & Jones, 2013).Catherine Mbewe & Marcia Jones spoke to one of the managers on the floor tounderstand how she helped manage her unit during the crisis of Hurricane Sandy”Moftia Aujerao, as the inpatient unit leader for the command center, stayed inthe hospital and went to the units where she coordinated team huddles andprovided updates so that the staff knew they were all working together” (Mbewe,2013). Moftia Aujerao took charge and made sure that the staff and the patientson her unit were well taken care of.
“… emergencies will happen and health carefacilities must be prepared. Nurses need to be knowledgeable about disasters,familiar with disaster plans, and aware of the chain of command. Nurses willfunction well in disasters if they develop collaborative, team-working skills,think critically, and are adaptable, flexible, and resilient” (Mbewe, 2013).Crisis is the most stressful situation.
Great management skills, teamwork, and resiliencewill help nursing facilities to work through any crisis, small or large. MoralityThere’s resilience, then there’s moralresilience, Vicki Lachman stated “moral resilience is the ability andwillingness to speak and take right and good action in the face of an adversitythat is moral/ethical in nature” (Lachman, 2016). Resilience is a way thatindividuals can bounce back from stressful situations and move forward.Whereas, moral resilience, is holding onto guidelines that we follow to workour way through life in a fashion that is believed to be morally correct. Notonly to live by the rules and guidelines, but to not stray from those rules andguidelines. Nursing management has a role in instilling a strong moralresilience in their staff as well. Vicki Lachman states that management shouldspeak with their staff in a group setting.
“The focus of this effort is onenabling members to revisit past trauma to develop appreciation of theappropriate context in which trauma occurred by countering the tendency touniversalize, and regain a sense of themselves as competent moral agents”(Lachman, 2016). Another way to enforce moral resilience is to “formulatepolicies and priorities that reinforce the requirement to verbalize concerns inmorally complex cases, without the possibility of retribution” (Lachman, 2016).This gives the employees a chance to discuss their concerns and speak freely.The last step mentioned is to work together on creating a work environment thatis culturally, and ethically current. Joy in the workplace Burnoutcan be managed by being resilient.
It can also be managed by having joy flowingthroughout the workplace. Many don’t know how to be joyful through stressfulsituations, but it is possible. Donna Middlaugh talks about bringing joy towork. “Employees who can see how their efforts directly benefit their customerstend to be the most satisfied with their work. Managers should remind theirstaff of the meaning their efforts hold for others” (Middlaugh, 2014).
Takingthe time to point out the positivity within a specific situation can show thestaff that they are valued, and it feels good to be appreciated. Another way tomake sure staff are happy to come to work, is to make sure each staff member isworking in a position that suits their personality and needs. Working in anarea better suited for the individual is much more rewarding. Middlaugh bringsup multiple ways to be positive and make work a joyful occasion; each and everyone of them is a way to improve the team as a whole. By centering thoughtsaround positivity and sharing that positivity to others, it brings peopletogether, building a stronger team.
Motivation Allin all, work is work. Nurses show up, do their jobs, then leave. Managers dotheir best to create resilience, prepare for crisis (mentally/physically),promote moral resilience, and keep their staff happy. None of these thingswould be possible without the motivation to do so. JoAnn Zerwekh and AshleyZerwekh Garneau talk about motivational strategies for all generations. “Let them know that what they do matters”(Zerwekh & Zerwekh Garneau, 2018, p. 218).
Making sure nurses are aware ofthe positive impact they have on patients and their families is not only a wayto spread joy, but it is also a way to motivate staff. Staff needs to know thatthey are valuable to their team. Motivation can be gained when rewards aregiven. “Give positive feedback when opportunities arise. Do not wait for a performanceevaluation to do so” (Zerwekh, 2018, p. 218). Reward does not have to be a physical object; again, point out aspecific event or behavior that deserves exemplary notice.
Conclusion Being a nurse is not an easy feet.It’s scary and very stressful. “Burnout” can occur with any nurse, new or experienced.There are just a few things that managers can do to help their staff stayemotionally stable, even in the most stressful of occasions.
Stay positive,work together, talk about any concerns, emotional and moral resilience. Ittakes time to master these skills, but with the help of every staff member,seminar meetings and a manager with great critical thinking skills “burnout”can be manageable. ReferencesLachman, V. D. (2016).
Ethics, law, andpolicy. Moral resilience: managing and preventing moral distress and moralresidue. MEDSURG Nursing, 25(2), 121-124.Mbewe, C., & Jones, M.
(2013).Hurricane sandy: competencies needed to contend with natural disasters. MEDSURGNursing, 22(4), 1-5.Middaugh, D. J.
(2014). Can there reallybe joy at work?. MEDSURG Nursing, 23(2), 131-132.
Middaugh, D. J. (2017). True grit!. MEDSURG Nursing, 26(5), 347-348.Zerwekh, J.
, & Zerwekh Garneau, A.(2018). Nursing today: transition and trends (9th ed.). St.
Louis, MO: Elsevier.