By March 16, 2009 0 Comments

Over and (Burnt)out.

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I’m sure at some point in our lives we’ve experienced some form of disengagement from our jobs. I’m just guessing, but I imagine a lot of kids working at fast food restaurants go through this more often than not. For me it had to be during my stint as a graphic designer for my local newspaper. I started out as a customer service rep. in the advertising department and was so thrilled to finally get my foot in the door of the advertising industry. A little over a year later I was promoted to a graphic artist position and couldn’t have been more happy for the opportunity. Fast forward to 7 years later. I’m ready for a change and I’m not sure what it was that made the job seem so mundane, but the job was quickly losing its luster. Looking back now I’d have to say that it wasn’t just one thing that caused me to lose my enthusiasm with the job. It was a combination of company politics, lack of advancement opportunities, encouragement and gratitude, but most of all, stifling my creativity. Why would you want to work for a business that shows no appreciation for the work you do and the difference you make or want to? I couldn’t think of anything either.

I have no idea what it’s like to be a nurse. Although I do have a few friends and family that are in the profession and they tell me they love their jobs and couldn’t think of themselves doing anything else. That’s a wonderful feeling and I too share that same sentiment, I can’t picture myself doing anything else but what I do today. Okay, that may be a lie. My fantasy as of late is to open a soccer themed bar in Costa Rica. The name. Futbar. Get it? Futbol, Futbar. Anyways… I imagine nursing is probably the most stressful and rewarding profession, all in one. You either become a nurses because you like taking care of people, “want to make a difference” or you have a passion for the science. This caregiving nature is at the root of who nurses are — they give of themselves physically, emotionally and spiritually all day long. So what happens when nurses start to lose that passion and drive to take care of others and the job becomes less and less rewarding? Some think changing place of employment or type of nursing will help, while others will leave the industry completely. So as a nurse, what can you do to prevent this happening to you and others?

As graphic artist, your basic job is to create and design. In nursing, you care for others. If your job has become muddled with other non-related tasks, meaning you have less time to do what you’ve actually been groomed for; why even bother doing what it is you love to do? It seems like situations like that douse the fire we all have inside us, and it becomes more and more difficult for us to want to do our jobs. So what can you do to help prevent this in your situation?

Before you make any rash decisions, rewind a bit and remind yourself why it is you wanted to become a nurse. It’s because you care. Helping patients learn how to care for themselves, being able to take the time to answer questions and educate patients about their conditions, and helping patients get back on their feet, is critical to nurses. If you find more time to get to the root of your occupation, all the better! If you’re still having a bit of trouble finding your way back to the roots of nursing, there are a number of support groups for nurses going through the same, as well as various workshops. For instance, there is a retreat in California geared toward nurses who are becoming detached from their work. It is hosted by a former nurse whose three-day retreats are “working” retreats that help participants shift their thinking from traditional understandings of medicine to more holistic understandings about healing and the healing process. Elsah Cort, RN, CMT, owner and proprietor of The Deeper Well says, “The retreat is like a care plan for nurses.” This is just one of many options one could apply to their occupational lives. Visit her site at www.thedeeperwell.com

Like anyone, we all need a break from time to time. Whether it’s the 15 minute coffee break, or 15 day sabbatical. They both can do wonders for your well-being. Perhaps you need a break from your permanent nursing position, something to get you away from the corporate politics of the hospitals. What better cure, than a travel nursing position. Taking a traveling position in my opinion would be the best answer to stopping burnout. It’s like killing 2 birds with one stone. A working vacation if you will. You still get do what you love while seeing and doing things you can’t do at home.

We all go through it or are going to. Maybe you are one of the lucky few to have a job you absolutely love and nothing can bring you down. You’d think actors would have one the best gigs out there; work for a couple months at time, learn a few lines and get paid big bucks. Even they are not immune to the exhaustion, just look at Joaquin Phoenix, he wants to be an MC now, or rapper if you didn’t know. There’s nothing to be ashamed about, we all have these feelings, but why quit at something you’re so good at? Don’t give up yet if you haven’t tried travel nursing yet!

Addressing Nurse Burnout – Changing Culture Is The Cure

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About the Author:

Patrick Fuerstenau here. Born in Kentucky, raised in Germany, landed in Nebraska and still here. I've been involved with Marketing and Advertising for over a decade. It all began with an internship at an ad agency in Omaha, followed by a 9 year stint as a graphic artist at the lone major newspaper in Omaha. A friend of mine told me about an opening at her company and said that it was the best gig she's ever had... So I decided to spread my proverbial wings and see what I could do for them and vice versa. So here I am at Medical Solutions and am going on my 3rd year as a Marketing Specialist for a great travel nursing company. This by far has been a major blessing in my life. I love the work I get to do just as much as I love the people who make up this fabulous company. I can see myself here for a long time... As long as they'll have me. Now that we've got the career timeline out of the way... Let me tell you a little about who I am. I am oh so passionate about the game of futbol! I've been playing soccer since the age of 8 and am still playing today. If I couldn't at least kick the ball around, I don't know what I would do with myself. I fear getting old. I also have a strong love for the arts... Music, Visual arts, Film, Design... pretty much anything and everything arty. I'm happy go lucky and am always looking to have a good time. Just ask my manager! And I love writing about travel nursing.

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  1. Great post! I recently put up a blog post about overworked nurses. Please check it out and comment here: http://cirrusmedicalblog.com/2009/05/13/dont-work-yourself-too-hard/
    For you nurses out there who have experience as a traveler or who are interested in learning from travelers about their experiences, please join The Traveling Nurse group on Linkedin. It’s a great place for nurses to share travel experiences and advice, discuss industry trends, and find great job opportunities. Here’s the link: http://www.linkedin.com/groupRegistration?gid=1906712

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