Now that we’ve discussed the negative, let’s focus on the positive. There are multiple initiatives in motion that intend to expand enrollment and capacity for nursing students, ease the application process, attract and retain faculty, and advertise careers in nursing. There are also various publications, such as Nurse.org and USF Health, that provide tips for dealing with burnout.
Make a Change
If you feel as though you’re incurring too much pressure in your current role, ask about switching to a lower acuity area in the hospital (even if just 1 day a week) or performing part-time admin duties. You could also consider a different specialization. There will be a greater need for nurses with specializations as people live longer and innovation continues to happen in the healthcare industry. Nurse practitioners and other advanced nursing careers (or those with certifications) will become increasingly important as time goes on.
Become an Educator
If being by the bedside is the cause of your stress, becoming a nurse educator could be a valid option. As mentioned before, the lack of qualified instructors is having a significant impact on nursing programs. By lending your knowledge, you could help educate and train the next generation of nurses. You may not make as much in salary, but you also won’t have the physically demanding shift schedule.
The only change we suggest against is a complete career change that removes you (and your knowledge) from nursing all-together. Taking into account all of the issues listed above, leaving healthcare would only contribute to a larger deficit and greater burnout for other clinicians.
Take Care of You
It’s more than just a line from Pretty Woman. It’s a necessity. Practicing self-care techniques can help you incrementally cut down on stress. Try incorporating some meditation time into your routine. This is even easier to do if you have a device such as an Apple Watch that prompts you throughout the day.
As you know, exercising and eating right is always a good idea. You probably recommend it often to your patients. Just be sure to practice what you preach! If the gym isn’t really your thing, extra-curricular activities can be a great way to not only get your steps outside of the facility, but to also interact with friends and get your mind off of work.
It’s honestly not the most appealing option, but that doesn’t make it any less important or impactful. Developing a coping mechanism can help lessen the impact of trauma or emotional stress. It’s also important to build strong relationships with your co-workers so that you have someone you can turn to for support and advice in the midst of a potential meltdown.
Try Travel Nursing
For those who are intrigued by the thought of seeing the country while caring for others, travel nursing is definitely up your ally. But for those of you who this doesn’t appeal to or has other reasons to be home each night (such as kids to tuck in), we have a different perspective.
Travel nursing doesn’t just apply to assignments that require a plane flight, road trip, or overnight accommodations. It could be that you’re picking up shifts at various healthcare facilities near your neighborhood. One of the top reasons why workers and hiring managers alike choose temporary or contract opportunities is that it offers flexibility and variety.
Per diem assignments can be a great way to get a change of scenery, meet new people that are in your line of work, make some extra money, or test out a few facilities before committing long term. And at Matchwell, we also think it could be the solution to many of the problems that are perpetuating the clinician deficit. As Dr. Troy Ahlstrom – MD, FHM, and CFO of Hospitalists of Northern Michigan – said in this article by The Hospitalist, “You prevent burnout by allowing people to change their work schedule depending on what’s going on in their life.”
What if healthcare organizations were able to directly access the clinicians they needed without sacrificing their facility budget to do so? What if simultaneously every nurse, from fresh out of a cap and gown to reaching the age of retirement, had the ability to set their own schedule or scale back at their own pace while still doing what they love and helping others? This is exactly the solution the Matchwell platform provides.
Matchwell is an online marketplace that empowers clinicians and healthcare facilities to come together in the easiest, most transparent, and most cost efficient way possible. Facilities get direct access to an extensive pool of pre-qualified clinicians, and clinicians get to control their calendar. We’ve removed the middleman to provide greater transparency and significant cost savings.
To learn more about how Matchwell can help your facility, visit wematchwell.com/hire or schedule a quick demo. Clinicians can learn more at wematchwell.com/work and easily start their free account at clinician.wematchwell.com.