I talk a lot about overcoming nurse practitioner burnout.
But I know there are some of you who are not currently burned out. Maybe you have a nurse practitioner job with decent hours to allow for work-life balance. Or maybe you are just starting a new role and would like to prevent burnout. I love the preventative side of healthcare, it just makes sense. Why wouldn’t you want to prevent a chronic disease or illness that is going to cost you so much emotional, physical, and financial stress? Same thing goes for burnout. Why not develop some healthy habits to prevent burnout and avoid the overwhelm, stress, and exhaustion?
Here are 5 ways to prevent nurse practitioner burnout
1. Identify triggers for burnout. Nurse practitioners are prone to burnout and none of us are immune. Maybe changes in your job have the potential to cause increased stress. Maybe your clinic is getting a new EMR or expecting you to offer a new service line. Maybe you have added stress at home with a teenage who has multiple school activities, loss of your spouse’s job causing financial strain, or chronically sick family member. Maybe you know excessive charting or new management will cause increased overwhelm. Being aware of some of the potential causative agents of burnout will help you to create a plan to better prevent burnout.
2. Develop self care routines. Taking care of ourselves is such an important way to avoid burnout. As nurse practitioners, we constantly take care of others and rarely put our needs first. We suffer from second victim syndrome and don’t make enough effort to deal with the trauma/difficult things we have seen. We sacrifice our own nourishment, sleep, stress relieving activities, because we put our jobs first. Know it is Ok to take care of yourself. It is Ok to meet your basic needs before caring for others. Self-care is not selfish! Developing healthy diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management routines NOW will help to prevent burnout.
3. Time management routines. Through my work as a nurse practitioner burnout coach, I have found the #1 cause of nurse practitioner burnout is charting. Efficient and accurate charting is not something I learned in school. And with the current state of health care, nurse practitioners are expected to see more patients and sicker patients. The increase in work-related demands creates more, complex charts to complete in a shorter amount of time. If you are staying late at the office or bringing charts home, you are at a significant risk for burnout. In order to prevent getting burned out from charting, it’s important to create some healthy time management habits. Avoid distractions by putting your phone away or closing your office door so you can better focus. Fuel yourself with water, food, physical activity. Get focused on your charting and creating a problem focused chart note. Identify what tasks can be delegated. Check out The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner’s blog page for more charting time saving tips. Creating these time management tips early on will help you avoid charting at home.
4. Become aware of other healthcare providers who are burned out. There are so many healthcare providers struggling with burnout. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed healthcare, and impacted the world, in so many ways. It breaks my heart to hear about all the nurse practitioners and all healthcare workers who are struggling with burnout. I believe support comes in numbers. If we are able to come together and support one another, we can do a better job of overcoming and preventing burnout.
5. Know it is ok to ask for help. If you develop any signs and symptoms of burnout, know it is ok to ask for help. You don’t have to go through the nurse practitioner burnout alone. Join The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner Facebook Group. Find your healthcare person, someone who actually understands what you are going though! Seek coaching, therapy, or support to help you overcome the burnout and get your life back. There is no shame in asking for help!
I hope you can use these 5 tips to prevent nurse practitioner burnout! Check out The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner’s website to learn more about preventing and overcoming burnout.
For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at www.npchartingschool.com