Nurse practitioner burnout amongst the COVID-19 pandemic

nurse practitioner burnout

We’re almost 2 years into the pandemic and I’m feeling it.

I am nearing nurse practitioner burnout.

Two years ago, I was scared. I was fearful of getting COVID-19. Scared of my family getting sick from the virus. There were so many unknowns. So many things to worry about. I can still remember the fear.

Almost two years later, there is a different kind of fear and uncertainty.

When. Will. This. End?

As nurse practitioners, we know COVID-19 is not going anywhere. We know we will be testing and immunizing for the rest of our careers. My question is, when will the overwhelm end?

Challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic

I am not burned out from healthcare. I have been burned out before and it is a dark place to be. I am, however, tired. I am tired of the increased patient load. I am tired of seeing the fear in my patients’ eyes. Tired of not having a perfect answer or treatment plan for my patients. I am tired of the added stress.

Two years into the pandemic and my job has become difficult. I work in a critical access hospital doing primary care and emergency services. I have had multiple instances where I have made dozens of phone calls just to find (or not find) an open hospital bed. I feel like I am failing my patients. Not able to give them the care they deserve. I am tired.

I make the phone calls to larger hospitals begging them to take a critical patient and I hear the stress, the overwhelm, the burnout in my colleagues’ voices. My heart aches for the healthcare providers who constantly show up, day after day, to a hospital or clinic that is continuously understaffed. My heart aches for all the burnout in healthcare right now.

We. Are. Tired.

And I am beginning to question when things will “go back to normal.” I know our healthcare system, our world will never go back to normal. I am just wondering when the exhaustion will end.

Struggling with nurse practitioner burnout?

While I do not have a good answer of when the added stress and overwhelm will resolve, I would like to share a few pointers to try to ease the nurse practitioner burnout in these difficult times.

1. Know you are not alone.

Look around at your coworkers. How many of them are struggling? Talk to colleagues or healthcare friends about their own struggles with burnout. Join The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner Facebook group, full of equally overwhelmed nurse practitioners. Let us open up and support each other during this difficult time.

2. Figure out what’s important.

When you are in survival mode, it is difficult to care for yourself. It is difficult to have time and energy to show up for other people. All you are focused on is surviving. Let us take some time and determine what is important.

If you list your family as an important component in your life then focus on that. If you have to throw out some of your 2022 goals, then so be it. Who has the energy to declutter their home when they can barely make it into work? Who has time to cook healthy meals when they’re constantly working overtime?

Free yourself from any expectations. Figure out one or two things that are important to you and focus on that.

3. It’s ok to step away.

There is no shame in stepping away from healthcare for a while. It is ok to take a break. It’s also ok to leave. If you are so burned out, you can’t function or care for your patients then it’s ok to step away. You don’t have to feel guilty for leaving your co-workers behind. It is not possible to pour from an empty cup.

We have to do what is necessary for our own physical, emotional, and mental health. I have talked to multiple NPs that are so burned out they need to leave healthcare. They are at the point of no return and must make time to care for themselves.

Maybe they will return to healthcare in the future, but only time will tell. If this is you, remember it is ok to take care of yourself.

The current status quo of healthcare workers is burnout.

Many nurse practitioners are struggling. Let us choose to be different from the status quo. Let us know we can take control of our lives and do what we have to do to survive. Nurse practitioner burnout mode is not a good place to be, especially long term.

Overcome nurse practitioner burnout

I created Burnout Resolution for Nurse Practitioners  to provide the framework and mindset shifts to empower nurse practitioners to create a better work-life balance and resolve the burnout.

The framework and mindset shifts are the same ones I used to overcome my burnout. I was able to take control of my life and overcome the burnout. I chose to stay in healthcare. I decided to put in the work. I resolved the burnout.

And I have helped hundreds of other nurse practitioners do the same. I created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed nurse practitioners create a better work-life balance, conquer the nurse practitioner burnout, and learn to advocate for themselves.

Maybe you need to learn the time management and charting tips  to avoid bringing charts home and improve your work-life balance . Maybe you need to have the hard talks and ask your clinic manager exactly what you need.

Maybe you need to quit your job  and take a 6 week or even 6 month break from healthcare. Maybe you need to finally put your life first. Maybe you need to set the boundaries. Maybe you need to work on your own health and actually do the selfcare . Maybe you need to implement small, attainable action steps that will get you to where you want to be. Maybe you need to overcome nurse practitioner burnout.

I want you to improve your work-life balance. To be able to spend more time with your family and friends. I want you to do the work you love. I want you to feel purposeful as a nurse practitioner. I want you to take the best care of your patients while also taking care of yourself.

I am rooting for you to overcome the nurse practitioner burnout.

Learn more about Burnout Resolution for Nurse Practitioners.

Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and burnout coach. Erica created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed APRNs create work-life balance, overcome nurse practitioner burnout, and advocate for themselves. The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner offers online courses, coaching, and support. Learn more at

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

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**Full disclosure, this blog post may include affiliate links. I do receive a commission if any of the affiliate programs/services/supplies are purchased. This is at no extra cost to you but does allow me to continue to provide content as The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner! Thank you!

Burned Out NP Logo

**Full disclosure, this blog post may include affiliate links. I do receive a commission if any of the affiliate programs/services/supplies are purchased. This is at no extra cost to you but does allow me to continue to provide content as The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner! Thank you!

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