How to Prevent Nurse Burnout

Nurse / doctor headache and stress. Stressed young male medical professional in blue scrubs touching head in pain. Isolated on white background.

Burnout is an emotional, physical and mental state characterized by exhaustion caused by prolonged and excessive levels of stress. When you experience burnout, you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet the demands facing you.

Continuous stress makes you feel less motivated or interested in your role that you may have been previously passionate about. Nursing as a career can be demanding, and you may find you experience burnout from time to time.

Let’s look at some common causes of nurse burnout.

Family stress
Although nurses try hard to ensure their family life does not affect their work life, there are times when the stress experienced at home can make a nurse feel overwhelmed at work. If the resting place at the end of a shift is not safe but a source of stress, this affects your emotional state and your job.


When you are overworked, you will become constantly exhausted. The nature of the work is demanding, and if the shifts are longer than expected on a daily basis, you will gradually experience stress.

Lack of sleep when working night-shift
Sleep and rest are important for you to perform at your best. Sometimes it’s not easy to sleep during the day with noisy neighbors or constant interruptions -since everyone else is awake at daytime. This consistent lack of sleep can start to take its toll on your body and cause stress.

Lack of appreciation
Healthcare is the most demanding career and when nurses are not appreciated they easily suffer stress. A boss who always criticizes a nurse’s work contributes to a less conducive work environment. This toxic environment will only add to the nurse’s stress level, leading to burnout.

Take time off to prevent burnout
It is important for nurses to take some time off so as to get the chance to rest and feel rejuvenated enough to handle the demands of their work.

Nurses need counseling and debriefing. Nurses see a lot of suffering among the sick and see a lot of patients die. Debriefing is necessary to deal with the reality and the pain you see on a daily basis. It allows the nurse to express his or her feelings.

Empathetic management
A good immediate supervisor tends to make their staff have a great work experience. This is because they listen to them and provide them with a healthy work environment. Sometimes this is not possible. If you find yourself in a toxic environment; it may be beneficial to ask for a transfer to another department or unit.

Care for yourself
As a nurse, you are constantly caring for others- with minimal breaks at work and when you get home.
Caring for yourself is paramount.

As the caregiver, you need to be in great shape mentally, emotionally and physically.
Take some time out, treat yourself to your favorite meal or travel to a place you have always wanted to go.

Posted in : Nursing, Students
About The Author
Joyce Fiodembo is a nurse and author. You can find plenty of resources on her blog;, where she writes to inspire and uplift nurses to thrive. Joyce is the author of “The Foreign Nurses Guide to Settling in America” and “How Nurses Cope with Difficult Coworkers” found on Her other book "Reflections and Prayers for Nurses" can be found on She started her career in Kenya where she worked as a travel, ICU and operating room nurse. Joyce works with nurses who may be struggling with cultural challenges, equipping them to settle down easily. She is also a career counselor, helping nurses with interview skills and resume writing among others. Currently working in Ohio, she enjoys volunteering for mobile clinics abroad. Joyce is passionate about writing and currently has a website with a goal of inspiring nurses worldwide. You can visit her website at
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