StressManagement and Nursing Burnout
Nursingis a rewarding healthcare job, but sometimes it is very demanding andcan be an exhausting career. Stress is known as an occupationalhazard in nursing. Nurses often see the pain and anguish of others,and this can affect them emotionally. Nurses work in a stressfulenvironment under demanding conditions budgetary constraints,staffing issues and being regularly scrutinized can complicate theirjob. Comparatively, burnout is fatigue, decreased productivity,frustration, and loss of interest resulting from prolonged stress andoverwork. Burnout causes high absenteeism, occupational injuries,high turnover rates and low morale in the workplace (Obiora, 2015).
Moreover,some nurses experience compassion fatigue which is a stress disorder.Compassion fatigue is spiritual, emotional and physical exhaustionfrom absorbing and witnessing the pain of others. Mostly, it affectsthe helpful and caring individuals who view the patients` pain astheir own. Symptoms that portray compassion fatigue comprise apathy,despair, sleep disturbances, hopelessness, decreased workperformance, anxiety and exhaustion (Obiora, 2015).
Thereare various types of burnout proposed concerning the amount ofdevotion to work. There is the frenetic burnout, these nurses workharder than the rest in search of success, ambition drives them, andthey work till they are exhausted. The second type is theunder-challenged, they cope with dull and unsatisfying conditionswhich do not advance their personal development this can raise theirstress levels. The third category is known as worn-out the nursesgive up quickly when they encounter a stressing situation or whenthey feel they are not appreciated. As a matter of fact, nursesexperience burnout and stress due to the intense nature of theirwork. They witness patients dying and suffering they lack socialsupport, have excessive workload and encounter many conflicts withtheir colleagues. Also, they are uncertain about treatment whetherit will cure the patient. All the above can be overwhelming (Oyeleye,Hanson, O`Connor & Dunn, 2013).
Stressas an area of study sparks the interest in many people. For starters,Walter Cannon an American physiologist established the firstunderstanding of stress. He investigated the reaction of thesympathetic nervous system to heat and observed that the body reactsin a predictable series. Han Selye advanced Cannon`s work and definedstress as the degree of wear and tear taking place on the body.Further, he stated that stress had causative agents known asstressors they can be psychological, for example, sadness, fear, andanger, or can be physical, for instance, pain, injury, and infection.Conversely, Lazarus enlarged people`s understanding of stress andtheir means of dealing with it. He saw that people are cautious theydecide if a situation is a threat in the first instant they encounterit. He referred to it as the primary appraisal. Individuals then keepon monitoring a risk as they evaluate how they can cope with it, thisis the secondary appraisal. In secondary appraisal, some people maycome to a conclusion that they cannot handle the situation and theydecide to withdraw. There are others, especially caregivers, whobelieve they can handle anything regardless of the cost. Lazarusviewed stress as a particular as an aspect that relate theenvironment and the subject that an individual classifies as tiringor jeopardizing his or her welfare. Again stress is not integrallyharmful its basis is on individual`s cognitive appraisal and theirperception which determines whether a situation is positive orthreatening. Nonetheless, one`s personality influences the stressequation what is overstraining to someone can be exciting to another(Cimiotti, Aiken, Sloane & Wu, 2012).
Nonetheless,since the mid-1950s, stress has been considered as an occupationalperil. The first assessment of work stress in nursing took place in1960. At that time, Menzies identified what triggered anxiety amongthe nurses there were four causes which are decision-making, change,taking responsibility and patient care. Later, in 1974, Freudenbergercreated the word ‘burnout` to describe employees` responses to thelingering stress common in professions containing several directinteractions with people. Emotional exhaustion, decreased personalaccomplishment, and depersonalization characterize burnout syndrome.Work stress and burnout are weighty apprehensions in nursing,affecting individuals and organizations (Oyeleye, Hanson, O`Connor &Dunn, 2013).
Likeany other employee, nurses are prone to physical, social andpsychological effects of stress and burnout. Nevertheless, the risksare greater for nurses because their stress and burnout not onlyaffect them but also the patients. Most nurses experience stressfulconditions, and they fear that their work affects their health. Theyare physically and mentally affected by the many work stressors theyface such as work overload and conflict between them and physicians.Further on, stress and burnout lead to nurses` poor performance, theytend to tire quickly leading to neglect their duties. Some even failto report to work which increases work overload for the other nurses.Burned nurses may keep to themselves resulting in adepersonalization. They may pull away from the patients and fail toencourage them, which is what the patients need for quick recovery.Others may be rude to their colleagues creating hostile andundesirable working environment (Khamisa, Peltzer & Oldenburg,2013).
Consequently,there are various ways of managing stress they can be psychologicaland emotional therapies, physical exercise and change in workapproach. The best stress management practice is learning healthycoping methods. The nurses should first understand themselves to beable to respond to stressful situations. They should train themselvesto be slow to anger since they interact with people with differentpersonalities. Further on, the management should come up with aschedule giving each nurse their shift these shifts should havefavorable hours where the nurses are not overworked. Also, colleaguesshould offer each other social support, being there for each other byproviding a listening ear to each other helps a lot. Excellentcommunication skills also assist in managing the stress levels.Nurses should communicate to their bosses and let them know when theworking conditions are not favorable (McTiernan & McDonald,2015).
Wheretransparency and honesty are, the stress levels are not likely torise. Therefore, nurses should speak up when they are overworking andwhen they experience fatigue. By supporting each other, it will beeasy to cope with stress. For instance, one should watch if any ofthe co-workers is overworking or has a bad temper and rectify themwhere necessary. Good communication is also effective one cannottell where the problem is unless people speak up. Once nurses, tellthe management what they want changing and when colleagues speakhonestly without fear, then solutions found can be effective. Theorganization can protect nurses by creating a culture of support,open communication, and trust (McTiernan & McDonald, 2015).
Theprimary cause of burnout is job dissatisfaction thus, if notaddressed there will be prolonged stress and burnout in future.Institutions should create a healthy working environment whereby thenurses receive support from their supervisors, physicians, and peers.When stress is not managed, then many nurses will fail to report towork, and the rest will be overworked this may, in turn, cause someto resign. Once nurses start leaving and failing to report to work,then the nursing occupation will face a tragedy. People may startlosing interest in practicing nursing, and this is detrimental tofuture generations (Khamisa, Peltzer & Oldenburg, 2013).
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