A 2020 study found that nurses and physicians experiencing burnout had depression rates ranging from 25% to 43%.
It’s no secret that the average nurse’s schedule can have long hours with shifts lasting 10-13 hours. This can often increase the risk of fatigue due to sleep deviation and can potentially put their health at risk. The pandemic has contributed to the increase in nurse burnout over these past few years.
Nurse burnout can be defined as the state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by sustained work-related stressors such as long hours, the pressure of quick decision-making, and the strain of caring for patients. As many know copious amounts of stress can be damaging to one’s physical and mental health. One of the glaring negative effects of burnout can be an increased factor of depression and suicide. A 2020 study found that nurses and physicians experiencing burnout had depression rates ranging from 25% to 43%.
Making sure you’re well rested is the #1 tool in preventing burnout. The Nurse Journal contributors recommend that nurses fit in at least eight hours of sleep each day or night, depending on their schedule. Enough sleep can improve alertness, concentration, stamina, mood, and motivation.
The CDC expands on this by suggesting additional tools that will ensure being well-rested such as :
- Use relaxation apps or techniques to aid in sleep onset, if you have trouble falling asleep (longer than 15-25 minutes)
- Create a pre-sleep, bedtime routine and keep your sleeping environment comfortable, dark, cool, and quiet.
- Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and nicotine for at least 2-3 hours before sleep
While lack of sleep is noted as the top issue when it comes to burnout. We at Immuware understand that nursing not only can take a toll on the body but on the heart and mind as well. “When your shift ends, leave any thoughts, feelings, and grievances about work, at work, and make a point to focus your time spent at home with family, and friends, and doing activities that you enjoy. Be present and mindful.”- Tina Gerardi, MS, RN, CAE