Avoiding Burnout as a Nurse

The nursing field is considered one of the most tiring careers someone can have. According to Nursing License Map, a 2019 report of 2,000 nurses revealed that 41% of them felt burned out. Nursing can come with an abundance of stressors that can take a heavy toll on your health and wellbeing. While this is typical for an individual in the nursing or medical field, if the job becomes too much to handle, it is time to take a step back.

This article will discuss the warning signs of possible burnout and how to fix it.

Signs of Burnout

While it is understood that the job responsibilities are quite challenging and physically demanding, there are red flags that can come about that imply that you may have nurse burnout.

Listed below are warning signs of nurse burnout (via MED+ED Web Solutions):

  • Constant fatigue: A commonality between nurses, being tired is fine, but it shouldn’t affect your work ethic. Regular 12-hour shifts can wear a person down, but you may be burned out if you begin to fall asleep during or on your way to work.
  • Lack of optimism to go to work: Everyone has days when they may not be too eager to go to work, especially if you have challenging tasks coming your way. Dreading your job becomes a problem if you hate your job and wish you worked elsewhere are prime examples of nurse burnout.
  • Insensitivity: Despite how desensitized many medical professionals can be, nurses are typically the most compassionate. Nurses tend to develop personal relationships with their patients. If you no longer feel any personal or emotional connection to your patients, you may have become insensitive, which is a common sign of burnout.
  • Illness: Being burned out in your job can make you physically sick. According to Very Well Mind, You can develop headaches, stomach aches, gastrointestinal issues, chronic pain, and even viruses. If you noticed a significant change in your health, it might result from burnout from your job.
  • Reduced performance: One of the more obvious signs of burnout, your job performance will probably decline if you’re feeling burned out. Reduced job performance can lead to a lack of creativity and difficulty concentrating.
  • Anxiety: While feeling anxious at your job is not an immediate concern, if it becomes overwhelming, you may have burnout. If you’re always worried about different aspects of your job, you have become too overwhelmed with your responsibilities.


Ways to Combat Nurse Burnout

Fortunately, there are ways to address nurse burnout issues to improve your work performance and health.

Here are some tips to address burnout (via Minority Nurse)

  • Improve your self-care: Take the time to enhance your self-care practices. Whether it’s taking a nice bath, eating healthier, exercising regularly, or reading a book, good self-practices can help alleviate burnout.
  • Talk to someone: Don’t be afraid to speak to others about how you’re feeling—working in a frequently stressful environment means that you have a sound support system behind you. Having other nurses that can relate to your problems can be highly beneficial for your wellbeing at work.
  • Become more resilient: Having resiliency will allow you to bounce back from any burnout that surfaces from your job. Ways to build resiliency can include taking regular breaks during shifts to recharge or take vacation days.
  • Look for other opportunities: If you’re unable to address your burnout issues, it may be time to find another career. You don’t have to leave the nursing field altogether, just a position that’s less stressful for you.


Being a nurse can be a highly challenging and stressful job, which can lead to burnout. It is best to address what causes your burnout to ensure that your career doesn’t harm your overall health and wellbeing.