If a nurse is unsatisfied with their career or feeling burnt out on nursing, taking an evidence-based approach can help them rediscover their passion for nursing. Robert Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN and co-author of HCPro’s Shared Governance book, recently wrote a piece about EBP and nursing careers; here are some ways to apply EBP in your career:
- Update your practices. Nursing is changing all of the time! If you feel like you’re stuck doing the same thing every day for years, you’re probably not using the most up-to-date practices. Nurse scientists and researchers are studying and updating practices for nurse specialties all of the time, and these changes can benefit patients and nurses alike. Try joining your specialty group’s professional organizations, attend professional events, and subscribe to specialty journals to keep abreast of the latest practices in nursing. Changing up your routine and increasing your engagement can bring the excitement back to your career!
- Use EBP in your career. Evidence-based research is not just conducted on healthcare practices. There is organizational research that provides indicators for when nurses should consider a career change, such as switching roles, going back to school, or even leaving their current job. Burnout has been measured for decades, and evaluating your own signs of job fatigue can be instructive for potential career decisions. Nursing has a plethora of opportunities outside of the hospital bedroom, and feeling burnout could be your signal to explore them.
- Evaluate your environment. Research has found the workplace satisfaction can correlate with career satisfaction. Observe your colleagues; do they seem happy? Do they participate in work group activities, both at work and outside of work? Having coworkers that are satisfied with their jobs has a positive impact on your own satisfaction, and if you’re feeling career fatigue, sometimes your coworkers can fuel your enthusiasm.
For more tips about career satisfaction and burnout, check out these articles from the Strategies for Nurse Managers’ Reading Room:
The new year is often a time for retrospection and reflection, especially when it comes to your career. If you’re starting to feel burnt out on nursing but not quite ready for a career change, here is some advice to freshen things up in the new year.
- Reflect on your past: Sometimes the best way to go forward is to look back. What drew you to nursing in the first place? Why was a career in nursing right for you? Think about the positive experiences you’ve had as a nurse that reaffirmed your career goals. Treat your next shift like it’s your first day; what excites you? What makes you nervous? Sometimes asking these questions can reinvigorate how you approach your work.
- Connect (and disconnect): If you’re feeling down about your job, sometimes the best solution is to ask for help. Reach out to your peers and develop a support system to help yourself and others. If you think there’s something that could make you happier at work, talk to your managers about it; sometimes a small change can have a profound effect.
It’s also important to let go sometimes. Being a caregiver, interacting with patients at some of the worst times in their lives can negatively impact your outlook and make your job even more difficult. Try to focus on the good you’ve done for patients and don’t take it personally when a patient struggles or suffers.
- Commit to the new: Even though it doesn’t always feel like it, taking on new challenges can be a great way to energize your career. Seek out new experiences and opportunities; take the frustrations of the day and channel it toward learning a new skill or pursuing additional training options. Reflecting on your weaknesses can be difficult at first, but identifying them and working towards improvement can be satisfying and build you confidence.
Another great way to embrace the new is working with nursing students or new nurses. They bring energy and enthusiasm to the job, and becoming a preceptor or informal mentor can be a great way to grow your own enthusiasm while furthering your career.
For more articles about avoiding burnout and developing your career, check out the Health & Wellness section of the Strategies for Nurse Managers Reading Room!
As the Nurse of Wellness that I am, my belief is that I am unstoppable and will live forever. Can you relate? But the mechanics of my body have a different story to tell. Over-use syndrome of doing too much, in too much of a hurry, and not honoring the fact that my body might need to slow down a bit to move safely and not get hurt took its toll on my knee.
Yes, I was on crutches with a swollen left knee from just squatting down briefly. Go figure! But I have learned from this experience. YES – ONCE AGAIN – another learning experience!!
- I had to ask for help, even when it pains me to do so
- I had to do less and the world didn’t end because I’m not scurrying about
- I had more time than I thought and could catch up on reading and making calls to reconnect with others – you know; all that old-fashioned stuff we don’t always seem to have time to do.
- I became more efficient with my movements because I had to rest my knee more often instead of being in perpetual motion
- I received visitors who brought me great food and great conversation
- I discovered how valuable friends are who will rally around me when I am down and out
- And finally, I learned that my joints need more respect as I age so I don’t injure myself needlessly.
So as I healed with ice, elevation, powerful anti-oxidants, essential oils, relaxation, ibuprofen and crutch-walking, I realized we are all on this journey of aging so I hope you give your “joints” a chance to serve you to the best of their ability. Respect them and they will carry you through.
Be well on your journey! Would love to hear your story about how nursing can be tough on your joints! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As we enter the Spring Season, I feel the need to clean up my act. Everything now feels better – more light at the end of the day, waking up to a light sky, chirping birds, walking outside again without slipping on the ice or worrying about walking in the dark, seeing sprouts of greenery and color once again.
That good feeling and renewed energy even compelled me to clean up one shelf in my office and now I not only feel better and more organized, but the empty places on the shelf makes me feel like I can even breathe easier. Interesting how these simple things have powerful rewards.
So what can you clean up that will provide you with more relief and less stress?
Need support with cleaning up your act? Email me at email@example.com and I’ll give you a complimentary laser coaching session.
As a nurse manager or nurse leader, you probably have many unfilled dreams. What is standing in the way of you realizing those dreams? Think about whether this roadblock is a true obstacle or a false belief about yourself. Break it down into small components so you can chip away at it a little bit at a time. You can’t move a large boulder, but you can chisel off small rocks, until you have the strength to push it aside.
Write down one roadblock standing in the way of what you want in life. [more]
First, a couple of brief items:
Better Meetings, Better Outcomes: You can download the PDF I promised a few days ago, “What am I doing here? Tips for being accountable in meetings,” here.
Nursing Survey Ends 5/27: Our 2015 nursing survey is still open if you want to share your thoughts and (not incidentally) participate in our drawing for Team-Building Handbook: Improving Nurse-to-Nurse Relationships. Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/hcpronurses2015
Next, my confession.
I’ll admit it, I peeked—I couldn’t resist the temptation to look at the results of our ongoing 2015 nursing survey to find out the biggest issues facing nurses today.
Would you be surprised if I mentioned that time (not enough of it) is as common a concern today as it was in the 2013 survey? To relieve some of your pain, I’ll share some great tips from Sharon Cox, [more]
I am a busy boomer. Always on the move and always doing more than I need to. I am an energizer bunny. It seems to be a trait of many fellow boomers that we don’t want to slow down.
What I have noticed, however, is I get so busy “doing” that I don’t take enough time “being.” And by doing all the time, I miss out on a lot of what is great about my age and wisdom and being a boomer. In an effort to correct that, I (sadly) have to schedule time on my calendar for relaxation and reflection, which is apparently what we have to do today to get any free time for ourselves. As crazy as that seems, it actually works and is a great tool if you are looking for a way to build time into your day for YOU!
So pull out your calendars and create some space for you every day where you can REFLECT on all that is great about your life and what lies ahead. Here are a few steps to follow.
R – Realize what is happening in the present moment
If you are caught-up rehashing something in the past or projecting into the future, you have totally missed what is happening in the present moment. And that is all we have! Take a breath, and pay attention to the right now time and what is in your mind. Is it what you want to be thinking about? Is it serving you well or making you stressed? Is it negative or positive? Right here, right now, think about something pleasant and stay with that thought, and your body and mind will thank you.
E – Escape from your current focus and take time out to think
Now that you have adjusted your thoughts toward positivity, stay there for a while and think of all the things you are grateful for. As you continue these thoughts, you might notice a smile creeping in on your face as you ponder what is great about you and your life. How good does that feel? [more]
Attention nurse leaders in organizations
without designated “lift teams” or assistive
devices for moving patients
Your business case for investing in a cutting-edge, safe patient handling program has been made clearly and indisputably by OSHA, with the help of results from numerous case studies, research reports, and collected data. The benefits are exceptional, and the financial ROI is achievable in one to four years.
Take a quick trip to the OSHA website for wealth of tools, including a form you can use to evaluate your organization, a checklist for designing your safe patient handling program, illustrative case studies, and more.
One more note: NPR plans a fourth installment on the Injured Nurses series, so keep checking the NPR website. Here’s what they’re promising:
Part 4 will explore how the Department of Veterans Affairs implemented
a nationwide $200 million program to prevent nursing employees
from getting injured when they move and lift patients.
And, finally, I’ve uploaded the PDF of Table 18 (promised in my previous post), which you can download from our Tools Library.
Nurses, the caretakers on the front line, often work shifts of 12 hours and more, and may work up to 50 or even 60 hours per week. Fatigue is a way of life, threatening the health of those nurses, as well as the quality of the care they can provide. As a nurse manager, you struggle with balancing staffing with your budget, so you know this story all too well.
Now the ANA is pushing for new limits on consecutive night shifts and shifts longer than 12 hours (see ANA press release) as a way of supporting the health of nurses, positive patient outcomes, and nursing professional standards. Until the ANA recommendations become practice, what can you, the nurse manager, do to take care of yourself and your staff today, to improve the work environment and the energy they bring to it?