“Nursing, no doubt is a fulfilling career” Ajah Kingsley says
Nothing gives a Nurse more joy than seeing a patient return hale and hearty to his family and business after a lengthy stay at the hospital.
Knowing that a once critical patient still draws breath as a result of your efforts gives fulfilment.
With each day that dawns, you know you are going to touch a life and make a difference in someone else’s life, whether it’s in the emergency room, operating room, intensive care unit, out patient unit, labor ward, surgical suite or any other part of the hospital where health care is rendered.
However, despite the volume of satisfaction Nurses derive from providing care and reliving patient’s distress, undeniable is the fact that Nurses experience burn out due to the rigorous and demanding nature of the job.
The sleepless night duties, the 8-12hours shifts, the increasing work load,having to deal with manipulative and abusive patients, the staff shortage, the high expectations, the low motivation, working without break periods, the work place tension, unsupportive management, the death of a patient whom you are emotionally attached to and the strained interpersonal relationship with coworkers such as head Nurses, Doctors and other hospital staff can even cause psychological distress leading to physical, emotional and mental exhaustion.
Some days you smile home, other days you are overwhelmed, overworked, underappreciated, worn out and even feel useless to yourself and family after the day’s job as you are too tired and stressed up to do other things or even help out with home chores .
Nobody cares whether your fiancée broke up with you last night or if you have personal issues that are eating you up, as long as you are a Nurse, you are always expected to remain cheerful and pretend like everything is okay because patients shouldn’t see you at your worst .
Most Nurses ignore their own health in the course of their duty. It’s not uncommon to see Nurses work overtime even when exhausted especially if they are emotionally attached to the patient in question.
An exhausted Nurse is a dangerous Nurse! When a Nurse burns out:
√ medication errors occur
√ documentation errors happen
√malpractice tends to increase(just get ready for litigations and to lose your license)
√ attention and concentration are impaired
√ poor clinical decisions are made
√ bedside manners are lost
√ inadequate standard of care is rendered
√ Nurse performance reduces
√ He/she tends to become cold,rude,insensitive, impatient and easily irritated .
√ Patient’s outcome and satisfaction depreciates
√ Nurse – patient relationship suffers.
Fellow Nurses, I know Nursing school taught us to always make patients our priority but it’s time to learn how to put yourself first. There is no way you can efficiently and effectively care for a patient when you are physically depleted, emotionally drained and mentally exhausted.
Nursing will still continue even if you wear out, get stressed up, breakdown, burn out and die. So take care of your health so you can take care of others.
Love yourself enough, learn healthy ways to manage your emotions and cope with stress.
Get enough sleep, confide in someone if you are having a bad day.
Know how to delegate and always take short breaks in other to relax and refresh if the shift turns out rough and tough.
I know we are burning with passion to serve humanity but an exhausted Nurse is a dangerous Nurse.
About the author: AJAH KINGSLEY IFEANYICHUKWU
From Afikpo, Ebonyi state.
Graduated from School of Nursing, Mater Misericordia Hospital, Afikpo, Ebonyi state
You can add him on Facebook @Amb Kings