5 ways to fast track NP burnout
Being an NP is by far the most fun role I’ve had in my nursing career. Hands down, also one of the most stressful journeys to date.
Maybe it was the season of life I was in. Or the outside chatter about being a new grad clouding my judgment. Or maybe it was the set of limiting beliefs I carried around. Or maybe it was an assortment of colorful reasons like a bag of skittles and not just one thing that contributed to all the stress.
I’m in a much better place whenever I avoid these 5 things that increase burnout rates:
Do everything yourself. If you live and die by the adage of “If you want things done right, you gotta do it yourself,” you’ll be as dead on the inside as the sad, cynical people who live that life. As a recovering perfectionist, I once was such a person. I’ve since learned and love the 80-20 rule. I get help for or delegate 80% of the things that need to be done and do the 20% with utmost focus. As a nurse practitioner, you likely wear multiple hats, have more responsibilities than you can count, and have people depending on you and your decision-making like you were the only one around.
Do nothing *for* yourself. Self care is such a buzzword these days and working in a pandemic can cause you to put yourself on the back burner and actually (you guessed it) burn. To be honest, COVID is a good excuse, but in reality we’ve been neglecting ourselves long before the world-wide Corona virus was a thing. Instead, I’ve made it a daily priority to enjoy even the simplest things for myself.
Be the “yes, girl.” Nothing will spiral you into the burnout abyss faster than overwhelm. I’ve realized that a passive yes for the sake of getting the experience or feeling like I have no choice only benefits the employer. As a nurse practitioner, new grad or otherwise, the employee-employer partnership should be mutually beneficial instead of an abusive relationship. Saying no, respectfully declining additional tasks, and finding other reasonable solutions will save your health and sanity.
Overwork and underestimate. I would say that I’m an overall efficient person. But meeting unrealistic expectations by overworking myself on the back of time constraints and limited resources was a recipe for disaster. And characteristically, most nurses/nurse practitioners are natural people pleasers, we’ll attempt the unattainable at the expense of silently imploding. Having these heart-to-heart convos with those of influence, employers, spouses/partners, family members, colleagues are difficult but well-worth the quality of work and life.
Isolate instead of invest. Being goal-oriented is a great attribute for any person but potentially isolating especially for the nurse practitioner who feels the pressure to give to others continuously. The stress of the role and responsibilities can enable a routine that leads to self neglect. Taking time for breaks and rest and investing in yourself can seem counterproductive on the surface, but really it's the mantra of high performers. Without restful periods, breakdowns are imminent, and prior to breakdowns, isolation is evident.
The NP journey is definitely a fun filled one. Being aware of these 5 tips to avoid, helps you enjoy your new career with a few less burnout cycles.
Do you have other tips to avoid burnout?