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Your Next Shift: A Nursing Career Podcast

Feb 23, 2018

3 Reasons Why Nurses Should Embrace Burnout

To my own surprise, I actually had already written to this topic last year. In an article titled, “3 Reasons Why Nurses Should Embrace Burnout“, I provided the nurses reading with some of the reasons that burnout can actually support us nurses and the nursing profession overall. You can read the entire post, but just for a quick recap here… the 3 reasons are:

  1. Burnout helps you grow.
  2. Burnout allows you to help others.
  3. Burnout propels you to your passion.

Pretty cool stuff, right? OK, so this post will not cover the above said reasons again. However, what I do want to share is some parts of my “Stop Nurse Burnout” book in order to help you understand that burnout really does have a highest and best use. Here’s more on how nursing burnout is good for you.

Burnout Marks the Normal Transitions in Life

It seems that people don’t often get their act together without burnout. Burnout marks the place where you have followed someone else’s path long enough that your body is telling you things must change in ways you can no longer ignore. You finally pull your head up and realize beyond any doubt that this is not your path.

If you continue on this route, you will violate your own values, deny the people you love, and most likely slide into a “life of quiet desperation.” Burnout gets you to finally say, “I can’t do this anymore. There has to be another way.”

Unless you turn the downward spiral around before this crisis point, nurse burnout will eventually push you to near breaking. I hope and pray that when you reach that point, you bend and spring back rather than snap like some of the unfortunate among our brothers and sisters. Alcohol, drugs, depression, other mental illnesses, and suicide are all complications I hope you avoid. The good news is that only a tiny minority of nurses will face those trials.

The rest of us are left with a scene Robert Frost described best. You can see that there is more than one option available. It is clear you are free to choose between the two. Either choice has its own set of unique consequences.

“Two roads diverged in a wood that day and I- I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”     Robert Frost

At this point, when you have no energy left to keep putting out the fires of other people’s demands and priorities, something important happens. You realize with undeniable clarity that you have other choices available, and the path you have been on all this time is simply one choice among many.

Stop Treating Burnout Like it is Bad

We need to stop treating burnout like it is something that is bad for us. Or that we did something wrong to get to the state of nursing burnout.

By continuing to treat burnout as though a person did something wrong or was infected with some kind of terrible virus- we only stigmatize those nurses further. Each and every one of us will likely experience burnout as a nurse. It is simply the nature of the job. Hey, I have. More than once!

Instead of viewing burnout as though we are infected with some kind of horrible disease, put it to its highest and best use.

Burnout is here to nudge you onto a different path … one with more purpose. You really can decide what you want and go get it. You can set your own tracks from now on. You can use your discomfort to fuel your change. And hey, if you are open to change then you might actually see that burnout is good for you!

The Stop Nurse Burnout book is devoted to giving you new levels of awareness and new tools. You will learn how to step off these rails of others’ expectations. Let me show you how to recognize your own path and navigate its twists and turns toward your Ideal Nursing Career with intention and on purpose.

Get your copy of Stop Nurse Burnout

Check out the blog post that accompanies this episode here: