A lot of stress causes nursing burnout. This article will define burnout, describe its symptoms, and discuss ways to treat and prevent it.

Numerous studies have linked high stress and burnout among nurses to poor patient care quality. Burnout is more common in pediatric and critical care nurses due to patient demands, unclear results, and constant witnessing of pain and death.

Nurse burnout

Burnout is now formally classified as a syndrome in the WHO's 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Burnout is a psychological state that is not a medical ailment. The ICD-11 highlights that burnout is induced by prolonged workplace stress that is not appropriately managed.

The syndrome has three dimensions: weariness, increased separation from work, and lower professional efficiency. In other words, stress is not the same as burnout, even if stress is the cause of burnout.

Nurses are constantly exposed to illness and death, which is emotionally exhausting. Another element that contributes to nurse burnout is the reason they chose nursing. They tend to ignore self-care when caring for others.

Let's examine the symptoms of burnout.

Burnout Symptoms

Burnout causes tiredness and a lack of vitality, both physically and mentally. The person is exhausted when they get up and go to work. Sleep issues such as sleeplessness may accompany this.

Tiredness generates agitation and worry. Memory loss occurs due to a lack of focus and attention. Physical symptoms include dizziness, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues. The immune system may be compromised, increasing susceptibility to colds, flu, and other illnesses.

Unmanaged burnout has serious consequences. Acute disorders like high blood pressure and diabetes are persistent. There is a considerable risk of alcoholism, depression, and suicide.

Burnout among nurses

When you notice burnout signs in yourself, you must move quickly to address it. Turning around burnout takes time and commitment. You can't expect a rapid remedy because the problem takes time to develop!

You can do the following:

  • Talk to your boss or HR about your issue.
  • If your workplace offers employee help services, use them. Free counseling or referrals may be provided.
  • Ask for a career move.
  • Consider professional counseling and therapies like CBT that promote resilience.
  • Work on self-care. Are you skipping breaks, working overtime, and not taking leave?
  • Commit to a healthy diet, exercise, relaxing activities, and sleeping habits.
  • Your actions will be based on your unique circumstances. Discuss your dilemma and options with a trusted friend or family member who has your best interests in mind.

Avoiding burnout

To avoid burnout, create time for yourself. Eat and sleep well. When you exercise, it benefits both physical and mental wellness. You can do a sport you enjoy, or just go for a brisk walk in nature.

Add some relaxing activities to your life to combat the impacts of stress. Get out there and have fun. Get inventive. Use calming techniques like meditation or journaling. The repeated process of knitting or crocheting is analogous to meditation.

At work, deal with stress and sadness immediately. Develop a work support system, especially a close buddy you can trust and who you can vent to when things get overwhelming.


Nurse burnout causes weariness, disconnection, and inefficiency. The illness should be treated as soon as the symptoms appear, if possible.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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