Burnout for ICU nurses can happen. Here are some tools and tips to hopefully avoid ICU burnout.

Defining Your Purpose and The Value Of Reviewing It Regularly

It is important to have a clearly defined purpose as a nurse. You may be passionate about helping people on the verge of death to make it back to health. It may be that your purpose as a nurse fits into your larger overall life purpose. Spend some time thinking about what drives you, what inspires you and what keeps you going.

Try writing it down or creating a vision board to help visualize your purpose and refer back to it when times get tough. If you have a locker at work, consider posting your personal purpose inside your locker. If not, perhaps saving it as a screensaver on your phone or even writing it out beautifully and taking a picture of it so you can pull it up anytime. This will allow you to refer back to it when things get tough with a doctor, an intern, when you’re shaken by a development with a patient or when things get stressful.

Visualizing your purpose may help you take a moment or two and re-center your thoughts and refocus your emotions. Check out other ways to better manage your stress at work.

Building a Network

When you notice someone new in your working environment, make a point to introduce yourself and spark a conversation with him or her.  This will allow you to get to know the people around you, and build a very stronger support network. Try to find out what your current coworker’s interests and passions are. There is a wonderful book called, How to Win Friends and Influence People, that speaks to ways to spark up conversations and grow your personal connections with people.  The book was written in the 30’s, but is still applicable today.

Building strong connections at work with your coworkers will help you better deal with tough situations as they come up. You may even be able to rely on your co-workers for emotional support, and possibly even have some additional support as far as your workload in a pinch. People are so much more willing to help people that they like. Try to be likable. We all have crabby days, and your co-workers will be more understanding if you’re having an off-day if you’ve built a strong connection with them.

Participating In Shared Experiences

If there are meetings for your department make sure you go. It is important to feel that your voice is heard and also that you hear the voices of those around you so that you will be able to achieve the best equilibrium you can with your working environment.

If there is a holiday party or an outing involving those in your department, go. Even if it’s inconvenient, it is important to nurture the relationships around you and participating in shared experiences is one of the very best ways to foster strong relationships.

If your department does not have any group activities planned, consider going to your management and suggesting some or even planning an unofficial event. It could even be as simple as having a department potluck. These types of activities allow people to connect on different levels, which helps to alleviate tension in the workplace, and facilitates the department becoming a cohesive unit.

Planning Your Time-Off

It is important that you have some great activities planned for a time when you’re not working. If you are a single person, look at some major events happening in your area over the next year, and plan sometimes with some friends. If you have a family, then plan some getaways and activities to ensure that you’re spending quality time together. At the end of the day, if all you do is go to work, and come home and go to sleep, eventually you’re going to find yourself burned out. Having outside activities you can enjoy and look forward to will refresh your internal strength and you maintain the proper balance.

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