Burnout in psychiatric nursing

by Angela Brooks

On my drive home I sat blankly staring into space thinking about the conversations I had that day. I sat behind the school bus turning into the women sobriety housing / halfway house with smiling moms standing at the end of the sidewalk waiting for their children. A 12-step-based recovery house for women, suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, providing a safe and loving supervised environment where women will learn to cope without the use of drugs and alcohol, and raise their children. This group of women struggle each day with the things that go on inside their addicted mind paving a new path for their life and their kids. When I think about the stress that the psychiatric nurse go through that causes a large turn over in that nursing field. It makes me wonder if they would benefit from the 12 step plan.

  • Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over our co-workers and patients – that our lives are all we can manage
  • Step 2 – Believe that a Power greater than ourselves can assist in our sanity as a nurse
  • Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will, our patients and co-workers along with our lives over to the care of God
  • Step 4 – Perform a search and fearless moral inventory of ourselves as humans
  • Step 5 – Admitted to ourselves and to another co-worker if we have wronged them
  • Step 6- Be entirely ready to remove all these defects in our character and forgive our co-workers defects.
  • Step 7 – Humbly asked God to clock in on every shift and thank him when you complete one.
  • Step 8 – Be willing to say I am sorry I am wrong.
  • Step 9 – Make direct amends to co-workers wherever possible
  • Step 10 – Continue to take personal inventory
  • Step 11 – Prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God. Praying only for knowledge and the power to carry that out encouraging those around us.
  • Step 12 – Ask for spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other psychiatric nurses, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

12 simple steps of being good to your co-workers and treat them with encouragement.

In less than 8 hours I had several conversations with other nurses that were hurt and upset by their co-workers. The very environment that makes them want to get out of nursing all together. Someone clocked in slower than she thought the person should have in front of her and mumbles a few rude remarks before she hustles toward her work area. Another nurse struggles with the back biting; clickie groups that bring a negative air to the work place. I know what you’re thinking – that is everywhere and not just in nursing. It is simple. Nursing has always been a stressful profession, with very little outlets to relieve the stress. A review of studies of nursing burnout found that a lack of good coping strategies for dealing with stress put nurses at higher risk of burnout. Poor organization and hostile management can also lead to feelings of hopelessness. Nurses who work in high-stress areas, such as psychiatric nursing are more prone to burnout.

There are several things that can be done as prevention and solutions such as cutting back on hours, speak with a support group. Becoming a nursepreneaur has become a career that burnout nurses are turning too. A chance to continue doing what they love to do – caring for people – without the poor co-work, organizational and hostile management that give nurses the feeling of not being important and burnt-out. Nursing at a new level – still helping and serving people.

Angela Brooks has a passion to help people as a nurse – as nursepreneur she can change people’s lives and their health. She see dreams coming true that have been pushed down for way to long. She is the founder of angelabrook.com, a company dedicated to helping empower nurses who works in the mental health field. Not just for nurses – but those that nurse others in life. She is the nurses voice, the voice for those unheard. Join the community of nurses from around the world.

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Angela Brooks is a retired nurse after 25 years in mental health. She used her lunch breaks to build her business part time on the night shift. Her car became a mobile university as she listened to business training, coaching calls on CD and phone webinars. She blogged while she was at her sons' baseball practices.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Yvonne C. Hyde October 11, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Great post, Angela. I am not a nurse, but I work very closely with them. I am a Physical Therapist. I can see that the nurses are very stressed. More so than we are. They get pulled in more directions than they can handle and have less control over their schedules. And the direction our healthcare system is headed will NOT make things better for nurses. I will pass your post along.

2 Angela Brooks October 11, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Thank you Yvonne – PT are important people – that is what I used to want to be!

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