Staff Burnout comes from Tension Build up!

by Angela Brooks


Did you know that only 7% of what is actually said is about what we say, and 55% of our body language speaks louder than our words. Most of what people say is rarely heard if your body language says that you do not care – or do not have time for them.

The last two days I have been in a CPI Review Training – Nonviolent Crisis Intervention which is a program that focuses on the safe management of disruptive assaultive behavior. I am a mental health nurse that has used this skill many times, but this class could apply to you and the people in your life. We have all been exposed to aggressive or agitated people in our life from the age of  3 – now. We may not have been assaulted or felt threaten but you have been exposed to the behaviors that lead to aggression.

This class room setting teaches Care (showing compassion and empathy) Welfare (supporting emotional and physical well-being) Safety (preventing danger, risk, and injury) Security (ensuring harmony – not harm) for teachers, medical personal, Emergency care givers and many more. Over 5 million people are certified in CPI training. As a nurse I have observed how families treat and talk to the medical staff that are taking care of their families. Even though they do not understand many of the procedures that are being done to their family – along with the added stress of having someone needing medical care heights the stress buttons.

As medical personnel the nurse will at time have to set limits, be supportive, give directives, options and choices to both the family and client. This can also lead to an aggressive act where the nurse is threatened, cursed, demeaned and possibly even attacked.

The CPI programs teaches how to protect yourself from a physical attack and if attacked how to get out of a situation as quick as possible. It is called “Block and Move”, since there are only two ways someone can attack you (1)Verbal (2) Physical. By doing this – the staff needs to remain calm, move out of dangers way and remain professional. A little quip to keep in mind when someone acts out is Q-Tip = Quit taking it personal. Most of the time the agitated person is not angry with the person they attack – usually a precipitating factor that starts the emotional roller coaster.

Para verbal communication involves three components tone, volume and cadence of your voice. We have all done it – and we have heard our mothers do this to us when we were young. We knew by the tone of the voice whether we were in trouble or not. Our professional tone during a crisis can deescalate a situation or increase one.

When a crisis situation reaches the point that our hands have to be physically placed on another person as the last resort, it is always advisable to intervene with two or more staff members. The first and foremost reason is that a team is much safer for all involved. You can never tell how far a situation will go or if it will escalate even more.  There have been times when I have been alone on a unit and a person started to attack me and I had no choice but to use personal self defensive instincts to prevent myself from being harmed. There will be times when CPI is not going to work – or is not possible to use. The best situation is always as a team and not to be alone on a unit where a situation can arise.

It has been proven many times that stress is the highest reason for medical staff turnover.

As we all work very hard to maintain a therapeutic relationship with our patients and clients; it is assumed that when an aggressive individual becomes physical that the therapeutic process should be abandoned but that is not true. That is when your role as professional shows up, it is likely that the therapeutic relationship you have built will balance or offset the person’s behavior.

Working with people of all cultures, backgrounds, beliefs there is no reason to not treat them with respect. When they come to you for help or brought to you it is hard to understand the many emotions that are going through in their mind at the time of the initial meeting.

Nursing can be a challenging job, full of stress with mixed emotions. It can also be very rewarding in many ways. However, when the stress gets to be more than you want to handle any longer what will you do? Where will you go? You have skills that are sharpened from experience and a caring heart that still wants to give. Retire the stress but not the nursing skills let me tell you what I did click here

Angela was voted 110th Leading Moms in Business celebrating the top mom owned businesses. She has been promoted in her job from a night shift staff  nurse to the day shift as a Education and Training Educator for the new nursing employees, she has built her direct sales business part – time, while working a full time job, with her blog, newsletter, and smart phone. She has never picked up the phone to call cold leads or have home parties.

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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 Greg Mercer January 30, 2013 at 6:46 pm

CPI is a self-defense class pretending to be about prevention:count the pages in the workbook. How many are about self-defense? Also, who that wants to avoid confrontation puts rapport building AFTER the restraint? CPI is a tribute to great marketing, but a poor product for clinicians.

2 Angela Brooks January 30, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I could NOT have said that better myself!! CPI is showing you how to defense yourself from someone attacking you on the job. It is by no means a class to sugar coat when they will be using these moves.

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