Nurse viewpoint: Preventing burnout starts with taking care of yourself

To avoid burnout, nurses should turn to self-care, according to Laura Kinsella, RN, an emergency room nurse based in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Kinsella recently shared her thoughts on nurse burnout in a blog post for Daily Nurse.

"You know the feeling. It's your third shift in a row, it's a particularly difficult patient or family, it's a heartbreaking story, it's an intense diagnosis, it's [a] short-staffed night on the unit," she writes. "Nursing is profoundly tiring — physically, emotionally and intellectually."

Ms. Kinsella's first tip to combat burnout is simple: breath. She says nurses feeling overwhelmed or fatigued at work should take five deep breaths to center their minds and bodies.

Once off-shift, nurses must take good care of themselves.

"As nurses, it can be incredibly difficult for us to do this," she says. "But just like oxygen masks on an airplane, we all know deep down that it is difficult to care for others when we ourselves are in a fragile, fatigued place."

Proper self care includes getting high quality sleep, eating healthy meals and finding an effective way to handle stress.

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