Burnout: taking care of yourself in a high-risk occupation
Burnout is not a new phenomenon in the nursing profession, but there is an increasing need to acknowledge the prevalence of burnout and the ways in which it can be mitigated. Factors that contribute to the high prevalence of burnout within nursing include the pace of the job, degree of public responsibility and generic workforce challenges. Additionally, the multifaceted nature of the nursing role, which includes emotional, physical and psychological labour, places nurses at higher risk of experiencing burnout (Montañés Muro, 2023).
This article offers methods for nurses to assess their risk of burnout and provides some mitigation strategies.
What is burnout?
The World Health Organization (WHO, 2019) defines burnout as ‘a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’. The WHO further defines burnout as the presence of:
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings