The healthcare sector faces intense pressure in light of the ongoing pandemic. With the spread of the coronavirus, hospitals had to admit and treat patients after patients while dealing with shortages of workers and medical equipment. Nurses and doctors put their lives at stake by being around affected patients and working extra hours to cater to the situation.
Nurse leaders had to play an essential role in this duration, taking on the responsibility of managing the staff and delegating tasks to them. They became mediators to keep the work environment healthy and as representatives to put forward the needs and demands of the nurses. Their duties expanded to hiring and training new nurses to provide quality care, simultaneously promptly making the decisions because of the challenging circumstances that couldn’t afford more delays.
Before the epidemic, nurse leaders worked harder than anyone to structure and maintain friendly working conditions and often forgot to care for themselves, causing burnout. Among these, there are many other reasons why they may feel tired, including emotional exhaustion, lack of recognition, and disappointment in self-actualization. It is essential to understand that nurse leaders might not perform optimally if they face burnout and weariness. And their services are too valuable for any healthcare center to risk, so they should be allowed proper rest and self-care whenever necessary.
Moreover, keeping in mind the shortage of nursing staff today, the health care field seeks qualified nurse leaders. Attaining top leadership skills is the key for nurses who want to make a greater impact in their field. As the demand for nurses grows, nursing leadership roles are getting more important to guide the next generation of nursing professionals. To master the leadership skills in nursing, aspirants can opt for a master’s in nursing to fill the shortage and save nurses from burnout. Below are some ways in which nurse leaders can reduce burnout:
Recognize and Address Burnout
Nurse leaders must understand that they may feel exhausted during or after their shift. It is better to recognize and address it before it starts affecting their quality of work performance. They play a crucial role in the healthcare centers, and if they’re not able to efficiently complete their tasks, it will become a problem for many. Once they’ve recognized the factor behind the burnout, they can start working on it. It could simply be an irrelevant factor like working extra hours, having low pay, deteriorating work relationships, and poor working conditions. They could sort this out with the hospital authorities and demand reinforcements to maintain their performance effectively.
On the other hand, it could be the lacking of an intrinsic motivation factor causing burnout. Nurse leaders could be emotionally exhausted with the work pressure; they could feel like their efforts are not appreciated by others. They could lose encouragement if they feel like they don’t possess a specific skill set. Through support programs, authorities can help nurse leaders find assistance and eliminate such doubts.
Implement Laissez-Faire Leadership Style
The leadership style that one implements in their management contribute to establishing teamwork, lowering stress levels, and improving self-empowerment. Nurse leaders should choose to implement leadership styles that make them emotionally intelligent and facilitative for the nurses and helps them ensure commitment to the organization. Laissez-Faire is a type of leadership style which refers to a ‘hands-off’ approach, which means that it doesn’t require nurse leaders to supervise their staff closely. It also means that the team is already competent enough to make decisions and doesn’t need many delegations.
This type of leadership doesn’t need nurse leaders to provide constant feedback to their team and work as freely as they want. It doesn’t necessarily impact the performance because the team is already well-taught and experienced. It has an essential benefit, and that is, it takes some burden off the shoulders of nurse leaders. When they don’t have to check their team members constantly, they get more time to assess the overall performance and find new ways to improve the quality of care.
Become Inclusive in Decisions Making
Nursing leaders may experience burnout when they lack autonomy and control over their organizational roles and practices. Hence, they should be included in making decisions when it comes to nursing policies. Hospital authorities should ask for their feedback and reviews when it comes to implementing strategies regarding their duties and the roles of their team members. In decision-making, involving nurse leaders would also help hospitals retain them and attract ‘the cream of the crop’ candidates as new staff. When they’re allowed to participate in decisions regarding themselves, they will choose what’s best for them and their teams. It will give them consolation that their opinion and efforts matter to the organization and would motive them. It would also encourage them to take care of themselves so that they can enhance their work performance.
Incorporate Support Programs
Nurse leaders should not shy away from reporting when they feel emotionally or physically exhausted. Their peers may be able to help them out by offering support. Suppose you keep on building on weariness inside. In that case, there is a likelihood of lashing out on patients who require steadfastness from your side. Hospital authorities should incorporate support programs that focus on the well-being of their employees. It should ensure that they’re not working more than their capacity and taking appropriate time off to recuperate.
If they feel overwhelmed by their work, they should be allowed to take a break. As nursing is an emotionally draining career, and too many long hours can adversely affect their performance. The support programs should provide their nurses and nurse leaders with healers who can help them manage stress and balance their work and leisure time. There should also be an open discussion between team members so to avoid critical nurse burnout. Nurse leaders should reach out to other management-level workers and seek relief during difficult times.
Take Holistic Self-Care
Nurse leaders should know how essential it is to take care of their mental health and physical well-being. Hospitals are now emphasizing the importance of self-care habits in nurses because their welfare is ultimately the welfare of the patients. Nursing leaders who aren’t taking proper care of themselves will feel anxious and stressed out, which will deteriorate the care experience of their patients. For instance, if nurse leaders are not getting enough sleep, they will not correctly direct their teams and solve problems with quick decision-making. A proper sleep schedule and a dietary plan would help them avoid the feeling of burnout and work to their utmost potential. Other activities like exercise routines, group yoga, and meditation have also shown a positive impact on the attentiveness of nurse leaders. Thus, nurses need to take holistic care of themselves to reduce burnout.
In a nutshell, there are many ways in which nurse leaders can reduce burnout. Still, they have to begin with understanding the essentiality of taking care of themselves. If they feel tired at work, it would increase agitation and decrease their work performance. Hence, they should try to stay vigilant, and that would only be possible when they’re maintaining a work-life balance.