BURNOUT feels like hell!
- You care about neither your work nor your patients. You no longer think you are making a difference. You dread going in for your shift & you feel disconnected from your peers.
- I know how burnout feels because I’ve been there. After 30 years of practicing neonatology I found myself completely fried. Previously, I loved caring for sick babies, loved procedures, loved critical care. I seemed to always find endless energy & enthusiasm. You can make a big difference working in the NICU!
- But there is only so much night call, so many codes, so many emergency deliveries, so many deaths one human can tolerate. The NICU work is rewarding & enjoyable until it’s not. Losing a sick baby hurts; you feel like you failed somehow.
- When I burned out I was fortunate to be able to change to a part-time position in an intermediate care delivery center & nursery, I began go easy on myself. Night call was rare. I exercised, I talked to a professional, I began to play the piano again, I lunched with friends, I learned calligraphy, & I slowly recovered.
- A recent poll found that, one year into this pandemic, roughly 3 in 10 health-care workers have thought about leaving their profession. More than 50% say they are burned out. And 60% say that stress from the pandemic has harmed their mental health. (Poll conducted by Washington Post & Kaiser Family Foundation)
- If you know a nurse, physician, or respiratory therapist who has been pummeled during this pandemic, please help them open up about how they feel. They need rest, understanding, exercise, getting into nature, going outdoors, active play, Some need professional therapy. They may tell you they are fine & just need a drink, to be alone, or to rest. They are not fine.
- If you love them, please encourage them to talk about their feelings of burnout. You will be glad you did.
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