5 Ways To Tell If You’re Experiencing Burnout

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Bitter, battered, negative and unhappy. These qualities do not a nurse make.

Ever worked with anyone whose candle seems to dimming each day you see them?

Here are five ways to tell if you are approaching that limit.

You have nothing nice to say about your job (current position)

Nobody’s job is perfect. We all have certain things that annoy us, or drive us batty at work. Everything from a colleague to the red-tape politics can push your buttons from time to time. But, when the common theme is all about what you don’t like, won’t do, or can’t stand it’s time to rethink your situation. The good should always out weigh the bad, otherwise find a new job.

New nurses aggravate you

You know the old rumor of ‘Nurses eating their young’. Well if you are living proof of this urban legend you need to stop thinking about what a new nurse doesn’t know, and start remembering what it was like to be one! You didn’t walk into this profession knowing everything, someone had to teach you. It’s time to pass on the knowledge, and lessen the fear. These new breed of nurses are willing, able, sharp and smart. Who doesn’t want that type of person as a colleague?

Change (Technology) is your enemy

It’s the only constant thing in our profession. Everything about our profession continues to change and evolve. Our patients and their presentation has changed, and so should our care. Gone are the days of counting drops in glass bottles (although, yes we still do this), taking temperatures with mercury-filled thermometers and having post-operative patients lying in bed for days. Change is a good thing – for you and our patients.

You don’t get along with any of your co-workers

Yes, personalities will collide. We all have coworkers that just ‘click’ with us, and others that never meet on the same page. Que sera sera. That challenge exists in every work environment. The difference is, as a rule, you should be getting along with more than you don’t. If you have more enemies than allies, you may want to look in the mirror. It’s not everyone against you, really.

You have nothing nice to say about your profession

This is by far the worst offense of them all. We work in the greatest profession out there. Sure there are things I don’t like and would rather not have to deal with, but when someone asks me about my chosen profession I light up like a flood light. My mouth starts running a mile a minute about all the great things I have seen, done and experienced. I am wanting to contribute to the ‘whole’ not just be a working part of this awesome machine. You will never catch me say anything negative without a handful of positives to finish my sentence. If you don’t like your choice of profession, please do us all a favor and don’t just talk about leaving.

So, do you know anyone who fits any of the above?

Burnout isn’t the end my fellow fighters! Maybe you just need a much deserved vacation to re-energize? Maybe a stay-cation? Maybe the recharge involves a change of scenery? That is the great thing about our profession, the unlimited opportunities and options out there!

Take advantage of them and fire up that spark!

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. Started working for a company asked for Fri to mon off for vacation.was grated every day except sat, Really? You was me to come in in the middle of my 4 days??? Had to call out “sick” for that sat. Oh well,fire me!!

  2. I started a seeing signs of burn out in myself many years ago. I kept my license active; did required CEUs, etc. I worked in a major department store selling cosmetics (The one with a capital c) for 2 years. Best thing I ever did for my nursing career.

  3. Somehow, I need to find a completely different job on nursing. Away from the impossible stress of the floor don’t know how yet but it has to be done the wick at the center of my candle is almost at the bottom

  4. I love the quote “stay-vacation”. I see it as pushing the pause button and just stop. Stop thinking, stop talking, stop doing.. BUT FEEL . Don’ judge or expect. Just STAY and FEEL all the stuff of where you are this moment. Anger usually comes briming forth. So for me , if I “, stop, stay, feel, ” I remember that it might not be the job, my co- workers, my managers, my patients( it might be, and if it is I know my answer – leave) but it could be I am not doing MY JOB. My job in taking care of me, standing up, speaking out ,asking for help, confronting and advocating on my behalf, giving the benefit of the doubt to others as well as to myself, saying “no “and knowing and implementing my boundaries ..saying “yes” and doing what I need : eating right, hydrating, sleeping and exercising.
    Not just trusting my gut, my instinct but listening and actual following it.

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