Nursing is a wonderful career choice with plentiful job opportunities to choose from. However, nurses are often subject to high-stress environments in the workplace, and if the stress is not properly managed it can lead to burn-out.

RELATED: Nursing Shortage by State

There are two main paths to help prevent burn out that a nurse can explore:

Minimize the Stressors

  • Pay attention to where/when/why you are feeling most stressed. Perhaps it is at work or in your personal life. Notice where your stressors come from and then make a plan to decrease them.
  • Set healthy boundaries. Know that it is okay to say no, especially if you are picking up extra hours regularly or taking on too many tasks outside of work.
  • Work with your Nurse Manager or supervisors to adjust your schedule or hours if needed.
  • Evaluate your goals and priorities for your career.
  • Practice effective communication amongst your coworkers and lead by example. Extra work can occur if the information is not properly communicated.

Knowing there are many circumstances and situations that are out of your control and working towards accepting and managing the stress can be helpful.

Manage the Stress Effectively

  • Take care of yourself. Take the time to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and exercise. Set small goals for yourself that are realistic and do not shame yourself if you don't always hit every mark.
  • Take time off. Take a vacation or utilize your days off to change the scenery, even if it is just for a weekend.
  • Spend time with friends or family. Connecting with others helps relieve stress.
  • Spend quality time by yourself. Having quiet time can work wonders for nurses who work in bustling environments.
  • Talk to someone about stress. A professional therapist, friend, or partner can be a great resource.
  • Find an activity that speaks to you to help you be present in the moment, for example: do yoga, meditate, journal, create art or music. Bringing mindfulness to the present moment helps quiet stress and relieve anxiety.
  • Remind yourself of why you became a nurse, or why you choose to be a nurse. Caregiving for others is a rewarding endeavor. When burn-out occurs, it's helpful to remind yourself of all the good you are contributing to the world.

Read more in our NCLEX-RN guide to stress management.

Amanda Bucceri Androus, RN, BSN
Latest posts by Amanda Bucceri Androus, RN, BSN (see all)
  • How Nurses Can Promote Vaccines Without Promoting Vaccines - June 12, 2020
  • CDC Estimates of Nurse & Healthcare Worker COVID-19 Cases Are Likely Understated - May 19, 2020
  • How Nurses Are Keeping Up With Practice Agreement Changes During COVID-19 - April 8, 2020
Map for travel nurse.

Is Travel Nursing the Right Adventure for You?Jetting off to a tropical location or new city for a few months while getting paid top dollar can be…

CVOR nurse in the the operator room with other doctors and nurses.

What Is CNOR and Why Should You Go For It?The Competency and Credentialing Institute (CCI) is an organization that focuses on perioperative professional certifications for nurses. CCI identifies the…

Anxious nurses biting finger nails.

You Are Not Alone: Tips to Deal With or Avoid Anxiety for the Nervous New NurseIt's the night before her shift and nurse Kayla is starting to get a sinking feeling in her stomach, worrying…

Nurses holding up hands in confused posture.

The Factors That Bind RNs: Are RNs Nurses If They Don’t Work at the Bedside?Congratulations! You are officially a part of the most trusted profession, with the opportunity to make a difference in people's…

Black ER nurse smiling with arm crossed in ER room.

5 Ways to Improve Your Performance as an ER NurseLike many medical careers, emergency nursing is much different than how it's portrayed on television. With the fast-paced environment of…