Is work causing you to burn out? How to spot the warning signs

Our podcast guest explains the aggravating factors of burnout among nurses, including the impact of working long shifts, and what to do about it

Photo of exhausted nurse at work, illustrating podcast about burnout
Picture: iStock

Severely exhausted, feeling cynical or struggling emotionally? You could be burned out by your job.

Studies show that between 25% and 50% of nurses are experiencing burnout in some work settings, which can impact on patient safety.

Burnout is also linked to increased staff absences and is a large driver of nurses leaving their jobs or the profession entirely.

But how can you spot the warning signs and stop burnout? This episode of the Nursing Standard podcast looks at aggravating factors of burnout among nurses, how to recognise early signs and the impact of working long shifts.

Effects of 12-hour shifts on staff

Our guest is University of Southampton nursing workforce lecturer Dr Chiara Dall’Ora, who has carried out several studies on burnout within nursing.

She talks to senior reporter Alison Stacey about the findings of her latest study and the links between burnout and working 12-hour shifts, as well as tips and strategies for managers on how to make the work environment more supportive to staff.

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Burnout can cause ‘cynicism and depersonalisation’

‘In a nutshell burnout is definitely more than just tiredness. There is an exhaustion element to it, and it can be mental and physical exhaustion,’ she says.

‘There’s also a cynicism and depersonalisation aspect, so you will look at your clients or patients as objects.

‘My most recent study showed 50% of nurses were experiencing burnout, which is extremely concerning. Although that might not be a true representation of the UK workforce it is incredibly high, and given what we know about the consequences of burnout it is deeply worrying.’

More Nursing Standard podcasts

Read the burnout study co-authored by Dr Chiara Dall’Ora

Shift work characteristics and burnout among nurses: cross-sectional survey

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