How to Prevent Burnout When Studying: A Guide for Working Nurses

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Preventing burnout isn’t just an essential step for your career; it’s also crucial for your health and wellbeing. Experiencing burnout can increase your risk of developing several conditions, including an anxiety disorder. It is not something anyone wants to experience, and yet many flirt with the risk simply to achieve their goals. 

While you should never stop reaching for your goals, you do need to be aware of your limits and your needs, even and especially in situations where others are relying on you. Nurses experience this pressure every day, and yet many will have aspirations to move on beyond their RN license. If you want to further your training and become an APRN licensed nurse, chances are you will need to complete an MSN degree while you continue to work. This is a huge amount of effort, and it can be very stressful. 

For the sake of your patients, for the sake of your aspirations, and for the sake of your health, you need to seriously approach burnout prevention. This guide can help working nurses devise a strategy that will help them make progress both at work and with their degree without taking that physical and mental toll. 

Find the Right Degree

There are several characteristics that you need to keep in mind when you choose your degree. The first is that it will allow you to reach your goals. The good news is that in nursing, choosing the right degree is as easy as knowing what role you want to be licensed in. If you want to become a family nurse practitioner, for example, the only degree you need to look for is an MSN-FNP, or if you are already an APRN looking for a switch, an FNP post-graduate certificate. 

When it comes to creating a shortlist and choosing the best degree for your needs, you will want to look at the support and structure of the degree. Online degrees are not created equal. While Texas Woman’s University offers clinical placement services and flexible graduation periods, not every degree option does. If you need that flexibility to work around your career, you will want to choose the TWU online FNP program over a full-time intensive program. 

From there, you will want to familiarize yourself with the services and support options available through the university. This, as well as communicating with the admissions counselor, can help you understand exactly what kind of support you can expect. Use all available services as necessary to improve your education and your experience. 

Adjust Your Workday

If you work an incredibly demanding job that leaves no room for further commitments, then you will need to relocate. Switching jobs and finding a position that will allow you to tackle both a career and a degree is essential, and in some cases, there is no way around it. Working a few years in a clinic or smaller hospital can give you the mental space and time to commit to a degree and make consistent progress. 

In some cases, you may be able to negotiate with your current employer; in other cases, you will need to find a different position altogether. You may even want to consider travel nursing and working on a flexible schedule for the duration of your degree. You are not chained to your position, so make your job work for you. 

Improve Your Physical Health

Improving your physical health can help you increase your energy levels, help with cognitive function, and help reduce stress. A good example of how your physical health can impact your day is to consider the difference between a good night’s sleep and a terrible night’s sleep. In the first instance, you will feel more like yourself, able to handle the day and even energized and able to do extra things after your workday. If you start your day terribly, however, you will struggle through the hours. 

A few health improvements you can make that will reduce the risk of stress and burnout include: 

  • Improve your sleep schedule 
  • Drink more water and hydrate regularly 
  • Eat healthier meals that provide slow-release energy 
  • Exercise and stretch (but continue to have fun) 

Care for Your Mental Health and Wellbeing

There are a few great tips that will immediately help you care for your mental health and wellbeing:

  • Improve your physical health to reduce strain on your mental health
  • Take regular breaks where you leave your desk to refuel, stretch, or go outside
  • Stay connected with peers, coworkers, family, and friends
  • Make time for your hobbies, activities, events, and fun
  • Reduce time spent scrolling online 
  • Try new things
  • Share your feelings
  • Seek out professional mental health support

Be Aware of the Symptoms of Burnout

Living perfectly does not mean that you cannot experience burnout. That is why the final tip to help you prevent burnout is to be aware of the symptoms of it. By knowing the early warning signs, you can immediately start to reevaluate your approach and try new things to see if you feel more comfortable, more confident, and more relaxed. 

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