Managing fatigue and burnout in the workplace

What is burnout? Dr Delwyn Bartlett, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, said ‘burnout is often described as emotional exhaustion and a combination of a number of factors such as feeling out of control, feeling like your needs aren’t being met, and feeling like there are no boundaries between work and home.’ She said that shift workers can often suffer from burnout and symptoms can include sleep difficulty and worrying about the next day.

In a profession such as nursing where round the clock care is required you can’t stop shift work but Dr Barlett believes it is imperative that nurses increase their awareness about fatigue and burnout so that they are better equipped to improve the situation. ‘It is difficult to prevent burnout but being aware of the symptoms can help an individual reflect on the situation, view how they are responding and work out a way to manage better so that they don’t feel so overwhelmed.’