Of all of the problems facing a certified nursing assistant in the field, burnout is probably one of the worst. Burnout refers to the condition whereby a CNA can feel hopeless, overwhelmed, anxious, strained, depressed and angry. Where these emotions are normal when they flit in and out, burnout is when a CNA feels that way most of the time and it drives them to poor job performance and then being fired or quitting which usually only serves to cause more feelings of burnout as they cope with financial problems and the feeling of failure. Burnout is a very real problem for CNAs and a relatively common one, so understanding it and knowing how best to deal with it is very important.
Symptoms of Burnout
The symptoms of burnout are varied, but they boil down to negativity associated with the job. You may feel stressed, anxious, depressed, overwhelmed or angry most of the time. The thought of going to work may make you consistently feel tired, annoyed, stressed out or sad. You may be getting sick more often as your immune system is overwhelmed by emotional stress or you may feel depressed. You may feel as though you are in a constant fog or like you ‘just don’t care anymore.’ The main difference between stress and burnout is that stress and its symptoms will go away in a day or two or after a weekend on its own; burnout will not go away.
Burnout is often caused by CNAs feeling overworked, under appreciated, insecure on the job or confused about what they are really supposed to be doing. Working as a certified nursing assistant is a stressful job after all, so it’s only natural to get burned out sometimes.
Dealing with Burnout
There are several ways to deal with burnout, but for the most part, the best way to do it is to take some time for yourself every day! Most CNAs go into the job because they enjoy taking care of others and this means that they fall prey to the ‘take care of everyone but me,’ trap and therein lies the danger of burnout. Make sure to take even an hour a day out for yourself to do something you enjoy so that you don’t feel so wiped out.
If the burnout has gotten bad though, looking for counseling might be a good idea. Generally speaking, counseling is free of charge for CNAs who take it in the same facility where they work, so there really is no risk in booking an hour or so to simply vent or get some help managing the burnout. Sometimes the simple action of having someone to talk at for a bit can go a long ways towards getting rid of burnout.
Burnout is a very real and very serious problem, resulting in many certified nursing assistants losing their jobs and many more being unhappy and passing that on to their co-workers and patients. Dealing with burnout isn’t too hard though, nor is it expensive. Remember to take some time out for yourself every day and take advantage of any free counseling services or any support systems through your medical facility. In this way, you can always be at your best for your patients and enjoy your work for a long time to come!