Overcoming Burnout-Many nurses face burnout at some point in their careers. Sometimes,the competitive, fast-paced environment of hospital work means that nurses who are just starting out in the field feel a lot of pressure. On the other hand, nurses further along in their careers may face too much emotional stress or have neglected to take the proper time to care for themselves.
Overcoming Burnout as a Nursing Assistant
Those who decide to pursue a career in the medical field as a Nursing Assistant set out to show compassion and help others. Their hearts are in the right place, but they may soon find their minds and bodies suffering from burnout. This is the result of continually feeling like you can’t meet your work requirements. Soon you find you are completely drained and exhausted due to feeling overwhelmed. Often, the result is losing the motivation that lead you to take on that role in the first place.
The role of a Nursing Assistant is a demanding one. One of the biggest complaints from them is that they have too much to do, and not enough time to get it all done. Burnout is dangerous because it affects individuals emotionally, physically, and mentally. It is tough to see bright, compassionate Nursing Assistants leave the medical field because they have come to resent the role they have taken on. It no longer serves a purpose for them. What was once a positive experience has become a nightmare.
The stress of burnout on a Nursing Assistant can lead to problems with their health as well as lead to depression. Often, they either quit their job or they are fired. This leads to financial difficulties and many times issues in their relationships. Nursing Assistants report burnout in their profession is common because they are overworked, unappreciated, confused about work expectations and priorities, worry about job security, they are overwhelmed by the number of responsibilities, and they do not feel their pay is sufficient for the amount of duties that they are required to perform on an ongoing basis.
It is important that Nursing Assistants understand burnout, and the havoc it can reap in their professional and personal life. Understanding what burnout is, why it happens, and the signs of it can help Nursing Assistants deal with the situation before it spirals out of control. The first step in avoiding burnout is to take care of yourself physically and emotionally.
Signs you are experiencing job burnout or soon will be include no longer finding enjoyment in areas of your job you once really liked, becoming cynical or bitter about your job, and you are starting to experience problems in relationships with co-workers, friends or family as a result of the conflicts of your job.
Other important signs to watch for are looking for excuses to not go to work, calling off or asking to go home early on a regular basis, becoming easily annoyed with co-workers, envious of those who do enjoy their work, and not caring if you do a good job or not. It is likely you will start to experience physical and emotional exhaustion.
Being a Nursing Assistant can be stressful. However, stress and burnout are different. They are often confused because they signs and symptoms of the two are very similar. The defining factor is stress comes and goes, so the signs and symptoms do as well. With burnout, the feeling doesn’t go away, so the signs and symptoms linger ongoing.
As a Nursing Assistant, you can’t eliminate stress, but you can help control and reduce the effects of it. It is important to get plenty of rest and take care of yourself. Since most of us stretch ourselves too thin with too many commitments, see if there are areas you can cut back in. If you have solutions to issues at work, write them down. Ask to meet with your supervisor. Explain the problems, then offer solutions. This will show that you are interested in resolving the issues rather than just complaining.
It is very important to take time for yourself. Relax with a warm bath or read a good book. Too often we take care of everyone else’s needs at work and at home, leaving nothing of ourselves for us! Since the healthcare profession is the top contender for employees suffering from burnout, Nursing Assistants need to really take head of this advice and put it to good use early on in their career. This will help ensure they continue to enjoy their work, offering patients the best possible care.
Become a Nurse Assistant
If you enjoy helping other people, a career in the medical field might be for you. The field is always in demand of qualified compassionate individuals who are willing to put forth their best efforts to help others. A Nurse Assistant is an entry level position that will allow you the opportunity to help others and gain experience in the medical field.
Since Nurse Assistants are needed throughout the Nation, you will be able to secure employment opportunities most anywhere. Job security is very high in most areas of the medical field. The training programs to earn your certificate all vary depending on state regulations. However, most can be completed in four to six weeks on average. The cost of such programs is very low.
If you need assistance with the cost of the course, many programs offer scholarships or financial aid. In addition, many community agencies such as Human Services will assist you with the cost of completing such a training course. Some employers in the medical field will agree to either pay for your Nurse Assistant training or reimburse you upon successful completion of the program.
Most Nurse Assistant programs start every six to eight weeks. It will depend on the length of the course and the interest in your particular area. This is different than most certificate programs where you have to wait until a full semester ends before you can enroll. Sometimes that can mean a three or four month waiting period.
During your Nurse Assistant training, you will attend a classroom learning environment as well as receive hands on training. The hands on training requires you to complete a certain number of hours, called clinicals, working at a medical facility with actual patients. All of your work will be overseen by trained professionals who with assist you with the proper procedures and medical understanding.
The combination of classroom learning and clinicals will result in you being well prepared to enter the job market as a Nursing Assistant. Often, the medical site that oversees the clinicals will offer employment to those students who are learning well, following procedures for their facility, and who have a positive attitude.
Working as a Nurse Assistant can be very exciting and rewarding for the right person. The work is challenging and you may find yourself over extended at times. Things in a medical setting will change all the time, so the job definitely isn’t predictable. There are so many variables including the patients, then number of patients, other staff, and the medical needs of the patients that you work day with never be predictable.
While being a Nurse Assistant is an entry level position, it is also a very important position. You will be responsible for many daily living tasks for each patient. These tasks include bathing, grooming feeding, and checking their vital signs. You will also be responsible for assisting with medical equipment and moving patients as needed. The exact requirements of the position will vary depending on the facility you work for.
Becoming a Nurse Assistant generally does not take very long. You will continue to learn about your role as a Nurse Assistant once you secure employment. You will be exposed to medical information and procedures by the rest of the staff. This information will be very valuable. Many people choose to use the role of Nursing Assistance as a foundation to continue their education and become a Nurse or to explore other types of employment in the medical field.
Being a Nursing Assistant can lead to a Career as a Nurse
A Nursing Assistant certificate allows you the opportunity to secure employment at entry level in the medical field. This position requires compassion and dedication to assisting others. It also requires a high level of effective communication as well as attention for detail. Most people entering the Nursing Assistant profession find it to be a rewarding and challenging career. However, many choose to use it as a building block for becoming a Nurse.
The program for becoming a Nursing Assistant is very fast compared with the time it takes to earn a degree in Nursing. Therefore, many see it as a logic choice to gain experience in the medical field. It is an excellent idea for those that aren’t sure if Nursing is for them. It is better to spend four to twelve weeks in training to find out then to spend two or more years working on a Nursing degree.
There are individuals who must maintain employment while pursuing their education degree for financial reasons. For individuals in this position, completing the Nursing Assistant program offers them a way to secure employment that is related to what they are going to school for.
Others choose to advance their career once they have been working as a Nurse Assistant because they see many of the tasks Nurses are responsible for. It is a level of responsibility they wish to acquire. Since they work so closely with the Nursing staff, it is a perfect opportunity to explore more of what takes place. Others have a sincere desire to further their education, but for a variety of reasons have not been able to.
There is a significant pay difference between working as a Nursing Assistant and having a degree as a Nurse. The dollar amount varies based on location, but on average the difference is $4 to $9 per hour more. It doesn’t take long at all for the overall income difference to be seen. Nursing assistants often decide that they want to work in the medical field, but definitely want to be paid more for their work. Of course, the level of responsibility differs greatly between a Nursing Assistant and a Nurse.
Working at a medical facility as a Nursing Assistant can work to your advantage when you decide to pursue a degree in Nursing. It might help you get into the program if there is more interest in the program than enrollment opportunities.
Due to the continuous demand for qualified trained professionals in the area of Nursing, most medical facilities will support you in your efforts to further your education. They will often adjust your work schedule to accommodate you whenever possible.
Tuition assistance programs are offered by many employers in the medical field. They work in a variety of ways. Some will cover a percentage of your tuition; others will pay up to a particular dollar amount. Often, you will be required to agree to work for them for a particular length of time or have to reimburse them for any tuition paid on your behalf. Others won’t pay anything while you are attending school, but will offer tuition reimbursement upon completion of your Nursing degree.
Another advantage of working as a Nursing Assistant prior to obtaining your degree in Nursing is you will have an edge over other recent graduates. You will have work experience to offer in combination with your degree while many others will only have their degree.
Employers like to maintain their quality employees. If you are able to show outstanding work ethic as a Nursing Assistance, it is very likely they will offer you a position as a Nurse upon your completion of your degree. This often depends on the job openings at the medical facility you work for.
Your certificate and work experience as a Nurse Assistant can help make career opportunities appear. It may peak your interest in returning to school to work on your Nursing degree for a variety of reasons. It can help you be accepted to a Nursing program, as well as help you secure employment after completing your Nursing degree.
Confidentiality is a Must for Nursing Assistants
Nursing Assistants are exposed to a wide variety of events taking place in the medical field. It is crucial that they are aware of the importance of maintaining confidentiality in all aspects of their job.
Nursing Assistants are well trained in the policies and procedures of the facility. While it is important to follow them, it is not recommended to discuss them outside of the facility. For example, you don’t want to provide others with confidential information regarding evacuation and other emergency procedures. Doing so many compromise the safety of the patients and staff during a natural disaster or violent attack.
Patients requiring care in a medical facility are to have their privacy protected. This means you do not discuss their care or other personal information with any other person except staff they have an interest in the care of that patient. Confidentiality becomes an issue when you know someone in the facility or someone asks you why someone else in there.
All patients have the right to their privacy being maintained. Compromising this information is a direct violation of every medical practice. Providing such information can result in termination of your job, and in some cases, the loss of your Nursing Assistant Certification.
Communicable diseases can surface in medical facilities. It is important that you follow the policies and procedures set in place by the particular facility your work with. However, do not release information regarding such diseases to anyone. This could result in a panic over the possibility of an epidemic, and lead to patients wanting to leave the facility against medical advice.
The proper medical staff will release information on communicable diseases to the proper agencies. Often this includes the area health department. They can then help the medical facility incorporate a plan of action to remedy the solution. The decision might be made to share the information with the area newspapers in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and to seek medical attention if they display the symptoms of a communicable disease that requires treatment.
Confidentiality also includes other medical staff. Nursing Assistants should not be disclosing any information they overhear among other staff in regards to a patient. Likewise, they should not disclose any information that they hear about the private interactions of staff. Often referred to as gossip, this violation of confidentiality can result in poor working relationships. The result is often a stressful work environment and patients not receiving the best care because lines of communication are not open.
To protect yourself, it is important that you clearly understand the basics of confidentiality and why it is so important in the Nursing Assistant profession. Make sure you are fully aware of the specific policies and procedures in place for the facility you work for prior to accepting employment. In addition, it is the responsibility of the Nursing Assistant to report any violations of the confidentiality policies and procedures to the proper person. Not doing so makes you as much a part of the violation as those who committed it.
While it is human nature to talk and discuss things in common, make sure the information you are sharing in regards to your work are being shared with those who need to know the information. It can be humiliating enough for individuals who need to be in a medical facility without worrying about who is going to find out about what took place while they were in care.
Consumer Complaints about Nursing Assistants
Most Nursing Assistants work very hard to ensure the safety of patients as well as provide them with quality care. However, consumer complaints happen often, resulting in the profession not getting a fair look. Too often the focus is on the negative that takes place during interactions with Nursing Assistants than reporting good staff to the proper people.
One of the biggest complaints about Nursing Assistants by consumers is that they are too rushed. They often have to hurry through bathing and dressing because they have too many demands on their time in a given shift. This often results in patients getting cared for, but quickly and robotically. The personal touch is often smothered in an effort to get it all done.
For patients, simple requests are on of the few perks they have in a medical facility. It also allows they to still exercise some control over their decisions. This is very important to someone who no longer is able to be at home or do basic tasks for themselves without assistance. These requests can be as simple as helping them from the bed to a chair or bringing them a pen and paper to write a letter. It is easy for Nursing Assistants to get side tracked or forget. However, since these simply requests are important to the patient, it is very important that Nursing Assistants follow through with them. Carrying a pen and notepad to jot down requests is a great way to remember them.
Patients don’t like to be kept waiting. It is very hard to adjust to. They may forget they are not the only patient. Nursing Assistants do the best they can to stay on schedule. However, working short staffed and medical emergencies can quickly put them behind schedule. Nursing Assistants have to prioritize, so sometimes helping someone who has fallen is more important than giving the patient a shower on time. Since confidentiality is so important, the Nursing Assistant can’t tell the patient why they are running late.
Never discuss a patient with another staff member or family member in a manner that makes the patient feel as if they are not in the room. Speak with them in mind. It is important to carefully choose your words, even when you think they are asleep or in a coma. Many patients have filed complaints regarding conversations they overheard while Nursing Assistants thought they were sleeping or unresponsive.
One huge area of controversy is that many consumers are uneasy with who quickly a Nursing Assistant can obtain a license. They do not feel there is adequate training time to do an effective job. Federal guidelines require all Nursing Assistant programs to have a minimum of 75 hours of training. The actual amount will depend on the program coordinator and the state requirements for a particular program. However, it is often debated that to be certified as a manicurist, it takes over 1000 hours of training, but so little to become a Nursing Assistant.
Medical facilities and program developers defend the hours required to earn a certificate as a Nursing Assistant. They feel the training builds on an individuals basic concepts of feeding, bathing, and dressing individuals. It is routine tasks we have all done at some point in our lives. They also stress that the clinical hours are hands on training in a medical facility with close observation. This type of training is more effective than just classroom curriculums of other programs. In addition, Nursing Assistants are closely supervised by Nursing staff on a regular basis.
Nursing Assistants work hard to do an effective job of meeting the needs of consumers. Complaints will continue to be file as long as Nursing Assistants maintain such high workloads. With the demand of this field continuing to grow, it is not likely that the workloads will get anything but larger over time.
Counseling for Nursing Assistants
The day to day activities of a Nursing Assistant can be rewarding and draining. Most of us only know that they offer assistance with feeding, dressing, and bathing patients. However, they do so much more. They develop ongoing relationships with the patients as they have more one on one time with them than any other medical staff. They also provide comfort to the patient and their family. They do all they can from reading to them, helping them write letters, and holding their hand as they move from life to death.
Experiencing the negative activities that occur in the Nursing Assistant profession can really take a toll on an individual. It is especially hard when someone they have been caring for takes a turn for the work, becomes terminally ill, or dies. They still have to go on with their other patients, but they can be left feeling empty and at a loss.
Many medical facilities are aware of this issue. With being compassionate comes true feelings of friendship and loss. Counseling is a good way to help Nursing Assistants deal with the events that take place in the working environment. This counseling can be conducted through the employer or at the expense of the Nursing Assistant from an outside resource.
Counseling services offered on site to Nursing Assistants is generally offered free of charge, as long as the information being discussed is work related. The employer may have several paid counselors that only provide services to employees. Others use their counselors to provide services to their employees, patients, and the family and friends of patients. You will need to look into how it is set up at your place of employment for specific details.
These counseling sessions can be ongoing or set up only when a Nursing Assistant feels the need to do so. It is important to understand that the information you discuss with the counselor at your worksite will not be shared with your employer. Too often, Nursing Assistants avoid this type of support and help because they are afraid their boss is going to get a transcript of the entire session. All counseling sessions are held in strict confidentiality. They only time anything is reported is if the counselor feels you are in danger of hurting yourself or others.
Since counseling is important in the medical profession, you may be able to encourage administration at your place of employment to set up services for employees. While they may argue that it is costly and not in the budget, be prepared to discuss the benefits to the overall effectiveness of the staff. Employees with good mental health will do a better job. They will also choose to continue employment longer than staff that needs counseling but does not receive it.
If your employer does not offer counseling services, it is important that you look into an outside resource for such services. The Nursing Assistant field can be draining and emotional. A key to staying on top of the game is to take care of yourself. This means both on a physical and emotional level. In reality, you aren’t going to be effectively caring for patients if you haven’t been taking care of your own needs. Counseling services can be expensive, but most health insurance plans cover them. If yours doesn’t or you don’t have health insurance, check in your area for discount programs and sliding scale fees.
Counseling services for Nursing Assistants is a vital key to staying compassionate and interested in your work. If you let the dark side of the profession consume you, then you will no longer be contributing to the well being of the patients you care for. Being a Nursing Assistant is a great opportunity to care for others and give something of yourself to society. However, it can’t be stressed enough that you must take the opportunity and time to properly meet your own needs. This is one of the biggest reasons so many people in the medical field suffer from burnout. They simply do not take their own needs into consideration at the level they should.