Why write a book about nursing in relation to stress, fatigue, and burn-out? Experience—honestly, some has been good and some not so good. The author and the contributors have over 100 years of collective practice experience. The truth needs to be told—the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly. Overall, would each of the writers in this book choose nursing all over again? Absolutely!
Nursing is a fabulous career choice—it offers diversity, flexibility, entrepreneurism, innovation, a true sense of satisfaction, and a nice lifestyle. Nurses are generally people who exhibit traits of caring, nurturing, and altruism. They are good people to be around. Although the writers’ journeys have been diverse, their reasons for becoming a nurse are very similar—to help others. Today, they each serve in different roles: One is a consultant, one is an educator, one is a nurse leader, and one is a project manager. They work in assorted environments, but their mission is still the same—to help others.
The good thing is helping others never gets old. What does wear on a nurse’s psyche is the environment. Adverse stimuli can be both internal and external: regulatory and policy changes, leadership influences, operational initiatives, industry mandates, customer expectations, publicly reported data, quality metrics, colleague relationships, and
the list goes on. This book explores those influences and discusses how those influences affect stress, fatigue, and burnout. The most important offerings from this book (the “Practice Pearls”) are suggested strategies for fresh thinking, ways to harness and manage overwhelming stress (to prevent reaching burnout), and ways to set new priorities to care for yourself.
Nurses need to be encouraged to prioritize self-care and recovery time to promote their own health and well-being. Both the brain and body need downtime for optimal performance. Stress and fatigue affect safety and quality; we can no longer push ourselves to the brink. We need “renewable” energy to be at our personal and professional best; we need to be mindful and think intentionally; and we need to perform with the best interest of ourselves as well as others.