Burnout is a syndrome, recognised by the WHO. The symptoms include;
A feeling of exhaustion both mental and physical
Detachment from your job
Feelings of negativity or cynicism related to your job
Reduce professional efficacy
This is not a place that you want to be.
About 5 years ago I experienced burnout, I had been working towards my goal of being a Director of Nursing and I was well on the way. I was managing a turnover of 45M and over 300 employees but it was not as enjoyable as it once was. I didn’t know what was going on, but when I started having anxiety attacks I knew it was time for a change.
I took a job in Saudi Arabia, as a senior supervisor at a large hospital. The change of scenery was refreshing and the atmosphere was definitely an improvement on my experiences as a nurse in the Australian healthcare system. The expat community gathers around and supports each others and I was totally accepted and given space and time. I worked, did yoga and finished my Masters with a thesis on the impact of gender and cultural identity on leadership style.
After 12 months in Saudi Arabia, I was successful in getting a job in Antarctica. Completely out of the healthcare industry, I was going to be running a research station. 11 months in the icy, isolation of Antarctica. This was an amazing experience. I first began to understand what burnout was and what I had experienced those couple of years earlier.
Funnily enough it was tradies in Antarctica who taught me the value of a psychologically safe workplace. Now my passion is to make sure that nurses don’t experience burnout like I did.