Aim: To highlight the need to integrate self-care as a strategy that may reduce nursing burnout, foster a positive work culture, and build resilience.
Background: Nursing burnout is a national health crisis recognized by the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control, Joint Commission, and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) revision. An estimated 35% - 54% of U.S. nurses and physicians have substantial symptoms of burnout. Approximately 15% of nurses are unengaged in their careers; 41% of these unengaged nurses experience burnout. The demand for engaged nurses will continue to grow as healthcare becomes more complex. Healthcare workers need to feel supported and appreciated by organizations and leaders.
Methodology: A literature article search was conducted in multiple relevant electronic databases including CINAHL, MEDLINE, ERIC, PsycINFO, SocINDEX, Academic Search, and more. The search began using the phrases: “nurse burnout,” “self-care for nurses,” and “nursing resilience.” These phrases were combined with additional keywords: strategies, self-care, mindfulness, professional stress, perception, skills to cope, patient outcomes, quality, and safety. In these early searches, relevant articles were identified and marked for later consideration. Terms and headings present in these relevant articles were used in the construction of the following Boolean search phrase (Nurse OR nurses OR “nursing staff” OR “nursing personnel”) AND (“self-care” OR “self-care”) AND (burnout OR "compassion fatigue" OR “burn* out” OR “professional exhaustion” OR “emotional exhaustion” OR “occupational stress”).
This final search generated 1754 results. After applying publication date limits for 2017 to 2022, limiting results to only those from peer-reviewed journals and published in the English language, the search yielded 663 results. Automatic deduplication of results then yielded a final 403 articles. These results were then reviewed at the title level. Abstracts were reviewed for articles where the content was difficult to determine based solely on the title. From these articles, 30 were selected for full-text review and inclusion in the analysis.
Findings: Burnout is detrimental to healthcare organizations, patients, and staff. Implementation of coping strategies that cultivate a positive work culture, foster professionalism and teamwork, and increase healthcare quality is imperative. Healthcare professionals and leaders must understand burnout and identify opportunities to assist the team. Self-care strategies are needed to sustain the nurse profession and provide safe care for patients and working conditions for our staff.
Recommendations: It is recommended that the implementation of self-care strategies is needed to help protect nurses from the undesirable effects of workplace stress and burnout. Resilience-building techniques such as self-care, mindfulness, self-awareness, a positive work culture, and leadership support.