If you are just starting out in your career as a Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, you may be unprepared for the demanding nature of the work. CNAs face long workdays, and they are busy nearly every second. Because they care for patients who are often ill, injured, or disabled, they are often thrust into very stressful situations. Not surprisingly, many CNAs become burned out. According to the National Network of Career Nursing Assistants, only 28 percent remain CNAs after five years, and only 12.6 percent remain CNAs after 10 years. By learning how to avoid burnout now, you can increase your odds of enjoying a long, satisfying career.
8 Effective Tips for Avoiding Burnout as a CNA
Keep these tips in mind to ward off burnout as a CNA:
- Take Timeouts - Your employer should give you occasional breaks during your shift. Make the most of them by retreating to a quiet area where you won't be distracted by patients or others demanding your attention. Even if you only get 10 minutes, sit back, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and, if possible, meditate. You may even learn how to take power naps for a quick jolt of refreshment.
- Properly Manage Coworker Relations - At the first sign of trouble with a coworker, seek help from a supervisor. These kinds of things can spiral out of control in stressful environments and can burn out even the most diligent CNA in no time.
- Take Care of Yourself - When you're strong, healthy, and well-rested, you're less likely to get burned out. Get a full night's sleep, drink plenty of water, get at least a little exercise each day, and eat as healthily as possible.
- Manage Stress Effectively - Engage in effective stress management by not thinking about work after heading home for the day. Learn how to say no to people asking for help when you're too overburdened. Carve out plenty of "me time" for yourself throughout the week to recharge and rejuvenate yourself.
- Be Involved - Get the support you need to perform your job optimally by being actively involved with industry organizations like the National Association of Health Care Assistants. Your membership will open up great networking and continuing education opportunities.
- Delegate Duties - There's nothing shameful in asking for help when you need it. Don't try to be a hero by taking on too many responsibilities. When your plate is too full, turn to others for help. Of course, you should be willing to respond in kind when coworkers need assistance too.
- Be Organized - Nothing burns a CNA out more quickly than being unable to find what they need when they need it. Keep your workspace tidy and organized. Make sure you always have everything you need on hand. With proper organization, the odds of becoming burned out drop dramatically.
- Explore New Opportunities - Sometimes, burnout is really feeling like you're stuck in a rut. You may eventually outgrow your position as a CNA, so consider exploring advanced career and educational opportunities. Working toward a goal like becoming an RN can make your job as a CNA seem a lot more manageable.
By adopting the preceding habits, you will have a much easier time avoiding burnout as a CNA. Still, it's bound to happen from time to time. Be gentle with yourself when it does. The work of a CNA is tough, but rewarding, so it's worth it to push through the rough patches.