Opposite of Burnout is Engagement

Submitted by Catherine Stevens RN, BSN

Tags: burnout career engagement working nurse

Opposite of Burnout is Engagement

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Burnout is a word many public servants become familiar with at one point in their career, especially nurses. Most nurses experience burnout at one point. How it is dealt with spans choices of career changes/moves, or possibly lifestyle, and health habits.

I have personally been faced with burnout on more than one occasion, and have made career moves as a result of burnout. While I have considered ways to prevent burnout, I have never considered what was on the other side of burnout, engagement. When the world was faced with a pandemic, nurses became a beacon to the war on COVID. Many health care heroes heard the calling and stepped up to the plate and walked into the unknown world of COVID. As staff shortages increased, patient acuity seemed to increase, the demands of nurses just kept coming.

Many more nurses faced burnout. At the time I held a position in nursing quality and performance improvement, I grew a new appreciation for bedside nursing. I too, also grew weary behind a computer screen and at a desk, as I began to assess my nursing career in a new light.

After 5 years of being away from the bedside, I made the decision to return to bedside nursing in a small community hospital as a staff nurse. All over again, I felt excited and eager to serve my patients and community. I felt engaged in a way I had never felt, after been a nurse for 18 years. I have taken on many education opportunities, served as a preceptor and assisted in charge nurse relief roles.

I am excited to encounter the many roles of my bedside job, and am continually looking for ways to grow in my current role. I feel engaged. While I know every season of my career has its time limit, I am thankful for the silver lining that a pandemic brought this nurse that has faced burnout more than once, and it now truly engaged.