Website spotlight: Delegation prevents nurse manager burnout

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, August 27, 2010

Nurse managers are often promoted without enough training or support, which leads to burnout. There are many ways senior leadership can support nurse managers. One of them is to encourage vacation time.

It's easy to say take a vacation, but harder to do, and many nurse managers feel they can't take time away. If they do, they are constantly in touch with the unit, answering emails and calls at all hours.

Last week, I polled a nurse manager audience to ask them about the best way to beat burnout. More than 60% responded "take a vacation." The next highest response was attend a professional development conference, and it's heartening to hear that focusing on their professional development rejuvenates them.

While they know in theory that it's beneficial to take time off, in practice they are hindered by the fear of what will happen while they are gone.

I spoke with Shelley Cohen, president of Health Resources Unlimited, who teaches new nurse manager survival skills. She says nurse managers often feel things will fall apart if they are not there, especially if they are inexperienced.

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