Feeling Overwhelmed at Work? Do this.
Updated: Jun 7
Unfinished charts, prescription refill requests, abnormal labs, and a line of patients waiting to be seen. Sound familiar? Unfortunately this is the reality for thousands of NPs across the nation. The complexities of the healthcare system coupled with the challenges of direct patient care can sometimes be overwhelming.
I once had a job that I started early in the morning, and even before I got to work there was a line of patients outside the door waiting to be seen. From the moment I got to work until the end of the day, it was non-stop. I burned out quickly, and my experiences have helped shaped how much stress I will tolerate now. I now realize that working in healthcare doesn't have to be this way. It is possible to provide quality patient care in an environment that is not stressful or chaotic.
If your'e in a similar position, not all hope is lost, because if you implement my suggestions below, chances are you will be less overwhelmed, and hopefully begin to enjoy what you do again.
Talk to your boss. If you're bogged down by too many patient visits, charting and paperwork, and numerous tasks, let your boss know. They can't help you if they don't know there is a problem. I suggest you also take a solution or two to them about how this can be improved. Some of these solutions include longer patient visits, more admin time, and perhaps additional support staff to help you with your tasks. You may not get everything you need, but you'll never know if you don't ask.
Take time off. Sometimes taking a day or two off from work to decompress is all we need to reset and feel grounded. From a long weekend to a week-long vacation, taking time off will help you to feel rejuvenated. So use that PTO!
Practice self-care. I've said it before and I'll say it again, take care of yourself!! Whether that means a massage or a dinner date with a loved one, it's crucial that you take care of yourself. This will help you to avoid burnout and also help you take better care of your patients.
Consider other job options. Sometimes the best option for you is to look for another place of employment. If you've tried everything in your power to create a better balance at work, and your supervisor does not support you, it may be time to find a new job. I've found that having a supportive management team can make all the difference in my stress levels at work. If you're currently looking for work, make sure you feel supported in your new job. If not, chances are that you never will.
Stay connected with your NP friends. When you're feeling overwhelmed sometimes a call or a laugh with an NP friend can be just what you need to feel better. They know what you're going through, and can remind you to be a bit more light-hearted and to not take everything so seriously. They're in the trenches with you and sometimes are they only people who can understand what your daily life is truly life. I'm so grateful to my NP friends!
Look, being an NP is tough, but we joined the profession to help others, so remember that when things get tough. You ARE making a difference. Keep being that fabulous rockstar NP!