Preventing Burnout as a Nurse Manager

Preventing Burnout as a Nurse Manager

The role of a nurse manager has become increasingly complex and stressful due to changing healthcare dynamics. Whether you’re currently a nurse manager or thinking of becoming one, the chances of burnout are high. We’ve compiled a few tips to preventing burnout as a nurse manager.  

Profound levels of stress exist within the practice of nursing management, and stress can manifest in two ways: eustress, which is known to enhance productivity and problem-solving, which serves to facilitate drive and project focus, or distress, which can lead to burnout. 

The most common environment prime for burnout is an environment high in stress due to low manager-peer engagement, lack of support systems, and increased requirements… 

“Zastocki asked a group of 188 nurse managers to comment about their jobs. Many of the comments provided were related to challenges encountered in the work environment. Many of the nurse managers felt disempowered, inadequate, and ignored, resulting in widespread feelings of dissatisfaction and intent to leave.”American Nurses Today
Decreasing Stress 

Rather than focusing on something personal and short term like providing self-care (also important). Facility-specific resources for managers focused on stress reduction have been known to improve unit functioning, enhanced outcomes, and aid in an overall increase in position satisfaction. Such resources include team meetings where the unit works with the nurse manager to ensure increased productivity.  

Self Change 

As with most things, the most significant changes you’ll be able to achieve will come from within yourself. Although it may be easy to blame burnout on others, take a step back, and consider the following things first before diving into the next ones. To prevent burnout, tackle each job one at a time. Change doesn’t happen overnight, especially if you try one thing or too many at once, and you’re frustrated when it doesn’t work. 

Most nurse managers move into the role directly from being an RN. You’re thrown into the wolves expecting to have a strong business background, the knowledge of a great leader, and the ability to delegate, disconnect, and empower. However, that’s more often than not, not the case. Great leaders in every industry know how to do the following to help prevent burnout. 

  • Structure Time
  • Disconnect 
  • Delegate 
  • Empower
Peer Engagement 

Peer engagement is vital. The age-old saying, teamwork makes the dream work rings true again. As a nurse manager, you have to remember you’re not only there to manage; you’re also there to build a team that works as efficiently and effectively as possible at all times. Use your team to help develop stronger sub-teams whenever possible. Additionally, such peer involvement also needs to stem from feeling a part of a family of something bigger and of an organizational structure that works in unity. ‘


An additional factor contributing to nurse manager turnover is the lack of support from leaders. For this reason, support from senior leaders to help nurse managers succeed are recommended to improve role satisfaction. Just like we covered above, teamwork makes the dream work, and it’s not just about the team you manage, it’s also about the team who leads you. 

Nurse managers are essential to success due to their impact on patient outcomes. Support for nurse managers is likely to improve along with nurse retention and satisfaction, which translates to improved patient outcomes. The outcome? Make sure to perform self-care, seek support, and peer engagement. 

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About the author

Ashley Carty

Ashley Carty is a seasoned medical professional with over 8 years of experience working at the top hospitals in Southern California, including Hoag, Saddleback Memorial, and UCSD.

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