There was a time I was burnt out. Well, that’s not exactly
true. There was a time that every three months I was burnt to the core. I
wanted to quit. I wanted to go to nursing school. Hell, I even put in an
application to Fed Ex.
there was one time that my burn out led to injuring a patient.
see, I was burning the candle from all ends. I was going through a terrible
separation with a woman who had two kids I cared for and adored. I was a supervisor
of a shift that was falling apart. I worked nights, went to school during the
day, and had to attend meetings in the mid afternoon (peak night shift sleep
turned into the medic who would blow up about too many gloves being on the
truck. Trash cans would fly across the bay floor after a mighty frustrated kick.
Mop handles would shatter on the side of the ambulance like I was swinging a
samurai sword. My off shift drinking was constant. My anger was out of control
and would occasionally come out on a patient. My refusal numbers were rising
and the end of the road was coming closer.
morning, my partner and I were called out to a patient complaining of abdominal
pain. Before the call even came in, we were in the mood that this patient was
going to be a refusal. We were both exhausted from outside life and had no
intention of transporting. We were a dangerous crew that had lost all interest
in their job. We wanted to be anywhere except on the ambulance.
arrived at the home of the patient and in all honesty, I barely remember the
call. I am sure I talked her out of going. I probably made her feel stupid for
calling 911. I probably took the anger of my personal life out on her.
only thing I remember was waking up in the afternoon to numerous missed calls
from members of our upper leadership. The patient ended up have a ruptured
appendix and was rushed to surgery after another crew, an hour after we left
the residence, did their job and transported the patient.
close to being fired. I was close to losing my license. I was having the
biggest wake up call in not only my career, but my life. I hurt someone. Yes. She
signed the refusal AMA form. But at what cost? And with how much encouragement?
to share my mistakes for others to learn from. Burn out is dangerous. Burn out
paper posted on Medium, the greatest cure for burn out is to regain the awe of
your job, or life.
this path to burn out is, as Aldous Huxley wrote, ‘a reducing valve’ of
awareness, it’s awe that helps to open us back up. Dacher Keltner, a professior
of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, has shown that awe is
tied directly to feeling of expansiveness, transcendence, and connection.”
I was working too much OT and my
personal life was falling apart. I had to make huge changes in my life, step
down from positions, say no to projects, and budget my spending so I could say
no to OT shifts. I stepped down as supervisor (surprisingly, I didn’t get
demoted) and transferred myself to a county known to be strict. I wanted to
remind myself why I not only got into the field, but to also get back to the
basics of patient care. I was not taking care of people and most of all, I was
not taking care of myself.
for the job came with helping people. Where did my love for care go? My
personal life was spiraling out of control and I was not feeding myself
creatively. My tank for the awe was ran dry.
doesn’t just shift the way we think, it changes our biology. According to a
2015 study in the journal Emotion, awe, more than any other positive feeling,
is linked to lower loves of a molecule called Interleukin-6, which is
associated with stress and inflammation.”
for the job came back when I chose to learn again. There is something to learn
every shift. You just have to look for it.
I haven’t taken the chance to learn about something, I enjoy creating hilarious
back stories for patient’s and their family. Everyone has a story.
allows me to see that ‘my’ world is tiny when compared to the actual world. I
feel more open and energetic, and less burnt out.”
It’s all about perspective and reminding myself why I got into the job in the first place. It’s the greatest way to help someone and it’s so damn interesting.
Check out the article; “The natural cure for burnout is profound and utter awe” by Brad Stulberg on the site Medium.
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