Nurse strike action – can you put a price on burnout?

Recently, the UK has been hit with a series of strikes. The healthcare sector, in particular, is in crisis as nurses and ambulance workers plan to stage a few more days of industrial action in the upcoming months. The costs of living are rising and workers’ efforts should be adequately compensated to reflect that. But even if the staff’s pay increases, it’s impossible to put a price on someone’s mental health. The nurse strike shows that many workers are suffering from burnout.

How much am I worth?

Employees are striking not just because they don’t get paid enough. They’re also expected to work long hours without having their efforts recognised. The healthcare, teaching and railway industry workers do an important job of keeping people safe and providing education and transport. However, instead of valuing them, many believe they should be devoted to their jobs and forget that they’re humans with lives outside work too. When expectations are too high a worker is at risk of becoming burnt out; the nurse strike is a chance for us to finally recognise the impact of work on our mental health.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of mental exhaustion. It can be caused by several different factors such as a heavy workload and poor work-life balance. Currently, working conditions in the healthcare industry aren’t up to a standard. Hospitals are understaffed and nurses have to work overtime with very few breaks.

Burnout is often seen as an advanced stage of prolonged stress. However, taking a break might not be enough to ease the symptoms. A person suffering from burnout might need burnout therapy to help them recover. If untreated, burnout can lead to depression, which is why it’s so important to prevent it. But what does the nurse strike teach us about work-life balance?

Finding work-life balance

Studies show that low job satisfaction and burnout are linked to a positive attitude towards strike action. It’s mainly an employer’s responsibility to make sure employees’ mental health doesn’t suffer because of work. Employers should protect their employees’ health by offering decent pay and support, providing growth prospects, setting clear goals and prioritising their well-being. Similarly, burnout can be prevented if a boss understands that rest is important. They can accommodate their staff’s lives outside of work by allowing flexible working hours and limiting overtime expectations.

Finding work-life balance is crucial as it can help prevent burnout. Unfortunately, not every organisation recognises that. Sometimes it’s up to an employee to make sure work doesn’t interfere with other areas of their lives. It’s possible to improve work-life balance by following these 3 tips:

  • Practising time management – It’s useful to find strategies that can help a person become more efficient at work. For example, time trackers and to-do lists.
  • Setting boundaries – Taking on too much work can make one feel overwhelmed and negatively affect their performance.
  • Prioritising rest – It’s important to recharge batteries. Not allowing rest in one’s schedule might result in burnout.

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