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nurse burnout, compassion fatigue, renee thompson, rtconnections
I’ve been spending some time talking about nurse fatigue – how to prevent it and how to reverse it if you’re already burned out! In my previous blogs I shared a few powerful strategies you can start implementing TODAY. 
Today’s tip is to start connecting.

A study of 20,000 people found that people who felt disconnected from their managers/co-workers/patients were more likely to get sick, miss work or even suffer a heart attack!!!
Connection is the bond an individual experiences with another person, a group, or anything else that stirs feelings of attachment, joy, loyalty, excitement, inspiration, or comfort. When humans connect with each other, their limbic systems link sending out those feel good chemicals in our brains.
Think of yourself as a social lubricant – someone who sees patients and their co-workers for what they are….humans by birth. A lubricant reduces friction between surfaces and creates stability among parts.That’s what nurses do all of the time!!! Nurses are the lubricants or the glue that keeps it all together. When you see yourself in this way – a social lubricant – it helps to create positive feelings about your role, which can then keep the nasty fatigue villains at bay.
How do you connect?
It’s simple. Try the following strategies:
Smile. When you meet a patient, family member or other member of the health care team for the first time, smile and look the person in the eye. Why? Smiling links your limbic systems creating a bond.
Say a person’s name as often as you can. For example, when working with a new nurse, say her name. “Hi Tina. It’s nice to work with you today.”  And then later on. “Tina. Do you need any help?”…and later…”Tina. What do you think about..” The key is to keep saying her name over and over again (without getting too crazy!!). Why? When you repeat someone’s name, they feel connected to you in a positive way.
Ask questions that show an interest. I always ask patients questions about where they’re from, what’s their favorite food and what work they’ve done in their life. Why? Because it makes them feel like I am interested in them and in the process, I am connecting with them.
What the heck does all of this have to do with nurse fatigue? A lot. By focusing on connecting with other people, you tap into your brain’s innate desire to bond with other humans. This bonding taps into the feel good chemicals in your brain, leading to positive feelings. Thereby, resulting in less nurse fatigue.
Nurse fatigue is not inevitable…there are some actions you can take to prevent and even reverse feelings of burnout. You deserve to feel good about the work you do!!! But feeling good requires a deliberate attempt to do the things we know work!!
Start connecting today!
Thanks so much for reading. Take care and stay connected.
For more great tips, make sure you “like” me on Facebook,”follow” me on Twitter and YouTube and subscribe to my blog. Also, check out my new book on nurse-to-nurse bullying and my new eBook titled, Survive and Thrive: A guide helping new nurses succeed! 

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  1. Renee,
    I find that asking questions is productive on so many levels. When I ask a question, I usually get more than I thought I would hear. Which then allows me to really know what is going on with the person and connect with them on an even deeper level. Asking questions and letting people speak does my work for me! Great post!!

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