General Nursing, Labor & Delivery Nurse

Nurse Burnout Prevention

Labor and Delivery- April, 1982-11:30 p.m.

We only had one lady in labor tonight, so we all pulled out our various needle crafts and Theresa went and made a huge pan of popcorn for everyone.

POPCORN! Favorite labor & delivery snack.

The resident doctors and med student pulled up a chair also to chat for awhile. Anne and Susie like to do counted cross stitch and taught me how to do it, so I am working on a strawberry clock. I find it quite tedious on my eyes to count all the tiny stitches and use the right color thread according to the pattern, but I’m determined to finish it! Bonnie likes to crochet and volunteered to teach me how to do it after I finish my clock. It’s fun to feel creative in between patients and on breaks!

My 1983 Strawberry clock still hangs in my kitchen!
My 1983 Strawberry clock still hangs in my kitchen!

No matter how busy we get, Mary Lou, our assistant head nurse always makes sure everyone takes 30 minutes for lunch. She knows how essential it is to fuel our bodies and to take a break from the intense speed at which we sometimes have to work. I thank God that I can work with such a pleasant group of hard working nurses. Since I started last summer, they have been so kind to mentor and teach me. Most of them have many years of experience and absolutely love labor and delivery!

Reflection – 2015

I think job satisfaction was the highest among the labor and delivery nurses than any other group I ever worked with over the years. They all loved helping to bring babies into the world and found their needle crafts to be a good stress breaker and use of their time when we were slower.

Nursing is a high burnout profession since it tends to be very stressful mentally, emotionally, and physically. I searched online to see what other nurses were writing about preventing burnout, but none of them approached it from a Christian perspective, nor had they worked very long as nurses. It is purely by God’s strength and mercy that I have been able to work for 38 years as a nurse. So I decided to make my own list of how God has led me to cope with the stress of nursing.

1. I start my day with Bible study and prayer before I go to work. I ask God to teach me from His word and commit the day to Him, ask for His wisdom, and that I would be a good testimony for Him. I write down a Bible verse from my quiet time and put it in my lunch box to think about later on. Today my verse was Psalm 94:19 “In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Thy comforts delight my soul.”

2. I always eat breakfast before I go to work and pack my lunch. I try to eat whole unprocessed foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. The main cause of headaches at work is from dehydration.

3. Exercise. I do some stretches in the morning and ride the stationary bike and lift weights in the employee gym at work. It really helps to get rid of the kinks from sitting at the desk and boosts my energy. On weekends I walk outside or do an exercise DVD inside.

4. I love to learn new things totally unrelated to nursing. Art, music, and travel are my favorite ways to unwind. Last year I went to a weekend fiber arts retreat for Christian women. As we knitted and crocheted all weekend, I discovered that over half the women were nurses!

Knitting and crocheting are favorite stress breakers!
Knitting and crocheting are favorite stress breakers!

Over the years, I have taken oil painting, glass painting, cake decorating classes, mountain dulcimer, and violin lessons.

Monochromatic winter oil painting I did in class.
Monochromatic winter oil painting I did in class.
Painting on glass is fun!
Painting on glass is fun!
Cake decorating class.
Cake decorating class.

Last year, I began hosting a group of guitar, violin, and dulcimer players from church for a monthly night of playing hymns together which is great fun!

My mountain dulcimer is great fun!
Mountain dulcimer
Playing my violin and dulcimer are great stress busters.
Playing my violin and dulcimer are great stress busters.

Over the years, I’ve learned German, Chinese, Spanish, and a little Hebrew. I’m far from fluent, but it feels good to stretch my mind and comes in handy when I travel. Many times I have trouble finding someone to travel with me, so I was happy to discover Road Scholar a few years ago ( This is not a Christian organization, but they have interesting educational trips all over the world. Often the single supplement is not too exorbitant, so I get a private room, and enjoy meeting many new interesting people at mealtimes and during the educational activities. Usually, there are quite a few who are traveling alone like me.

4. I find it interesting and thought provoking to read biographies and about history. I discovered I can check out free books from my public library on my Kindle through the Overdrive app!

5. I buy myself fresh flowers a couple times a month, especially during the dreary New England winter.

Cheery primrose in the winter!
Cheery primrose in the winter!

6. To change it up, I drive home by a different route  and notice everything along the way. When the weather is nice, I stop at a park and take a walk before arriving home.

7. I LAUGH, SMILE, and SING praises to God as much as possible, because it always lifts my spirits. “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing.” Psalm 126:29.

8. I do deep breathing exercises with visualization of my favorite scene. I tend to hold my breath unconsciously when I become tense, so I put a little sign on the wall above my phone, “TAKE A DEEP BREATH, PAM!” It helps when a patient starts yelling at me for something over which I have no control.

9. Whenever I have been in a very stressful job situation, I ask the Lord to deliver me in His time and His way. Sometimes He does it by changing my attitude or the people around me, or He moves me to a different job. It is so wonderful to trust Him! “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” I Peter 5:7

10. I do something spur of the moment for the sheer fun of it!

11. I avoid negative people and gossipers.

12. When asked to do something extra, I ask God if He wants me to do it before I answer. I need to guard against spreading myself too thin and getting overly exhausted. “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16

I would love to hear about your stress breaker tips and how you prevent burnout. Email me at

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