Everything you need to know about Neonatal Nurse burnout

When a person works, he or she is always prone to fatigue. In the case of neonatal nurses, it is much more the exhaustion they may have due to the demands of their profession.

This is not only due to the physical activities to which they are subjected, but also to the multitude of expectations and difficulties to which they are subjected on a daily basis. All this makes them feel exhausted little by little.

Nurses in neonatal Intensive Care Units are subjected to working all day long under certain stressful conditions, such as caring for premature babies with congenital diseases and added to the pressure of maintaining close contact with anxious parents even more.

Studies have shown that burnout in nurses and medical staff can somehow decrease the quality of care, which is why many clinical centers or hospitals are investing in programs to prevent this from happening.

What is considered burnout in a nurse?

Burnout in a nurse can be considered as the mental, physical and even emotional exhaustion that she may suffer, due to causes related to her work activity.

It can be due to long hours at work, work pressure and even emotional stress caused by the patients and family members under her care.

If the nurse experiences this on a constant basis, over time it can affect her from every point of view, and she may even feel affected and disconnected from reality.

If this affects her, it can lead to a series of harmful consequences that can negatively affect her work performance.

What can be the causes of burnout in Neonatal Nurses?

There are several studies carried out to know what are the causes that affect the exhaustion of workers, specifically the WHO calls it burnout (occupational phenomenon) which usually affects anyone who works under an environment of pressure and which can cause the affected person to suffer lack of sleep, irritability and other consequences.

We cannot move away from what concerns us, in this case, neonatal nurses, who are kept under intense stress, therefore, they have the possibility of suffering a greater exhaustion.

Another underlying cause of nurse burnout has to do with the relentless growth in the demand for nurses, considering that nurses currently working are on the verge of retirement.

Data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics assumes that job openings for nurses will grow by 12% in the 2020-2030 decade.

All of this tends to be favorable for all those who are studying and certainly aspire to get a position in a hospital, but, in the meantime, healthcare centers are understaffed, they have a surplus of work and of course the nurses who are working are exhausted due to the factors mentioned so far.

Lack of sleep and rest is a factor that causes all the exhaustion that a nurse may have, this happens due to the long hours of activity and the consecutive shifts to which they are consequently subjected.

It is important to note that the long hours that nurses dedicate to work is a conditioning factor for the damage they may suffer as the years go by.

Another factor causing burnout in neonatal nurses is associated with the little support they may have at work, i.e., the lack of awareness of the collaboration of some colleagues at work.

Consequences of Burnout in a Neonatal Nurse

A burned-out neonatal nurse can carry with it severe dangers to watch out for. Some of the consequences can be depression, neglect of their work as a nurse, poor quality of care for patients and families, in short, a whole series of dire consequences.

In the same way, it can affect patient safety, suffer infections and in most cases the death of the patient, due to a bad procedure.

What is the best way to prevent burnout?

The best way to avoid all the consequences mentioned above is through prevention. To do so, you can do the following:

  • Improve work schedules: You can reduce work schedules from 12 to 9 hours, in addition to avoiding overtime and thus avoid taking double shifts.
  • Take breaks: This implies taking mandatory vacations.
  • Seek support from organizations that provide help: there are support groups that can provide support to drain your anxieties, fears, anger, others, in short, whatever may be affecting you from the emotional point of view.


It is important to understand that no job is stress-free. The work activity to which a Neonatal Nurse is submerged in most cases is something that can definitely considerably affect the lives of patients, to whom special care must be taken and who must be given all the necessary support in order to improve their health.

It is necessary to resort to the various options that exist in reality to curb the exhaustion left by the work environment in neonatal nurses.

Marlene J. Shockley

My name is Marlene J. Shockley, and I am a Registered Nurse (RN). I have always been interested in helping people and Nursing seemed like the perfect career for me. After completing my Nursing Degree, I worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and home health care. I have also had the opportunity to work as a Travelling Nurse, which has allowed me to see different parts of the country and meet new people. No matter where I am working, I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families and helping them through whatever medical challenges they may be facing.