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Dealing with burnout as an international healthcare professional in the U.S.
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Burnout tips for international healthcare professionals

  • Publish Date: Posted about 1 month ago
  • Author:by Conexus MedStaff

Burnout is a very real issue that many professionals, including registered nurses and medical technologists working in the U.S., have to overcome. In this article, Arty Puntus, a Conexus Wellness Ambassador and former international nursing student currently working with Conexus MedStaff in South Carolina, shares his top tips on how to deal with burnout.

What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion as a result of being constantly exposed to stressful circumstances. Stressors in your personal and private life can lead to burnout if they become too overwhelming. As a healthcare professional working potentially long hours in a high-paced, high-stress environment, you are subjected to factors that can have a negative impact on your well-being. Not getting enough rest, feeling emotionally drained, and unable to meet the demands of your job are just a few examples.

What are the symptoms?

While the symptoms of burnout can vary from person to person, common ones include:

  • Not feeling able to cope

  • Not being able to get enough sleep

  • Feeling constantly drained (physically, mentally and/or emotionally)

  • Feeling angry, irritable, or sad, often for no identifiable reason

  • Feeling detached or like you simply don’t care

  • Using alcohol or other substances to help ease symptoms

Burnout can also increase your likelihood of becoming sick, and has also been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Arty’s tips for handling burnout

Arty Puntus - Conexus registered U.S. nurse and former USA nursing student

Arty is no stranger to dealing with stress. “I try to excel in every aspect of life. I dealt with a lot of adversity on my journey, but it mostly helped me to become who I am today.” 

Originally from Minsk in Belarus, Arty moved to the U.S. when he was just 17 to study nursing. He joined Conexus as a nursing graduate on an F1 visa, and has since been nominated for a prestigious Daisy Award.

According to Arty, wellness is a “healthy body, mind, and spirit.” As a former professional ice hockey player, he strongly believes in pushing himself out of his comfort zone – which he states develops an ‘anything is achievable’ mindset and creates a skillset that helps to overcome adversity.

After speaking to his colleagues, he realized that many of them have been hit by burnout at some point in their lives. “Sometimes healthcare burnout can be related to multiple factors, such as high patient ratios or the long hours that we choose to work. When you add in immigration stress on top of that, it creates chaos in our lives.”

His first tip for handling burnout is to recognize the signs early on. “Sometimes we don’t get enough rest. Sometimes we have to deal with immigration stuff, and all the other factors we have to ensure in our everyday life.” His solution is to ease the stress at work by taking time off. “Let your manager know that you can’t pick up extra shifts. Getting away from all of the stimuli at work can help.”

Secondly, he uses distraction techniques, such as listening to music. “I like to listen to music that I really enjoy or watch a movie.” Music in particular has been linked to mental benefits. It is believed to release dopamine, decrease cortisol levels, and aid in relaxation and happiness.

Arty’s third tip for handling burnout is to maintain healthy relationships with family and friends. “I cannot stress enough how much my family and friends have helped me since I moved to the U.S. on my own when I was 17.” A strong support network, in your home country and in the United States, can help significantly. Read more about how to build a supportive community.

And finally, Arty believes in recognizing your achievements. Whenever he feels like he’s achieved something, he treats himself. “Whether it’s just a bag of chips or going to the movies or a restaurant, it can help tremendously.”

At the end of the day, Arty knows how stressful it can be working as a healthcare professional and tries to find happiness in the little things that help him to relax every single day. He aims to bring positive energy, philosophical thinking and effective methods for well-being to his role as Conexus Wellness Ambassador – and hopes to inspire his fellow healthcare professionals to live better. “Immigration is not easy, healthcare is not easy. I just want to praise you all and say that we’re here for you guys, and that I’m always willing to talk to you.”

Conexus encourages a healthy work-life balance for all of our healthcare professionals, which can help to mitigate burnout.

Find more articles related to well-being here.

Are you an international registered nurse or medical technologist looking to start a new career in the U.S.? Find out how we can help.