Nurses Driven By Desire to Help Others Might Be More Apt to Burn Out

A new study suggests that nurses motivated by altruism experience more stress. 

Nurses who are primarily motivated by a desire to help others, rather than by enjoyment of the work or the lifestyle, are more likely to burn out on the job, according to a new study. Researchers also found that nurses who pursued their career for other reasons found the job less stressful, more satisfying, and were better able to interact personally with patients.

When Mindful spoke with Bronnie Ware, nurse and author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, she said it was meditation that allowed her to overcome burn out and return to the job.

“I looked after dying people for eight years, I ended up burning out because I wasn’t looking after me,” says Ware.

Ware says her mindfulness practice allowed her to take time for herself, and in turn, better help her patients:

I learned through meditation that compassion starts with yourself. It was my biggest lesson: self-love, to be gentle with myself. I was suicidally depressed. I couldn’t have survived without meditation. It just taught me to celebrate my vulnerability and my humanness, and to realize how much was not about me. We all get conditioning…