Nursing is a stressful profession due to consistently being exposed to trauma and pain. But an inability to manage stress can be very costly for the nurses. It can result in tiredness, anxiety, medical errors, and failure to exercise due diligence, leading to a higher mortality rate for the patients.
Despite the significance of this profession for the healthcare industry, stress and burnout in nurses have not garnered much attention.
Burnout, characterized by low morale, lack of self-confidence, loss of interest, and reduced work quality, is one of the main reasons causing nurses to quit this profession.
A recent survey conducted in 2022 states that 44% of the participating nurses expressed about quitting the profession due to burnout.
Nurses leaving this profession which is already facing an acute shortage of qualified staff must ring alarm bells. Overworked nurses can impact the quality of care offered to the patients. Therefore, there must be something to help nurses get rid of burnout and improve their health and wellbeing.
Luckily, there is a lot that nurses can do to take care of themselves. Read on to learn about it.
Engage in continuous learning
Nurses hold a very responsible position. Hence, their job requires them to engage in continuous learning activities, including attending seminars, conferences, and higher degree programs.
The more educated and accomplished you are, the more confident you feel about your abilities, making fewer medical errors.
You can enroll in clinical and administrative programs, though the latter is becoming more popular.
But, if you complain about not finding time to enroll in an on-campus program, don’t worry. You can get into a BSN or MSN in Nursing Admin Online degree program and upgrade your skills. Having better skills than your peers boosts your self-confidence and provides better job opportunities.
Due to continuous learning activities, new doors opening to you can effectively improve your health and well-being.
Leave your work behind when leaving for home
One of the most challenging things for nurses is to leave their work behind when they go home. You might want to check up on your patients but fight your urge. You have already done your part; now it is time for someone else to take your seat and do their job.
Even if you want to take care of your patients all the time, you cannot do so. Not only is it impossible, but it impacts your well-being too. Besides, it is time to think about your health, well-being, and family after coming home.
Once home, your time should be dedicated to yourself and your family. You need to switch from the nurse mode and transition into your personal time mode.
Do whatever you like to do; watch a few episodes of your favorite show, read a book with a cup of coffee, go shopping, or cook your favorite meal.
Doing what you like to do makes you happy and releases the tension that builds up in your mind due to strenuous and hectic work.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet plays an important role in maintaining your health and wellbeing. A healthy diet includes staying away from processed, fast, and fatty food. These foods can cause obesity— a breeding ground for many illnesses, including cancer.
Even if it seems easier to munch on unhealthy sandwiches and sugary snacks, control the temptation and take out time to have proper meals during your shift.
It is common for nurses to skip their meals, but they never realize how dangerous it is for their bodies. Not having a proper breakfast is synonymous with putting the wrong foot out.
People who regularly skip their breakfast feel more cravings for sugary snacks and unhealthy food. These foods give a quick bout of energy but, in the long run, make you addicted to unhealthy food, and this vicious cycle continues.
Skipping meals makes you irritable, fatigued, nauseated, and confused. You cannot concentrate on your work and make more errors.
To avoid all this and to maintain their health and wellbeing, nurses must be careful about their eating habits and how it affects their body and performance at work.
Have some downtime on your phone
It is not surprising to note that we spend too much time on our phones. The average time people spend on their phones is three hours and fifteen minutes.
While there is no harm in scrolling your social media pages a few times, spending hours looking at your smartphone screens can be detrimental to your health.
It impacts your posture and eyesight, but it can cause wrist pain too.
Continuously staring at your cellphone’s screens impacts your sleep routine by disrupting melatonin production and impacts the circadian rhythm of your life.
Lack of sleep can also disrupt your performance by reducing concentration and impacting your cognitive functions. Therefore, it is important to give yourself some downtime on cell phone use, sleep at the right time, and rest properly.
Moreover, you need to look for healthy habits such as reading your favorite book, indulging in cooking, arts, etc., to unwind and fight cellphone-induced stress completely.
You would be surprised to know how good you feel when you no longer depend on digital devices for distraction.
Ask for help when work becomes overwhelming
Nurses feel burdened under work pressure. Long hours of work and continuous interaction with wailing patients and families can cause compassion fatigue.
You may also feel a strain of high performance expected of you. All this stress can derail your health and well-being. Therefore, if you think work has become too overwhelming and difficult to manage, there is no harm in asking for help.
Asking your manager or fellow nurses to help you out in your work is not wrong. Remember, your colleagues have probably been through your situation; they will likely understand your predicament.
They will empathize with your situation too. At home, you can find solace in the company of your friends and family, take part in therapies and connect with a counselor.
You can also find peace in spirituality to truly understand how inspiring your work is.
The job of a nurse is very tough. Hence, they need to maintain their health and well-being to better serve their patients and improve their own quality of life.
Finding healthy activities, giving yourself some time, having proper meals at the right time, and resting are ways to take care of your wellbeing.