Between long hours, difficult patients, increasing workloads and staffing shortages, it’s no wonder that nurses struggle with on-the-job stress.
Stress less. Communicate more.
From death to difficult patients, it might feel like the only way to survive is by brushing your feelings aside. After all, you must keep it together for your patients…right? The answer is yes. However, bottling up all of your emotions is a recipe for disaster.
Improving the flow of communication with coworkers and supervisors is imperative for reducing stress day-to-day, hour-to-hour and patient-to-patient. We’re not talking about petty chit-chat. We’re talking about quick updates and fluid conversation that can be applied in passing. You should ALWAYS tell someone if you are feeling any of the following ways:
- Overwhelmed with your current patient count
- Conflicted over how to deal with a patient and/or family member
- Concerned with the well-being of a patient
- Distraught over the diagnosis or death of a patient
Control what you can. Forget what you cannot.
As a nurse, you’re always going to care, but you’re not always going to be able to control what happens at work. You don’t pick you patients nor can they always be cured. When it comes to caring for your patients, you must control what you can and forget what you cannot. Things you CANNOT control include:
- How rude, stubborn, disobedient or difficult a patient acts. However, you can control how you react.
- The amount of time a terminal patient is diagnosed to live. However, you can help comfort them.
- The insensitivity or absence of a patient’s family and/or friends. However, you can show them that you care.
Reverting back to the importance of communication, talking to your patients about more than just their illness is crucial. To better understand what you can control versus what you cannot, get to know your patients. Ask questions about their family, interests and life experiences. Most importantly, learn from them.
Keep it together. Stay organized.
Nothing increases stress like a mess. This is why keeping a clean, safe and organized work environment is absolutely vital, especially for nurses. After all, you are caring for people’s lives…it doesn’t get much more important than that. Practicing good organization reduces stress by:
- Improving your sense of self-control at work
- Boosting your self-esteem
- Bettering your relationships with physicians, nurses and supervisors…and even patients
Whether it’s your mess or not, clean it up. Other nurses may be watching you and get a burst of inspiration to do the same. You can give also yourself more time to get better organized by arriving to work early.
Stress less. Travel more.
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