June 19, 2010

How you Cope As a Nurse Determines How Long you Last

Posted in Nursing Career tagged , , , , at 3:32 am by Nursing Tales Team

As a nurse, your job is not fun and games.  Sometimes you will deal with difficult situations that don’t go your way.  Sometimes you will deal with out and out tragedy in the lives of your patience.  Here’s the truth:  a nurse who is personally emotionally attached to the outcome of the patient is the nurse who will be looking for another line of work in a few years.

If you love your job and want to stick with it for the long haul, then you must…I repeat, MUST, find ways to cope with the inevitable setbacks that will come to your patients at some point in time.

Does this mean that you learn to not care?  Of course not, caring is one of your highest job responsibilities!  You must care about your patients and show compassion for them.  Again, if you stop caring, you may as well go and look for another job right now.

To deal with this type of stress, what a nurse must learn to do is detach from the outcome of the patient.  This allows you to care and become as emotionally involved with the patient as necessary; while remembering that having given your best nursing skills you have very little control over how the patient comes out on the other side of their illness or injury.  When you realize that you have no control, you can understand that the outcome has nothing to do with you.  This understanding can help you maintain your level of care; while not breaking down should you not get the outcome you expect.  The patient and their family will rely on you for strength and support.  You are in the unique situation of both grieving with and supporting this family; and you can do it with grace when you remove your expectations for a happy ending.

Stress for a nurse can come from a wide array of factors.  Understaffing, contract negotiations, role ambiguity and exposure to infected patients are all aspects of the job that concern nurses.  These are the big issues; but stress can also be caused by everyday occurrences such as shift work.  Nurses who work the night shift may find a struggle with the way their body reacts to being up all night. Even when you get adequate sleep during the day, your body is made to sleep during the nocturnal hours and may reject day sleeping for awhile.

To last a long time in your nursing profession, it is important that you learn more about yourself.  There are ample suggestions on every website and in magazines to help you manage stress; but you are the person who knows your mind and body the best.  So it is up to you to try out available resources.  See how it feels to create a ritual of soaking in the tub after a long shift, or getting a weekly pedicure to relieve tired feet.

The thoughts that you think bring about the feelings that you experience.  In order to feel better at work and in life, you’ve got to think thoughts that make you feel better.  This comes through relaxation, meditation and prayer.  Find what works for you and stick with it.

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