Stress Management for Nurses
Is your staff overworked? Do you find that your caretakers are constantly calling in sick? Are your patients becoming neglected? You may be facing a problem with caretaker satisfaction. These days, nurses are too often overworked, and this stress can have a major impact on the health of your caretakers, the culture of the workplace, and patient care. So let’s address that problem. Let’s take a look at various sources of stress in the field of nursing, and let’s identify some solutions.
Sources of Stress in the Nursing Field
No career path is free from stress, and the nursing field is no different. In fact, caretaking is infamously associated with high stress. This odd epidemic has resulted in difficulty hiring nurses, retaining nurses, and maintaining care quality. Here are some stressors that may be affecting your staff:
Long, Inflexible Hours
Nursing is notoriously demanding. Often, caretakers are required to work long shifts at odd hours of the day (or night). This inflexible, demanding schedule can wear at one’s energy levels and focus, and it can cause stress. We need to mitigate this issue to improve the health of our nurses while staving off the stress of their duties.
Due to the long, inflexible shifts we’ve just mentioned, nurses often neglect to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Caretakers are constantly caught not caring for themselves. Staff members may miss sleep, they may have a poor diet, and they may not exercise, all due to the demands of their place of work; that can cause stress, and it may result in illness! Healthcare facilities need to nourish a healthy work-life balance to ensure that caretakers care for themselves, as well as their patients.
Once again, the healthcare field is highly demanding. Nurses and physicians work closely with one another day-in and day-out to care for their patients. In these demanding, close quarters, it’s imperative to maintain a positive culture. When staff members are negative, they’re more likely to hinder the performance of others. Stress can build, multiply, and boil over. Poor culture is a problem best avoided.
The nursing field is unavoidably associated with illness and death. Caretakers are forced to address this negativity daily. We need to be mindful of the positive aspects of caretaking, as well as the inevitable negative aspects, to keep nursing staff from deriving stress from their day-to-day.
Let’s address these stressors one by one, and take a look at some of the solutions you can implement to reverse high stress levels amongst caretakers.
Take a fresh look at how your staff is scheduled. Are staff members working 12 hour shifts? Are nurses working straight through the night? Are caretakers working irregular, ever-changing hours? It’s time to make a change. Assess how you schedule your staff. If your employees are working too long, it’s time to add another caretaker to your team. Take time to ask your caretakers what schedule they’d like to have. Although you may not be able to provide the perfect schedule, you may be able to identify issues, address inefficiencies, optimize staff proceedings, and ultimately, reduce stress.
A Healthy Work-Life Balance
There’s a reason we’re called SelfCare for HealthCare™: Caring for yourself is essential for your health. Too often, caretakers are so busy caring for others they neglect to care for themselves. Caretaker managers need to promote a healthy work-life balance to ensure that nurses stay healthy, stress-free, and satisfied. Improve scheduling, provide access to various healthcare resources for your nurses (e.g. massage therapists, personal trainers, nutritionists), restrict on-call time, and practice other strategies to ensure that your nursing staff maintains a balance between work and home.
Staff culture is crucial for keeping stress at bay. If you have staff members that are showing signs of stress, it’s likely that other members are feeling the effects. Stress can compile exponentially, yet nurturing the right culture can mitigate or prevent stress among employees. Provide team-building exercises and events for your staff. Promote sharing and socializing amongst co-workers. Nurses often use one another to vent and let off steam, which is good!
Nursing is important. As caretakers, we help people. We heal. We provide. We care. It’s crucial not to forget the positivity that we bring to those who we help, even when illness and death underscore our work. We can work together to maintain positivity in the nursing field, in spite of some of the negativity that goes hand-in-hand with caretaking. Encourage staff members to be mindful of how they help people every day. Nurses provide a completely philanthropic service to people in our community; that’s important, and it’s important to remember.
Here at HealthCare for SelfCare, we strive to reduce stress for nurses, physicians, and other caretakers. We provide tools and resources, including motivational speaking and in-person visits with staff members, to ensure that your caretakers don’t just provide care, they’re also cared for. If you’re curious about our resources, and the HealthCare for SelfCare program, don’t hesitate to get in touch! We’re here to help!