As a nurse or CNA, your job is pretty tough. But it’s incredibly rewarding, too, and it’s likely you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else – it is your calling, after all.
Nurses have a unique ability to heal both the mind and the body, giving the patients in their care the benefit of their empathy and compassion when it really counts.
But after week upon week of overtime shifts in high-stress conditions, it’s easy to see how burnout can set in. Even the most dedicated nurses can reach their breaking point.
Nurse burnout is real but preventable
If stress levels remain high, you may have the urge to leave your job or leave nursing entirely in favor of something a little less demanding. If you’re exhausted, irritable, and not thinking clearly, you’re not going to be 100% there for your patients, either.
Bottom line: you need to commit to practicing a little self-care – both so you can shed the stresses of the job, and so you can show up for those in your care.
The good news is, it’s not that difficult. But you do need to be diligent, consistent, and committed to it. Make a promise to yourself, and your patients and colleagues will benefit from it also.
Here are some tips to help nurses and CNAs manage stress effectively:
1. Eat good food
There’s a saying that goes something like “you can’t nourish others unless you yourself have been nourished”, and it’s true. Your brain and your body need nutrients in order to work properly. Buy organic fruits and vegetables, and treat yourself to some indulgences every once in a while – it’s good for your soul, which is, in turn, good for your patients.
2. Seek out pleasurable activities
Do you like music? How about live theater? Horseback riding? Do you have friends who make you smile? Make a point of spending time doing these things and connecting with people you love. It will make your working hours much more satisfying if you can truly get yourself as far out of work mode as possible.
3. Take up yoga
If you have never experienced yoga, sign up for some beginners Hatha yoga classes to get started. Yoga is a total mind and body experience, and it will help you find a peaceful place within yourself where you can rejuvenate, de-stress, and refresh. It’s also an excellent way to build strength and inner peace – something all nurses and CNAs need!
4. Practice mindfulness
One of the most difficult things for most nurses to do is detach from the emotional trauma they go through on a daily basis. Mindful meditation can help take your mind out of the job and replace these stressful emotions with peace and calm. Mindfulness can be practiced while sitting quietly with your eyes closed and listening to the sounds around you while walking, eating, or doing any activity.
5. Find the clinical environment that’s right for you
You may love your job, but it could be that the clinic or hospital you are working in just doesn’t have the right culture for you to thrive in. A company culture is the sum total of the way the entire team works together as a whole. Do you feel supported? Is there a person you can go to if things get difficult? Is there good communication between staff members, doctors, and administrators? If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, you might want to think about finding another job, because chances are the situation isn’t going to change anytime soon.
Sign up for IntelyCare and work on your terms
IntelyCare offers professional nurses and CNAs like you real options, with per diem and temporary opportunities based on your geographical preferences, shift preferences, and your specialties. It’s easy to get started, and you could start working and get paid as soon as 48 hours after your application is accepted. Register for your account today, and start working your way.
Chris Caulfield (RN, NP-C), is the Co-founder and Chief Nursing Officer of Intelycare which the fastest growing Per-Diem Nurse Staffing organization in the US.
Prior to founding IntelyCare, Chris’ past Healthcare experience includes Long Term Care Nursing, Nursing Informatics, Labor Relations, Case Management, and a Urgent Care Nurse Practitioner.