Work-Fatigue SyndromeEverybody gets tired from work especially after a very tiring day. The endurance of the body is only limited to a certain number of hours until the energy levels wear down and the body feels the effects of work. Persons who work and deal with emergency and life-threatening situations are much prone to suffer from the work-related fatigue compared to those who are employed in regular work environments. As an example, healthcare professionals are cited to have an increased risk of work-related hazard and can experience work-fatigue syndrome as much as soldiers in the battlefield. Unlike doctors and other ancillary staff, nurses stay with the patients and their families most of the time. This condition alone already places the nurse in a stressful situation due to the many tasks that they need to implement to the patient. Studies revealed that nurses who are exposed extensive work-related stress can suffer from burnout and psychological imbalance (Smith-Miller, Shaw-Kokot, Curro, & Jones, 2014). These effects on the nurse can lead to some further serious complications such as compromising patient safety secondary to errors in nursing care practice, medication safety administration, documentation errors, and even interpersonal relationship of the nurse with other members of the healthcare team (Martin, 2015). As such, there are also many research on how to help nurses lessen the burden of their clinical work and focus more on the self first before taking care of others.
It’s Not Being SelfishYou cannot give what you do not have. This old time saying proves everything about nursing and other service-oriented profession. One must remember that to be effective and successful in your chosen career, you must entail enough preparations – intellectually, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Failure to do so can lead to being unprepared and can compromise your skills and performance in doing your job. Taking care of oneself first is not selfishness. In fact, this just proves that you value your work more and by doing the necessary self-care allows you to offer more of yourself. The following strategies can help in minimizing stress on the job and helps with taking of yourself both in mind and body.
Apply The Nursing ProcessNursing process is not only for patients. You can also utilize this approach in solving your self-care deficit problems. The first thing that should be done is to conduct a thorough assessment of yourself:
- Do you always feel tired? Are you having more tired days now compared to your previous experiences?
- Are you gaining or losing weight?
- Do you have trouble in sleeping?
- Are you committing mistakes on the job?
- Are you feeling inadequate in your present work?
- Do you encounter personal or work-related confrontations?
- Do you have more time in work than spending personal time?
- Are you always not present in family and friends’ celebrations?
- Do you feel stagnant in your present job?
- When was the last time you have taken a long vacation?
Helpful StrategiesPhysical Dimension. In this aspect, the focus would be your eating and sleeping habits as well as physical strength and endurance. Incorporate healthy meals into your daily food intake. Don’t rely much on the vending machine for your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Get enough rest before your shift starts. A 2-hour sleep before your work-schedule can boost one’s energy. Power naps are also proven ways to restore energy, but you need to check the policy of the administration if they allow short time breaks for sleeping while on the job. You don’t need to enroll in an exclusive gym to get enough exercise. You can apply simple exercise regimen even while at work. Park your car far from the employee’s entrance to give you ample time to walk. If your workplace is just near to your place, it is better to walk than commute. Psychological Dimension. Mental clarity is achieved if the senses and brain functioning are well-rested. Experts recommend exploring a hobby or engage oneself in travel and adventure. Our five senses need a break from the routinely activities. Travel to new places and discover wonderful sights, taste new dishes, indulge in long massages, and bask in many variations of aromatherapy.
Final WordsThere are many other ways that nurses can help themselves in attaining physical and mental wellness to help them with their work and prevent from succumbing in work fatigue syndrome. All it takes is the commitment and determination to partake in self-care routines and get connected with the outside world other than work alone. References: Martin, C. J. (2015). The effects of nurse staffing on quality of care. MedSurg Nursing, 24(2), S4-S4. Smith-Miller, C. A., Shaw-Kokot, J., Curro, B., & Jones, C. B. (2014). An integrative review: fatigue among nurses in acute care settings. Journal of Nursing Administration, 44(9), 487-494.
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.