How Self-Care Can Reduce Nurse Stress
Nurses endure a lot of stress. The long hours and demanding shifts can put a massive strain on their physical, mental, and emotional health.
Over the years, several studies have documented the impact of work-related stress; one study found that nurses experiencing excessive stress from work had double the risk for a heart attack, while another discovered that workers who put in more than 10 hours a day had a 60% higher risk for heart disease than those who worked a more standard 7 hours per day. Armed with that information, nurses are faced with a myriad of potential poor health outcomes.
Stress not only affects nurses’ well-being but can also impact their ability to provide the best, most compassionate care to their patients. Small acts of self-care can go a long way to help reduce nurse stress and prevent burnout. Here are a few easy tips any nurse can incorporate to mitigate stress and improve their overall physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
Exercise not only has physical, but also psychological benefits. When we exercise, our body releases endorphins, chemicals which interact with receptors in our brain and trigger positive feelings in the body.
But that doesn’t mean you have to get off the couch and start running marathons; there are many different exercises that can help reduce stress, like yoga. Whether it’s a challenging yoga class or a slower, relaxing flow, yoga utilizes movements that improve circulation and help calm your mind.
Yoga not your style? Even taking a walk around the block with a friend can help improve cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness as well as your mood. Whichever form of exercise you choose, it matters less how you move, and matters more than you do. Strive to hit 30 minutes of exercise a day, and you’ll be well on your way to seeing some positive health benefits.
Eat stress-relieving foods
Diet and nutrition play a large role in our ability to manage stress. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet (SAD – a fitting abbreviation) – characterized by high intakes of red meat, pre-packaged foods, fried foods, high-fat dairy products, refined grains, and sugar – has been identified as a major contributor of health issues, such as obesity, heart disease, and stress, in the US.
Focusing on incorporating nutrient-dense foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, fatty fish and lean proteins, and swapping out alcohol and caffeine in favor of water can go a long way to help reduce and manage stress. Not to mention, there are many other health benefits associated with healthy eating, like weight-management and improved cardiovascular health.
With busy schedules, it can be difficult for nurses to shop, prepare, and consume healthier foods; it can be much easier to fall back on pre-packaged, grab-and-go food. Instead of a complete diet overhaul, nurses should focus on incorporating fresh, unprocessed foods into their routine, and look for healthier on-the-go options for the busy days.
Reduce screen time
With new healthcare technologies emerging every day, nurses spend more time looking at a screen than ever before. While these technologies have been designed to improve patient care, they may actually be negatively impacting the professionals who look at them all day. Recent studies have found significant associations between screen time and moderate to severe depression in US adults.
When off the clock, nurses should reduce screen time to lessen the likelihood of eye strain, stress, anxiety, and depression. Enjoying time with family and friends, going outdoors, or reading a book are all fulfilling activities that avoid screens and can reduce nurse stress.
There’s no single right way to tackle stress, and there’s no perfect solution to prevent nursing burnout. Whether it’s a beginner’s yoga class, preparing a healthy meal, or spending a screen-free day with your loved ones, the most important aspect of embracing self-care is taking time for yourself. Thank you for caring for others – now it’s time to care of you!
IntelyCare was created by nurses, for nurses. We’re here to take care of those who take care of everyone else; our staffing solution gives nurses the opportunity for a better, more flexible schedule to help reduce nurse stress. At IntelyCare, we’re driven to offer nurses and CNAs healthcare’s best working experience. Apply today.
Flexibility to do what you love. IntelyCare Spotlights Pennsylvania Registered Nurse, Brandi Meyers.
We have a great team of IntelyPros across the US, and we’d like to start highlighting our IntelyPros who are the heart and soul of what we do. To kick off the series, we chatted with All-Star Registered Nurse Brandi Meyers of Pennsylvania, who loves the flexibility that IntelyCare gives her schedule. Brandi embodies everything we could want in an IntelyPro; she is hard-working, always on time, and she’s a great nurse that takes joy in helping others. We enjoyed getting to know her, and we hope you will, too!
Hi Brandi. Thanks for agreeing to participate in our IntelyPro Spotlight series. To start, can you tell us what made you decide to become a Registered Nurse?
Growing up, I always wanted to become a doctor. When I became a mother, I still knew I wanted to work in healthcare, and nursing seemed like the logical career that could support my family while working in a fulfilling field.
What do you love most about your nursing career?
I enjoy connecting with new people and helping them heal. I have a special affinity for geriatric patients in particular – they always have a story to tell, and they’re more than happy to share their wisdom with you.
What’s your favorite IntelyCare shift?
Weekend day shifts work the best with my schedule.
What do you enjoy most about working at IntelyCare?
I love having the flexibility to make my own schedule, and the variety of getting to work at different facilities. I like getting to know the patients and nurses at different facilities, but it’s also refreshing to mix it up. Because I get to work at different facilities, no day is ever quite the same!
What do you like to do outside of IntelyCare?
Anything outdoors! I love to ski, snowshoe, hike, bike and rock climb. I’m currently working on getting my belaying certification.
How does IntelyCare fit into your life?
Being able to customize my schedule is so important – the flexibility allows me to do all the outdoor activities that I enjoy so much. Because I work a flexible schedule with IntelyCare, I’m able to ski, hike, bike, and climb locally, as well as travel out of state.
Working for IntelyCare also gives me the opportunity to travel. I have been able to plan whitewater rafting trips in West Virginia and ski trips up north, all because I have the flexibility to not be locked into a typical 40 hour a week schedule.
What advice would you give to people who want to start working at IntelyCare?
It’s really the easiest process to apply. You complete your interview over the phone and upload all necessary documents online, instead of going into an office. It’s also so convenient how you can track your hours and pay, and pick up shifts, all from the app. Also, make sure your phone is charged so that you can easily check into shifts!
Brandi’s Fun Fact:
I’m 38, I have three kids, and I only learned to ski last year. If I can do it all, so can you!
IntelyCare provides you with the flexibility to choose when and where you work? Want to take control of your schedule? Apply today to start earning!
Nurses must care for patients 24 hours a day, yet no one works a 24-hour shift. In order to ensure the patient’s safety and promote excellent care, communication between shifts is of paramount importance. Yet few nurses learn how to give report in a manner that ensures the transfer of critical information. Here’s how to make your shift report complete, accurate and excellent.
Styles of Report
There are several different styles of nursing report. In one, the team leader or manager collects information from the nurses caring for a group of patients and gives a verbal report to the entire oncoming nursing team. In another, individual nurses report to the nurse who is following them on the next shift. Sometimes reports are taped and at other times they are live verbal reports. A final method of giving a report is the bedside report. This is usually given by the nurse going off shift to the oncoming nurse. Of all these methods, the least desirable is the taped report, as there is no opportunity to ask and answer questions. This is particularly true when the oncoming nurse has never cared for the patient before and knows nothing of his or her history. The bedside report, however, can be the best of the lot.
Key Components of Nursing Reports
No matter what style of report your organization uses, there are a number of key components that you should practice to ensure the information transfer is complete. They are:
- Preparation – collect all the relevant data and write it down; do not rely on your memory. Begin this step far enough in advance of the change of shift that you will not be hurried and miss something important. It is often a good idea to take notes for report as you go through the day.
- Presentation – One excellent way to give report is to present it in the form of a head-to-toe assessment. First, give a brief synopsis of the patient’s medical history and day’s events, including such important factors as surgery, diagnostic studies or changes from the previous shift. Next, cover the findings of your assessments and exams for all body systems. Give the current vital signs and any significant changes during the shift, important lab or diagnostic results, and intake and output. Do not rush through the information – speak clearly and concisely, without slang or jargon.
- Cover all issues – make sure you touch on the plan of care, any safety issues, upcoming procedures and patient or family education issues.
- Clarification – When you finish, pause to ask if there are any questions or if anything you said was unclear. Check that you have answered all questions by asking for confirmation.
Benefits of Bedside Reports
The practice of conducting report at the bedside has a number of benefits. First, both nurses have the opportunity to assess the patient and to see the same thing at the same time. Checking capillary refill, dressings or mental status together, for example, ensures that the oncoming nurse has actual experience to know whether the patient’s condition is changing later in the shift. Bedside rounds also help reassure the patient that the oncoming nurse is aware of any concerns and fully informed about the patient’s status. It offers an opportunity for patients and family members to meet a nurse who is new to them and to ask questions. For the oncoming nurse, bedside report helps with prioritizing the patient’s needs. Finally, there is good evidence to indicate that bedside report decreases falls. It also makes patients and family members feel more involved in care and decisions, promotes teamwork between nurses and shifts, and decreases the potential for errors.
No matter how good a nurse you are, if you can’t give a good report, you are letting your patients and team members down. The communication between shifts can either lead to errors and patient harm or ensure that information transmission protects the patient and improves care. The nurse who follows you may be from a temp agency, or may be returning after several days off. He or she may have never cared for your patient. It’s up to you to provide a complete, accurate picture to your colleague with an amazing report.
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. IntelyCare is a technological enhanced platform that was founded in 2016 and now has over over 3,000 IntelyPros (RN, LPN, and CNA employees) serving over 150 healthcare facilities throughout the northeastern 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.
Every year, around the time of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, the American Nurses Association recognizes and honors nurses across the country by celebrating National Nurses Week. This year’s theme was Inspire, Innovate, and Influence. As an employer of nurses and nursing assistants, IntelyCare was pleased to celebrate National Nurses Week and those on our team who inspire, innovate, and influence each and every day.
To establish our commitment to our team, IntelyCare was thrilled to introduce our first annual Intelygence Scholarship. This $1,000 award was designed to recognize an IntelyPro who is furthering their education in the field of nursing. After reviewing dozens of applications, we are pleased to announce the inaugural winner for this award:
The 2018 scholarship goes to Pennsylvania CNA, Claudeen Nkemakolam! Here are some excerpts from Claudeen’s submission:
“Being able to care for people in such a personal way is enormously gratifying—the way everyone should feel about their job. My job gives me an opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of others: helping individuals heal and feel better. My job provides a natural environment for me to showcase my attributes as a compassionate and caring person. My job allows me to grow and develop personally; It teaches me patience, tolerance and empathy.”
“It is not only important to find a job that you love to do, but, it is also important to find a good company to work for. IntelyCare is a great company! The app makes it so convenient to choose shifts. I love the flexibility the company offers. As an employee, I am given complete control of my work schedule. Also, I can keep track of my pay in real time. They value their employees.”
“The financial burden of going back to school is never an easy one, with rising cost of tuition and books. The money from this scholarship will be well spent. It will go towards tuition, books, and other school related expenses. I plan to use my skills and talent as a nurse in the highest capacity. Not only will I strive to become a model nurse, but I also dream of starting a non-profit organization.”
We are thrilled for the opportunity to recognize this fabulous IntelyPro!! Please join me in congratulating Claudeen on being our company’s first winner of this scholarship. Way to go Claudeen!!
Chris Caulfield RN, NP-C
Chief Nursing Officer and Co-Founder, IntelyCare