The Importance of Self-Care for Nurses

When it comes to nursing, there are few people who consider the health and wellness of the nurse, including the nurse him or herself. Time on the job is spent caring for patients, keeping administrative concerns in line and diligently performing the tasks at hand. Since nursing shifts can not only be lengthy, but also emotionally, mentally and physically demanding, the chances of nursing burn-out are high. Combine that with an overall nursing shortage that extends the responsibilities and hours of a nurse and nurses may unintentionally provide less than the best care for patients. One of the best strategies for nurses is to take time for their own needs by implementing self-care strategies.

Since patient care can be affected by a nurse’s frame of mind, it is important for all concerned to consider the needs of a nurse. Nursing is not an “around the clock” job, but a portion of a day or week during which the nurse has other obligations, including family, friends, school, and sleep. Each of these are important aspects of anyone’s well-being, but for those who give to others on a regular basis need to be sure to include those aspects of life in order to remain focused and centered and able to receive from others. Above all, the ability to remain within one’s personal boundaries with others, whether patients or loved ones, can be a way for nurses to maintain under pressure and stress.

Education can even play a role in the self-care of a nurse. Those with a degree from a local college, university or online nursing program may be able to discover from currently employed nurses the different strategies used on the floor of a hospital, clinic or medical facility, or through counselors or nurse educators. Knowing the right foods to eat, or finding a way to take a break outside of the hospital or floor can do wonders for the nurse’s frame of mind. Above all, the most important aspect of self-care is for the nurse to find something that works to reduce stress and anxiety, and allows for a feeling of excitement when it comes to patient care.

Nursing burn-out can be a hard obstacle for nurses, patients and medical organizations. Since no two nurses are different, it is important to discover the self-care strategies that work best for each nurse, and encourage nurses to consider their own needs, in addition to the needs of the patients under their care.

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