Helping Nurses "Live Smarter Not Harder" by Balancing the Mind, Body, Soul and Spirit

Archive for January, 2011

Nurses, Stress and Snow?

January 2011 may go down in the history books for New Yorkers as the snowiest January ever.  As nurses, this snowy month has created a lot of stress in our lives.  When the snow storms hit we met the challenge like the other life saving professions out there i.e. our fire fighters, EMS and police. 
Many nurses slept in hospitals and nursing homes for days manning extra shifts until help  arrived.  Homecare nurses walked through snow drifts or drove as close as they could get to a patients’ home and then walked to provide care.   Some worked from home calling patients and their families to make sure they were okay.  Emergency room nurses saw an increase in their census as people who had no support at home or homeless come in from the cold snow. 
How do we relieve the stress from these snowy episodes?  One way is to make sure you give yourself a pat on the back. Toot your own horn!  Let your friends and families know what you did.  Nurses do not do this enough! Some would look at this as bragging.  It is not! Do you wonder why the general public doesn’t think that nurses DO anything! 
As WE learn to really appreciate the the work we do, we receive the blessing from the sacrifice that we unselfishly make on behalf of our patients.  Appreciation is a great stress reliever believe it or not. The fact that we CAN give to others should be appreciated by us FIRST!  Don’t wait for someone else (your boss, friends or family) to do for you what you can do for yourself!  Hold your head high! You are worthy to be APPRECIATED and live a life that’s STRESS FREE!
NURSES ARE THE BEST!!!  Read a short article on Appreciation and stress.  http://5minutestressrelief.net/FMSR%20PDF%20Files/Appreciation%20Reduces%20Stress.pdf

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Too much documentation in nursing?

Talking to a fellow nurse today discussing how much documentation nurses must do to justify that standards of practice are met.  The mantra we are taught right from nursing school is “If you didn’t document it ; it wasn’t done”  We have been led to believe this in our educational, tracks, our jobs and governing organizations like CMS.  Even our own nursing organizations have us believing that we need to document every response to “everything” to prove that we are practicing our craft appropriately. A lot of nurses feel they are documenting more than providing care.  Some areas of nursing are not experiencing this pressure.  How about you?  Where do you stand on the issue?  Is there too much documentation being done?  Is it all necessary?

Stress

Our jobs as nurses lead to a lot of stress.    Stress affects our emotions which affects how we learn and behave.   We think we manage it well because we get the job done. (and well I might add). But what do we do with those emotions?  Most times we turn them inward.   If we can’t learn about ourselves and our staff, (due to stress)  we can’t move ahead.   If we can’t move ahead we will not feel a sense of accomplishment or fulfillment.  Without those feelings we get burnt out.  Burnout is well-known to lead to an increase medical errors affecting our patients and also  it leads to health issues for nurses, apathy and irritation with each other.  If we do not learn how to handle stress, we nurses, as a profession are in deep trouble. 

We need to take charge of our lives!  We need to recognize and deal with stress.   Excercise, yoga and  meditation are some well-known ways to decrease stress.  I like to travel and read to relieve stress in my life.  If you want to live a more peaceful and contented life, make changes in your life.  Become aware of and manage those things  that “stress” you out.  Sometimes it may just to “forget about it” 

How do you handle stress?