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Dealing with the Emotional Challenges – Nurses Find Ways to Relax!

Nurses Dealing With Emotional Challenges
Nurses at Georgetown Lombardi learn stretches from Daniel Burkholder. Source: The Washington Post

Nursing is a rewarding career. But, it is also true that every rewarding career is full of all sorts of challenges for its professionals. Healthcare industry personnel are also mostly short on time and their enervating schedule often leaves them unnerved and exhausted. The game of life and death is not everyone’s cup of tea. The stress they feel and the pressure they have to face on daily basis may take its toll on their physical, mental, and emotional well being.

 

Physical health is relatively easier to maintain, but, is there anything they can do to cope up with the emotional challenges? Are there ways to counter the effects of stress and mental exhaustion? You will find out shortly.

 

Employing Therapy to Prevent Burnout

Employing Therapy to Prevent Burnout

Research tells us that in order to avoid burnout, nurse must find ways to relax and re-energize. Leaving emotional issues unchecked or untreated for too long may affect their health seriously.

 

Cynda Hylton Rushton, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, says,” Nurses are particularly at risk for becoming overwhelmed and depleted.” Therefore, in order to refocus them, much reflection is needed.

 

Ruston also commented on the fact that nursing is 24/7 job and nurses have to face the severity of life and death situations all the time. Many a times, they have to “confront the limits of what medicine can do for people.” If they develop a feeling of helplessness or guilt, it would ruin their dedication toward what they do. They would begin to question the work and benefits they provide to others.

 

Quality patient care emerges from relentless dedication and confidence in your work. If a nurse begins to question the utility of providing medicine or care to a dying patient, how do you think people would survive? How is a civilized society supposed to stay healthy without a healthcare practitioners’ force, willing and ready, to take of them?

 

Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we take serious measures to prevent professional burnout as nurses.

 

“When the clinician suffers, so does the patient,” says Rushton. “We don’t provide the quality care we want to offer when we ourselves are depleted.”

 

A Creative Approach to Therapy

A Creative Approach to Therapy

The concept of therapy is undergoing a major shift. It’s no longer done just by soothing words or medication. Creative activities have become an established way to treating people with various emotional and psychological illnesses, let alone fatigue. From treating nursing home patients with music, to dancing, painting, and writing; these activities help the patients and nurses alike in venting out their excessive emotional baggage and grievances.

 

Many nurses blame the management for overburdening them with too much work. They also complain about understaffing and the horrors of handling hospital politics. In their typical hectic routine, they might ask: how are we supposed to take out time to paint or dance when we spend hour after an hour taking care of others?

 

But like we said earlier, patients suffer when their caretakers do. Therefore, medical institutions are now employing a new and more creative therapeutic approach to support their nursing staff. For example, the pediatric oncology unit of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center went through a similar experience when after the death of a child the nursing staff had to start with an art therapy which essentially included making clay pots. The exercise provided enough time and courage to the participants that they actually started to admit their grief out loud.

 

Jan Powers, their clinical nurse manager, reminisced: “There was a lot of pounding and kneading, and while we made our pots and whatever, people started to talk.” She shed some more light on the experience, “When your hands are occupied and you’re not in the spotlight, it’s easier to say things like ‘I feel really bad’ or ‘This child touched my heart and I’m grieving.’ It gives staff a chance to create out of something that is hurtful and painful.”

 

It’s Here to Stay!

It’s Here to Stay!

The Gilchrist Hospice Care officials declare that once these therapies are incorporated in the staff routine, it reduces staff turnover and results in an increase of satisfaction.

 

The director of quality at Gilchrist, Lin Simon says: “Hospice is not something you can put down at the end of the day. You think of the people you’ve touched and helped. It’s not like parking buses in a garage! It stays with you.”

 

These positive reflections resulted from her past experience when she arranged for a meditation program in which sic of her workers participated and learned to refocus and relax. The effects, she noticed, were remarkable. Those who participated now seem “less harried and haggard. We talk to each other about staying positive.” Consequently the facility has decided to repeat the session for a larger group.

 

There are many other medical facilities which are reaping the benefits of these simple yet miraculous therapy sessions all over the country. The positive effects on an individual transcend patient care and are reflected through everything they do.

 

Do you have any suggestions for fellow nurses which can help retain their spirit and positive energy for patient care? Do share your thoughts with us.

 
 
 

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