Being a nurse is not an easy job. Your daily routine may be saturated with numerous tasks that you need to accomplish in a day. These may include checking up on older patients and admitting new ones, administering care such as wound cleaning, and updating electronic health charts. Similarly, you must ensure that you don’t fall behind in your field by dedicating time to your education, research, and licensing exams. Balancing these factors can be stressful and take a toll on you. When you don’t get sufficient rest or time, fatigue, exhaustion, and stress may start blossoming in your body.
What begins as a minor headache quickly becomes a migraine attack, forcing you to take time off work and focus on recouping. For any hospital, a nurse experiencing burnout can translate into a pricey turnover expense. The cost of refilling a position of a registered nurse can be more than $40,000, and when more than one nurse is absent, this cost quickly multiplies. Therefore, to ensure you can keep up with your job, here is what you need to do:
- Understand What Your Job Expects From You
Depending on your position as a nurse, you will need to do different tasks and fulfill specific duties. So, if you know your role, it is much easier to schedule your day and plan your routine. For instance, the responsibilities of a registered nurse are vastly different from that of a nurse practitioner. As an RN, you manage a patient’s daily activities, such as medication and recording their history.
But, as a nurse practitioner, you can directly look after a patient without a doctor’s supervision. Hence, when you are more familiar with what happens in a day in the life of a nurse, you are more equipped to plan out a realistic routine. And you understand your limitation and communicate your needs to your team better. It prevents you from getting overwhelmed at work and taking on more than you can handle. Additionally, being in sync with your environment allows you to prepare for unexpected emergencies and stop the situation from escalating.
- Try To Get Enough Sleep
In a meta-analysis by Zeng and colleagues, these professionals concluded that nurses do not get adequate sleep at night. It is primarily because their long hours and disruptive shifts interrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm, such as working through the night. Consequently, your lack of rest and extensive evening shifts can interfere with your sleep.
When too much fatigue builds up, there is a chance you may collapse at work. It is an unsavory position to be in, and the only way you can look after your patients to the best of your abilities is when you get to rest. To avoid sacrificing sleep, restrict your night shifts to four or fewer per week.
On the other hand, avoid indulging in caffeinated beverages, such as energy shots and coffee. These stimulants make you alert and rob you of your sleep. If you work night shifts, build a support network at home, so loved ones can help you with chores and other tasks.
- Have An Appropriate Diet
You need to eat and drink to have optimum energy to get through the day. At the same time, your nutrition and daily calorie intake impact your physique and stamina. Suppose you are used to consuming fast food and greasy items. In that case, it can put you at risk for numerous diseases such as obesity and atherosclerosis. A bad diet can also make you irritable since your body is not getting the nutrients it needs, which can also impact your mood. For this reason, you should pay attention to what your food consists of and try sticking to a meal plan that makes you feel fresh and energized.
You should generally indulge in fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains. Go for low-fat dairy products and completely cut off sodium, fats, and sugars. Some good examples include oatmeal, berries, grilled fish, salads, and brown rice with a topping of your choice. You should also strive to eat on a regular schedule, avoid the vending machine and in your spare time, make a lunchbox. If you have your meal at the hospital’s cafeteria, don’t impulsively buy, but take your time to browse the menu and pick the healthiest option.
- Wear Quality Shoes
Running around and being on your feet continuously puts pressure on your feet, which is why you need sensible footwear to support them. Low-quality shoes can tear easily and may cause blisters in the soles of your feet, adding to your suffering. So when you go shoe shopping, invest time into finding the best quality foot cover that is comfortable to slip into. Additionally, make sure the material prevents you from slipping and is water-resistant. Your footwear should also have pads to cushion your feet with enough room for your toes to breathe. You may need to speak to a podiatrist if you have a condition like plantar fasciitis or heel pain. Invest in shoes that can support your feet and prevent the inflammation from worsening.
- Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health
Hospitals are stressful environments that can take a massive toll on you. Losing your patients, dealing with traumatic cases, and handling patients while ignoring your well-being will eventually affect your mental health. Consequently, you may start experiencing severe symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. These symptoms don’t go away independently and require a professional’s intervention. There is no shame in asking for help, and sometimes you need the kindness that you extend to others for yourself.
Certified mental care experts like therapists have the knowledge and skills to help you. Therapists use techniques like cognitive behavior therapy and integrative psychotherapy to get to the crux of your problem and help you get better. You can also create a support group at work where you and your colleagues can share everyday experiences and concerns. It allows you to shed off your mental load and combat the feeling of loneliness, boosting your overall health and well-being.
Nursing is both a challenging and rewarding job. But there are times when the stress of your workload can overpower the satisfaction of helping your patients. Therefore, to ensure you’re able to perform well at work, you must find ways to ask yourself. These include learning about your role, so you can plan out a realistic routine and saving yourself from becoming overwhelmed.
Other factors involve getting adequate sleep, fixing your diet, and investing in footwear that is comfortable on your feet. Lastly, pay attention to your mental health and seek help anytime you feel your thoughts and emotions go disarray. Once you consistently look after yourself, your health will flourish, making it easier for you to be a successful nurse.