Nurses are the largest working force in healthcare. Nurses work day in and day out to care for their patients, however their day is far from over. They then go home to take care of their families and loved ones. Working shifts of 12 hours plus, many times more than three days a week, begins to take a toll on their bodies and minds. Their days are spent giving, giving and more giving. What do nurses do to replenish and recharge?
Let’s use an analogy; if a person has $1000 in a bank account and withdraws $100 weekly without depositing any more money, they will deplete the account within a 10-week period. Nursing works very much the same way. In order to be replenished and energized, we have to find ways to combat fatigue and burnouts. It is imperative that the nurse and the organization in which they work, develop an understanding and plan of replenishing the nurse’s ability to provide safe and excellent patient care while holistically taking care of themselves. This type of thought process will have a three-fold advantage. This will increase satisfaction among the organization, the nurse and ultimately the patient. Nurse satisfaction in turn increases retention, financial stability of the organization and also improves the care and satisfaction among the nurse and patient.
My first focus of this holistic approach is care for the nurse through their spiritual being. I am a Christian. Don’t worry I am not here to convince you of how great Christianity has been to me (although it has been GREAT). I am here, though, to provide methods that have helped me center myself on a spiritual level. Beginning each day with meditation is one of the best ways to start your day. With the massive amounts of technology that we have and the connectivity that we are blessed with, it is often difficult to disconnect. A single email or text message that is read before your feet hit the floor in the morning can have us on edge or distracted all day long. Before starting meditation, I hide any messages that may come through so that I won’t be tempted to respond prior to the time that is designated for meditation. It is important that we have those first moments to meditate to remind us that whatever the day may bring, we are wonderfully made to handle each and every situation. It is important that we have a quiet space that provides us with uninterrupted privacy. This is especially important for the nurse or nursing student that have small children but can also be difficult to find time away. When small children are involved, simply getting up 15-20 minutes before they wake up can be helpful or even taking 15-20 minutes after they go to bed is also helpful. Even though it can be difficult to get up 15-20 minutes early because of the late night hours, in time, this can become part of our daily routines. Getting up early and meditating is great way of reducing stress, re-energizing and focusing before your mind has time to become busy and scattered. I have interviewed top leaders throughout the community and this is a growing theme that is exhibited and practiced. This is step one. Stay tuned for additional ways to develop and become the best nurse there is.