Whether they are studying to become a nurse, or they are fully qualified already, all healthcare professionals must remember to look after themselves. There are so many risk factors that can lead to burnout, mental health deterioration, exhaustion, and sickness. So, self-care should be at the top of the agenda, but it is often side lined in favor of the physical act of carrying out nursing duties – how do we address this issue to better protect these professionals?
Unfortunately, there is no getting around the fact that there is a significant shortage of nurses and other healthcare workers across the country. This is a major concern as it is a leading contributor to why nurses are becoming burnt out and overworked in the first place. Scheduling and shift patterns cannot be rectified more fairly until there is more staff to cover the required hours. Nursing is a demanding role and there is a constant influx of patients to hospitals and other healthcare settings. The only solution is to bring in more staff – but without the right pay incentives and time considerations, this feels somewhat implausible.
Protecting Student Nurses
Student nurses are the next generation of professionals. Once qualified they go onto take on roles within a hospital setting or similar. While studying, it is important to protect their expectations as to what the role will hold. Whether studying online through courses such as this option from Wilkes University, or on a physical campus, all nursing students will take up placement roles to support their learning. This should give them a realistic reflection of what the future role will entail to properly enable them to plan for their own health needs, physical fitness and otherwise.
There seems to be a relatively toxic expectation that these individuals work until they drop. Though this is a part of the role and nurses often go above and beyond what is expected of them, it shouldn’t be taken for granted. Shielding staff from burnout by making space in the budget for incentives that look after fitness needs and even pampering skin care or physical health are all viable options for companies.
Information and Promotions
Providing information and promotional content around self-care is an easy thing to do. This could include:
- Exercise regime ideas that suit a busy work life. Maybe even installing an exercise center in the workplace for staff members to have easy access.
- Dietary and recipe information tailored towards a high-powered role such as this one.
- Tips for down-time and nurturing sleep/rest needs.
Regardless of the line of work, it is imperative to promote wellness amongst staff. Employees such as nurses, and future nurses, go beyond what is expected (on paper) of them and that is just a part of this role. It isn’t always easy to practice self-care in the middle of that and this can often get put on the sideline. In order to combat this, workplaces should provide reminders and information on how to look after things that need looking after such as pampering, exercise needs and dietary roles.