The pandemic of 2019 has been excruciatingly difficult for everyone, but this difficulty was tenfold for the frontline workers. It is not easy to protect yourself while looking after patients, especially when we knew little about the virus. Nurses, in particular, demonstrated an immense amount of commitment and dedication towards their patients by being their first responders and caretakers. However, it is easy to see the pandemic toll on them, as nurses had to take care of the immense workload in the hospitals.
They drastically neglected their personal lives while experiencing severe physical exhaustion. The most challenging aspect of their job is to witness countless deaths helplessly. If you’re a nurse and went through the same turmoil, we are here to help.
This article will provide you with ways to help you cope with the many difficulties you may have faced. Here’s how you can steadily recover:
Even though the workload may be immense, you shouldn’t ignore your meals. Skipping food often will make you ill, dizzy, and in severe cases, you may collapse. It would help if you pack a meal for yourself or look for healthier options in the hospital’s cafeteria. At the same time, you may go out to have your lunch and ask a fellow nurse to take over your shift temporarily. Try and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day and keep track of your water intake. You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself.
It may seem unusual, but it makes for an excellent coping mechanism by distracting yourself at your workplace, and what’s better than studying and relaxing. There are plenty of programs available such as DNP online, that teach you valuable skills as you go back to work. When you can pick up new skills and techniques from your course, you can apply them to your patients. When you see you’re able to provide care for your patients, you will feel motivated and slightly hopeful, which will help you deal with work.
While you look after your patients, you don’t have to do this alone. Buddy programs are a great way to discuss cases and deal with complex problems. When there is less pressure on you to perform well, you can devote your energy to thinking and helping. As a result, you won’t feel burned out or exhausted quickly and can keep up with the mounting workload.
As a nurse, you’re allowed a few hours to yourself to take a break. Even if you’re not taking a break and have a few minutes in between your next shift, call up a friend or family member. Talking to people close to you helps you unload your mind. Their support may be a source of motivation and encouragement for you. It is also an excellent way to get your mind off work and share a conversation.
Hospitals understand the need to look after their nurses. So they keep different employee assistance programs. These could be meditation sessions, designated spots to rest, or group counseling. You should try and get into these programs. Give your body the rest it needs and allow yourself a few moments of recovery. If you choose to stay on your feet continuously, your body will rebel.
There is no shame if you can’t handle copious amounts of workload. You must see and acknowledge yourself as a human being. That means when you’re at your limit, it is okay to pull back. If you need to switch off your mobile phone and go for a walk, you should do it.
During times of emergency, you need to stick together as a team more than ever. Try motivating each other and encourage each other throughout the day. It will keep spirits high and save you from feeling isolated. In case a nurse goes through a traumatic incident such as watching their patient suffer a chronic illness. Take time to help them through the process and talk to them instead of pushing them to take on the next shift. Be each other’s pillar of strength!
Keeping a journal doesn’t necessarily mean you need to write down your thoughts. You can even keep a digital journal to voice all your opinions and concerns. It can be voice-operated, and you can pour out everything you feel throughout the day. You can also play your recordings back to find the source of your problems and get to the core of your exhaustion. You can even bring up your journal if you check into hospital-provided therapy.
You may feel a myriad of emotions, and you should never try to suppress them. Anger, sadness, and frustration are part of being a human. It would help if you found ways to let them out. The last thing you want is to take your frustrations to your patients and neglect their care. If you need a time out and talk to someone, you should go for it. If you feel like you need to cry, let it out. Anytime you think agitated allow yourself to voice it to the relevant people who can care for you.
Sometimes your job as a nurse can take a toll on you. Therefore, you need to find ways to cope with the stress. You can start by having healthier meals and a gym class or look into online courses to help distract you and sharpen your skills at the same time. Furthermore, you may get into a buddy program so that you can deal with complex cases.
Try and talk to your friends and family in between to help lift your spirits. You may also use hospital resources to relax and seek therapy. Most importantly, you should set boundaries and pull back when you can’t work.