Self-Care for Nurses

Nurses are trained caregivers, yet they sometimes forget about themselves. Nursing careers are exhausting; physically and emotionally, so it is vital that nurses take time for themselves for their physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, social, personal, professional and medical wellbeing.

Lack of self-care can lead to errors, fatigue, and burnout, which comes at a high cost to patients, nurses and the healthcare organisation. The national library of medicine conducted a survey to delve deeper into health-related productivity. Among respondents, the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain was 71%; that of depression was 18%. The majority of respondents (62%) reported a presenteeism score of at least 1 on a 0-to-10 scale, indicating that health problems had affected work productivity at least "a little."

The stress of the pandemic and increase to workloads have made many nurses make even less time for self-care. This situation should have had the opposite effect - higher workloads and increased stress requires additional self-care to avoid burnout.

The range of stresses that come with the nursing profession are diverse. From increased paperwork to protecting patient’s rights, to staffing patterns, reduced staff and life-threatening decision making. On top of this, there are personal life/home stresses which come with everyday life.

To keep stress at a manageable level and avoid fatigue and burnout, a self-care plan is vital. Some tips that relate to everyone include a balanced diet, plenty of rest, and regular exercise. However, when creating a self-care plan, we need to go further than the basics.

Every plan is unique to each individual - find what works best for you and commit time to it. Some popular self-care activities include:

  • Reading a book
  • Meditation or Yoga
  • Cooking
  • Listening to music or podcasts
  • Trying a new hobby such as dancing, sewing or a new sport!
  • Enjoy a spa treatment
  • Meet friends and family
  • Speak up to those close to you, as they say; “a problem shared is a problem halved”
  • Play a game or complete a puzzle
  • Start a journal or write a letter to an old friend

Check out these apps for more support and tips on self-care:

  • Headspace
  • Calm
  • Happify
  • Shine
  • Sanvello
  • Class Pass Go