Sunday, 22 March 2009

Nurses and Stress

I found this over at allnurses and thought I would post it here. Nurses are stressed and we hold so much of it in. Non-nurses have such massive disconnect between the realities of nursing (education, responsibility, workload, legal issues) and their stereotypical view of the profession that we can't really unload on them. It would be like trying to teaching a donkey algebra.

The NMC and our employers have drilled it into us that we should never talk about any of this because it puts patient confidentiality at risk. It makes the patients "scared". It looks unprofessional. So we stay silent.

The only people we are really protecting with our silence are evil organisations like the NMC, useless organisations like the RCN and money obsessed hospital managers.

Nursing is crazy because we have a hell of a lot of responsibility and no control. Doctors have insane amounts responsibility but they also have a hell of a lot more control too. They also command respect.

Anyway here are some tips:

Have you ever wondered what the stress of nursing is doing to you? We know that stress causes cortisol levels to rise which raise our blood pressure, raise our blood sugar levels, increase our lipids, etc. Blah, Blah, Blah. The point of this article is not to teach you something you already learned in pathophysiology class.We know that high stress levels can cause weight gain and we know that obesity complicates every disease there is. Obesity has been linked to higher cases of breast cancer, etc. As nurses, we KNOW all this stuff.Let’s not go there right now.

Instead the message of this article is to talk about the emotional price of high nursing-related stress in your life. Nursing stress is so unique. It’s practically impossible to explain to non-nurses…that’s for sure!How do you explain what it feels like to have your pager go off for two different patients at the same time? One is in severe pain and one is throwing up. Add to that scenario “a transport tech” arriving on the floor asking if your pre-surgical patient is ready to go to surgery because the anesthesiologist and surgeon are waiting downstairs. Yikes! You didn’t get the checklist done yet! Multiply that scenario several times an hour for 12+ hours at a time and you've got nursing stress.

Nursing stress mounts so quickly that it leaves you speechless with friends and family. The thought of describing what you go through during your work day becomes so exhausting that you just don’t do it. You don’t tell your friends. You don’t tell your family. You may find yourself becoming emotionally shut down to a certain extent because you start to hold stuff in.Have you ever wondered, “Am I depressed and I don’t even know it?” You may find the answer to that question by examining what you do on your days off. After a brutally stressful day at work, it is not uncommon to hear a nurse describe her day off like this, “All morning, I could still hear my pager going off and the monitors too. I stayed in my pajamas until the afternoon. All I had energy to do was zone out on TV and eat.”It’s a matter of life and death to find healthy outlets for the nursing stress in your life!

When the thought of picking up the phone and talking to a dear trusted friend to “relieve some pressure” becomes too much for you to handle, there may be a problem. Perhaps you used to refer to it as a “mental health” day, but when all your days off look like this, there may be a problem.

more here


delcatto said... much of that sounds very familiar. I work in mental health & we are supposed to be the 'experts' but are often blind or in denial when it comes to ourselves. I've just wangled* a six month secondment at a higher grade with no on calls and working 9-5, Mon-Friday. It still hasn't sunk in yet and I still hear the phones.
* Wangled as in interview, study days, exam and submitting an essay and portfolio. God but they make it hard to get a break. Hopefully the six months secondment will become 12 months.

viagra online said...

I can't think in all the stress that have to handle a person in the nocturnal turn in the hospital, I say this because I was in a hospital when I was child, with only watch the faces of the nurses you can noticed the stress levels. said...

Thank you for your article, really helpful material.

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