Again this year, we will celebrate National Nurses Week May 6-12. The American Nurses Association has designated 2017 as the "Year of the Healthy Nurse." That’s not a redundancy. According to LeAnn Thieman, four of every 10 nurses suffer from burnout.
Burnout is not only bad for the nurses but a problem for patients as well. As Thieman notes, research has proven high levels of nurse burnout will adversely affect patient outcomes.
Nurses looking for Work-Life Balance
So why does such a “rewarding” career lead to so much burnout? Many nurses have trouble achieving good work-life balance. Part of that results from job stress, but other exterior barriers add to the problem, too. These could be everything from inadequate staffing levels because of nursing shortages to the generational differences, expectations, and skill levels on one’s staff that could lead to conflict in nursing wards.
What can be done to improve these situations? Acceptance of what is can be a great starting point. Learning to cope with things you can’t change is a great way to combat stress. Developing empathy for others also helps, as does taking a “time out” every so often to calm down and sharpen your focus.
Practicalnursing.org suggests holistic nursing leads to better patient care. What is a holistic nurse, you might ask? Simply put, they’re nurses who “truly care” about their job…and about their patients. Task- or goal-oriented nurses sometimes can leave patients feeling they are little more than a diagnosis, or worse – a burden. That’s a detrimental outlook.
Holistic nursing not only can enrich the lives of those patients, it can improve life for the nurses themselves. Nursing can be tough, demanding and emotionally draining. But seeing patients as people and taking the time to bond with them not only helps them get better, it can increase the happiness and purpose of nurses.
These are all good recommendations that could indeed transform 2017 into the “Year of the Healthy Nurse.” Come to think of it, all these tips – alleviating your stress and eliminating burnout by accepting what is and finding purpose in the things you can do, and the people with whom you engage – can work for anyone…in any job…or in any academic program, if you happen to be a student.
Celebrate National Nursing Week
Join us in celebrating National Nurses Week, May 6–12, but also try applying this year’s theme, “The Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit,” in your own life to see what improvements you can make. In addition to celebrating nurses, celebrate yourself and lead your own personal charge for health and wellness.