Thank you to all of the nurses who sent us their words of wisdom on how they deal with work-related stress. We are compiling these tips into a toolkit specifically for nurses. This project is under development.
Below this note are some of the great comments we have received. Please take a look. I hope you find them as helpful and inspirational as I do. Please, please keep the comments coming and spread the word to other nurses who many have a helpful tip they want to share. Remember, you can post your advice directly on the blog, or you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks, too, to everybody who has helped us spread the word about this project. Your efforts are really making a difference!
“Having spent most of my nursing career working in Adult ICU, I find that staying ‘grounded’ literally helps keep me sane! I like to spend time outdoors – whether trout fishing on a beautiful stream or lake, working in my yard or garden, or just taking a walk really helps puts things in perspective. I especially find sharing time and talking with my family helps maintain balance.” – Tamma
“I think my staff is just the greatest. When our work life becomes very challenging I like to have lunch with the staff and catch up on what is happening in their home life. It does help maintain balance. We have mini “Lunch and Learns”; we lunch and learn that life does not have to be all serious.” – Mary Ann, Pittsburgh, PA
“One of the things that I feel has the most impact on helping nurses to cope with the everyday stress is the fact that we are a team of professionals and when push comes to shove, stand together and help each other – basically we are each other’s counselors. We openly discuss our feelings with our co-workers and cry together while giving each other hugs and letting each other know we are here and that we all understand what each other is going through. That kind of support is not felt in many other professions. We are a team of support and care for all!” – Tracy N., RN, BSN, MSN, Pittsburgh, PA
“Learning to de-stress, by spending time with my daughters or just me by reading a good book or going for a run with my dog. In my dream world every healthcare facility would have a gym and a massage parlor to help encourage all healthcare workers to take a moment to de-stress so we can think clearly.” – Kimberley S., RN, Ontario, Canada
“I try to look for the humor in an otherwise difficult situation, to make myself laugh and others laugh, and to remind us all to not take ourselves TOO seriously. Laughter IS the best medicine and a unifying force in the midst of stress.” – Sue
“I’m an optimist and try to maintain that optimism while working in a ‘negative’ or stressful environment. I like little quotes that I can hold onto. Sir Winston Leonard Spenser Churchill states, ‘A pessimist sees the difficulties in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.’ Thoughts like Churchill’s keep me going. Here is another one: ‘In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure,’ from Bill Cosby.” – Laura S., Lewes, DE
“I love to sew- especially baby quilts or crafts. While I’m sewing, I’m thinking about the new baby- and am always amazed by the miracle of new life and I know I have the opportunity to touch ‘life’ while I work. I am filled with wonder!” – Anonymous
“As a pediatric nurse, some days are definitely better than others. When the stress seems like it has taken over my life some strategies I use to cope include; having a good hearty belly laugh in the company of good friends, taking a trip to the playroom for some BINGO with the kids during a break, and remembering to step back for a minute to remember WHY I am a nurse and what my purpose is.” – Alicia
“I recently started beading and I love to see what my imagination can create. I also have done scrapbooking for many years. I love to recall the memories of the event. I have recently been asked to teach scrapbooking to middle school age children who attend after school activities programs.” – Lori
“I started exercising. Now to burn off stress, I run. In fact, I am running my first 5k this spring. I am also a bit (45 lbs) lighter, which is great, too. I feel so much better now that I have consciously taken my stressors off of me.” – Elizabeth, Michigan
“Exercise always makes me feel best – I love riding my bicycle and get together with a co-worker that lives close by. We’ll get together and chat and ride at the same time. I belong to a hiking/biking group. If I can get to a hike or ride once a week, I’m happy. The rest of the time is spent walking my dog when I have time to get out.” – Dorothee K., Pittsburgh, PA
“I think stress relief depends on the energy needed to be expelled or reversed.
When I need to de-stress and calm down, walks in the forest and on the beach of Lake Michigan can be the best (especially with the dog). Other calming activities have included yoga, reading a novel by the fireplace, and cooking with family/friends.
The other spectrum, of energy “release” needs, can be best met by a workout at the gym, working in the yard, cleaning the car or the garage, and my favorite of all, is going out after work with a fun group of friends for munchies and cocktails (try to do that every couple months!).” – Todd K., RN, Holland, MI
“As a pediatric nurse working in ICU and the Peds ER for over 25 years I have seen more than a lifetime’s share of tragedy and sadness when children are severely injured or killed. I have found peace in the ability to return to work to face another day only through the faith I have in God. I try to pray every day. I especially pray during a code – for the doctors and nurses administering care to the child, and for the parents. I found taking a walk or a drive and being quiet with God allows him to minister to my heart and heal me.” – Ann D., RN, Copiague, NY
“My faith has carried my through my nursing career for 30 years and it has never failed me. Surrounding myself with my family and a few close friends has also been very important in coping.” – Sandy
“I cope by listening to those who trust me enough to share their pain. Just by having someone open their heart to share the pure emotion, all of my stress seems to melt, and I find myself feeling very thankful and at peace with my life.” – Anonymous
“Personally, I make sure I stay in contact with those I love the most during the week. My children and grandchildren all live out of town. A phone call to any one of my grandchildren always lifts my spirits. Their energy is contagious, even over the phone.” – Kathy, Harper University Hospital
“I take my dog on a long walk and then once home drink a large glass of ice water to flush out any remaining stress hormones.” – Shelley, RN, Pittsburgh, PA