Have you ever paused and calculated how many hours we spend at our workplace? Most of us spend 40 hours per week at the workplace, and some even spend more. There is no surprise in knowing that our work can also impact our health and well-being in many ways.
At times we might not notice it, but the impact starts taking a toll on our physical and emotional well-being. No profession or career pathway is easy. Be it a teacher, an architect, a mason, or a nurse, they all have a lot on their plates. A nurse’s job may appear easy or not equivalent to that of a doctor. Still, they are always on their toes to facilitate their patients and look after their well-being.
Nurses who help surgeons in back-to-back procedures seldom have a chance to recuperate or take a break for themselves. Usually, a nurse works 12 hours a day and based on their availability or preference; they work day or night shifts. A tired or overworked person may still show up to work, but they might not be their best selves or may foster errors that they usually do not come across.
Why is a nurse’s well-being important?
Can you recall yourself working with a cheerful mood and full concentration after a sleepless night? We all have faced those days where we want to rest our head on our desk, or the idea of not getting enough sleep keeps us cranky throughout the day. The field of nursing is booming with various opportunities these days. Many nurses assess the pros and cons of BSN vs. MSN to narrow down their career choices. These degrees equip nurses with skills and knowledge that can benefit their and patient’s well-being.
Following are some of the ideas that can help in maintaining a nurse’s well-being.
1. Start with a survey.
If you want to know how well-rested the nurses at a hospital or other healthcare institution are, one of the most basic methods to find out is to ask them. A wellness survey will give a deep insight into the issues nurses face or factors hindering their well-being.
Conducting a survey and understanding things from a nurse’s point of view will help you implement the relevant ideas at the worksite to promote the nurse’s well-being. Approximately 80% of nurse respondents said they suffer from significant stress, as reported by the ANA survey.
Nurses deal with different patients and fulfill different roles. Wearing different hats throughout the day or working double shifts can affect their health in the longer run. Identifying the factors contributing to their daily stressor will help in finding solutions to overcome these hurdles.
2. Introduce a pause hour.
A nurse has to go through a lot, from rattling carts to changing IV of several patients to consoling a grieving family. They interact with the patient throughout the day and form a bond with them. If not for nurses, patients would not report how they feel or need, ultimately leading to their slow recovery and prolonged stay.
Healthcare managers should introduce a pause hour for nurses’ well-being. Having a pause hour at the worksite means that if a nurse feels tired or needs to cater to their emotions due to the death of a patient, they can pause their activities. Nurses have more emotional baggage than others as they see people dying in front of them. It can take a toll on their emotional stability.
3. Help them fight stress and burnout.
We all go through work burnout, and nurses face it more than anyone else. Working in double shifts or working more than required hours often leaves them tired and drained of energy. Even in this current pandemic, they cannot go with work from home.
One of the easiest ways to intervene with stress and burnout is to provide a relaxing environment to recuperate. For example, you can place lavender scents in nursing staff rooms or encourage them to take a walk on the hospital’s lawn to spend some time in nature. Give them breaks when necessary or help them unload their baggage by sending them to a counselor for talk therapy.
4. Introducing community events
We all need a break from our chaotic work routines, and some of us plan vacations, but what about nurses? They barely get such long breaks to visit a place. Employers can help provide the necessary break from the tough routine a nurse follows by introducing community events.
Encouraging nurses to join community events like dance-a-thon or walk-a-heart offers them a break from their routine. In addition, it indulges them in healthy activities like walking. Such activities reduce their stress and boost their morale.
5. Self-care rewards
Looking after patients and dealing with families, nurses often overlook their health and ignore their visits to a doctor. Another way employers can adapt to promote wellness at the worksite for nurses is through rewards. Announcing small rewards for self-care steps a nurse takes will keep them motivated. For instance, you can announce a reward if a nurse visits a doctor for their routine checkup or talks to a therapist.
Nurses play a substantial role in sustaining healthcare services, looking after patients, and delivering quality care. However, most nurses are often tired or under severe work burnout as they do not get ample time.
Implementing wellness ideas and encouraging nurses to take part will enhance their performance and keep them healthy.