Nurse Stress Management: Ways to Deal with Stress At Work, Practice What you Preach!


From the Nursing CNO all the way to nursing students and everyone in between, we all have dealt with stress on the job, and most of us likely feel it on a day-to-day basis. Let's face it, stress in the nursing profession isn't going anywhere, anytime soon. So how do we fight this seemingly never ending battle and improve ways in which we cope with stress at work?

We know the job itself, is not going to get easier. We as professionals are continually required to do more, and frankly the healthcare field continues to rapidly change faster then ever before, requiring us not only to keep up our current skills, but to also be open-minded for change, which I personally think isn't always easy to do.

The truth of the matter is that every person deals with stress differently, whether it's at home, coping with stress at work, or other faucets of one’s life, in different ways. Every profession has its difficulties, and we all need help at some point along the way to manage our stress at work. We as humans are all wired different, which is what makes all of us unique, and is what also gives us all the ability to help others in different ways. As a nurse, I depend on my colleagues more then they will ever know and maybe more than I would ever tell them.

The bottom line is, in a profession such as nursing the concept of stress and how it affects our health, job performance, relationships with people both in the work place and at home needs to be researched more heavily. It's there, and its real, so let's figure out ways to better our own health and ways to work together to achieve a common goal.

Besides organizational change, here are 7 simple, yet effective ways for nurses and other professionals to deal with stress at work that we probably already know, but don't practice enough:


Better Communication:

Communication is key, especially open communication, to decreasing stress in the workplace and being more productive. In nursing specifically, communication is the key to great patient care, but one would assume that effective communication would translate to any profession. Communication is not just the art of talking to someone, but it’s also the art of listening. Communication starts from the top down. When there are open forms of communication within an organization, it gives a clearer picture of goals, failures, what’s working and what’s not working, so that everyone can come together to find better ways of accomplishing specific missions and goals. Everyone and anyone can work on this attribute and everyone should have a voice to do so.



This is simple, but to the point, right? It's important with these activities that you are not just stretching to say you tried, really focus on what you're stretching. Take your mind off things for 30 seconds just to give your body a rest. It can't get any easier than this, and who cares what people think of you, have them join in and make it fun!


Deep Breathe:

Have you ever just taken 60 seconds to yourself, let your mind go and focused on deep breathing? How many times as nurses have you said to your patient, "just breath, big deep slow breathes". Well, why do you say this to them? The answer is simple, it helps them RELAX. It’s honestly amazing in just 60 seconds how much better it can make you feel and how it can relax the mind and settle your nerves. This is a great strategy after any stressful event just occurred. I would suggest finding a quite place to do this. I know our hospital has a tranquility room. But, other places could be a locker room, conference room, or other vacated room, or even a zen garden or outside garden if your facility has something like this.


Attempt to Form more Relationships with Positive People:

Keep motivated and optimistic people in your life. Let's face it, more friends = more laughter = less stress. Lean on these individuals to vent, get things off your chest, this tactic alone with certainly help one another manager and deal with stress at work.


Purposeful walk:

I get it, who has time to do this, right? When do you actually have time to take a walk during work? Maybe the answer is you don't, but what if you substituted 10 minutes of that 30 minute lunch or 60 minute lunch break to power walk, get the blood flowing. It's hard and this may not be for you, but I love taking a quick power walk or just wondering outside for a few minutes to take my mind off everything going on around me. I usually like to think about things that have to do do with my little 3 year old son, it makes me laugh and brings me back down to earth putting things in perspective in my life.


Don't Sweat the Small Things:

No one is perfect, and as long as you know within, that you are doing your best and giving 100%, understand that not everything will always go your way. You can't sweat the small things all the time, focus on the bigger picture. Focus on how many patients you have made feel better, focus on the fact you did well on your presentation for work or school, focus on the fact you started a new exercise this week. Build off all of the good things you have accomplished and focus on improving yourself every day.

Stay Organized:

Develop a routine for work. Coping with stress at work is much easier when you are organized or have a routine. Things may not always go exactly to that routine, but you will have a strong foundation to build off of. I can't begin to tell you the amount of nurses who have a daily, weekly, or monthly planner. The crazy part about it is that those individuals always seem more on top of their game. This is another great way to stay on task, and a great way to reduce stress at work and in your personal life.

I know all of these things you've most likely heard before, but are you truly doing any of them or have you tried any of them with success or failure? You truly have to just take them and put them into practice. Try a few of them, but really focus on the task. The task is making you happier and getting to a better place when everything seems to be caving in. You have to believe and trust everything is going to be okay.

Thanks so much for visiting our site, we would love to hear your thoughts or other activities and ideas you've done to cope or relieve stress at work. Let's all be there for one another and help each other reach a better well-being!

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