The healthcare sector is one of the busiest. Within a hospital, there are far too many departments working simultaneously. Patients are getting wheeled in and out of surgery, while others may be coming in for a routine checkup. In all these circumstances, nurses seem to have a center stage as they guide, treat, and chart a patient before a doctor takes over. Being a nurse is no easy endeavor. Your working hours may start early and end late.
While performing your job, you have to keep up with the workload, ensure you’re on the same page as the attending physician and provide quality patient care. At the same time, you’re dealing with the nursing shortage, balancing your education and career, and trying to sneak some time for yourself. So how can you keep your head above water when there is so much going on? Here’s how:
Trying to go back to school
As a nurse, you’re on a lifelong journey with education. While most careers are good to go after a bachelor’s degree, the healthcare industry has different expectations. A BSN allows you to step into the profession and build your career. But if you wish to climb higher and access more senior positions with opportunities to work with patients directly, you need to go back to school.
Unfortunately, nursing is a busy profession, and you wouldn’t want to quit your job to pursue a full-time degree. However, alternatives are available such as opting for BSN to DNP programs online to access your coursework on your smart device and work your way up. A DNP degree is a highly advanced certification in this profession, and acquiring one gives you more autonomy to practice. So if you’re ambitious enough and wish to make your career bloom. Seek online education.
Staying on your feet the whole day can even be exhausting. While checking between patients, you may need to make several rounds before getting done. There may also be days when you have to help transfer a patient or carry multiple heavy items, which eventually take a toll on you. Your feet may swell up, your back may hurt immensely, and there’s also a chance you get injured on the job. Continuously challenging your body can also result in tight knots and injuries which need to get looked after. The human body can handle only so much before you start developing severe muscular injuries or may even hurt your spine.
As a nurse, your physical well-being is as paramount as your presence at the hospital. Unless you’re feeling a hundred percent, you will feel sleepy, tired, and ache. Handling physically daunting work is all about building stamina. You should try hitting the gym on your days off, and if you can’t do that, try jogging or brisk walking at work. A chiropractor can help you adjust your body by popping your bones and fixing your posture. If you’re dealing with deep tissue aches, try getting frequent massages and hot water compression. You should also talk to technicians to lend you a hand while lifting heavy equipment. Don’t forget that while you’re on your feet, take frequent breaks and sit when you can.
No matter how well-intended you are, you may still encounter patients who may bully you. Some may even cross a line and get highly offensive. Your job is to care for patients but not tolerate abuse. Patients who intentionally target you should be reported to your supervisor and immediately ask for a case change. Certain patients may start becoming aggressive because of their medication or if they come into the emergency room drunk.
You need to assess the situation and always have a partner with you in such cases. If the patient can get subdued easily, you may not need to get security inside. However, if a patient tries to injure you, threaten you, or attack you with medical apparatus, you should immediately leave the room and inform security. Don’t put your life on the line and think about your safety before lending your kindness to others.
Nurse staff shortage
The pandemic of 2019 highlighted the massive shortage of nurses in the US. This is not an ideal working environment and can lead to an extensive pile of patient cases at the expense of your health. Managing the world paid for two people or more nurses is not easy. You can get tired, burnt out, and even develop mental health disorders. The more you carry on working with no rest, there’s a chance you may have a breakdown.
The only solution to countering a lack of nurses is to push the hospital to hire more nurses and offer a spot to retired nurses. This division of responsibilities makes your work manageable. If you still feel stressed despite having a large population of nurses to support you, consider changing your schedule or applying for a part-time position. Try not to volunteer for other nurses when you’re low on energy but lend a hand when you can.
Emotionally damaging cases
What makes us human is our connection to each other. You can imagine the grief and pain someone else feels like it’s your own. Not every patient file is digestible. A few cases are traumatizing, inhumane, and deeply aggravated. Working with them may make you feel weak and vulnerable. Your emotional well-being may be in shambles as you witness a tragedy unfold in front of you. Trauma can be unsettling and also seep into you. If you feel isolated, sad, and start experiencing symptoms of depression or panic, get help. There are counselors and mental health specialists available for you to talk to. Acknowledge your grief and pain without letting it consume you.
Nursing is a tedious profession with high rewards. It tests your strength and adaptability as you navigate through case after case. The obstacles you encounter can weigh on you heavily, so dealing with them from the get-go is the only way out. Choose online degrees to build your career, work on your physical endurance and convince the hospital to get more nurses on board. You must deal with abusive patients delicately without putting your life at risk and getting the relevant authorities involved. Never deal with trauma and loss on your own. If you watch a patient go through a traumatic ordeal, talk to a professional about its impact on you.