This Nurses Month, Let’s...
As nurses, the world regards you as heroes.
But the fact is, you’re also human.
Humans who have spent the last few years dealing with an unprecedented pandemic. Stress and burnout are real factors affecting the lives of too many nurses in the hospitals across the country.
This Nurses Month, we want to create more useful conversation around this topic. And to do that, we're passing the mic to nurses, learning first hand about their struggles with stress and the ways they've found to cope.
Keep reading and explore the videos below, then join the conversation on our Instagram page. Before you can care for others, you have to care for yourself. Let's help more nurses do just that; let's start to Heal the Heart of Healthcare.
What Nurses Had To Say
I don’t think nurses want to be called heroes. I think mostly we just want to be understood.
You can be the best nurse and best doctor in the world and it doesn’t mean that everyone gets better.
If you internalize all the stuff, if you internalize all that trauma, you will crack.”
It’s important that we remind ourselves of what it means to be fully human. That we remind ourselves of the good things in life. And that’s going to look different for everybody. That could be dancing or painting or a thousand other things…
But whatever that thing is that makes you feel alive, you have to be intentional about doing that thing.”
Sometimes I need to take a step back, realize I am human, I can only do so much in a day. Hospitals run 24/7. That you come in, you help out as much as you can for your 12 hours and when you leave your work has to stay at work sometimes. You need to regather yourself and refocus.”
Some of the days when I’m off I like to establish a self-care routine whether that be giving myself a facial, sleeping, having a good sleep hygiene is important, eating a nutritious meal, hydrating your body, moving your body. For me, I like spending twenty or thirty minutes outdoors.”
Everyone is different and being able to find our own outlets to help channel some of that overwhelming stress will help us with our mental health, reduce burnout and just keep us balanced.
When COVID hit, it was a difficult time…I decided to take up travel nursing so I could help out areas that were impacted the most.”
For me I love to hunt, fish, workout, go out in the woods and walk with my dogs.
We just need to start thinking about what makes us truly happy so we can start taking better care of ourselves and preserve our mental health.”
Simple strategies that can make a big difference.
Everyone deals with the stresses of nursing differently, but there are some things you can do to help minimize the effects of stress and reduce your chances of burnout. Here are just a few simple tips.
Take a break
It's crucial to set time aside for you every day. Just a few minutes can make a big difference. Go outside, take a few deep breaths, call a loved one or do anything else that helps you relax.
Put yourself first
Self care is critical to relieving stress. Try to maintain a work-life balance and use your time off to rest and recharge.
Ask for help
If the pressure of your job is catching up with you and you're having trouble regulating your stress level, get support. Ask your agency (or facility, if you're a staff nurse) if there are any mental health resources available to you.
The information above was provided by Aetna™
“I’m a NICU nurse in a neo natal ICU. I’ve been in NICU for 8 or 9 years.
Recently we had a micro premi baby that was born at less than 25 weeks. I worked 3 days in a row taking care of that baby and for one of the first times in my career, I didn’t know if that baby was going to make it by the end of my shift.”
As a nurse, it's frustrating when you’ve done all the nursing interventions and you just can't seem to fix them and fix the issues. On days like that, I depend on my co-workers…I am grateful to work with such wonderful co-workers.
When I got home, I was able to get out and surf and that made a huge difference. It helped me unwind. Decompress. Those things are very important because burn out is real.”
Did you know?
Aya clinicians have access to a robust Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP is a confidential, 24/7 program available to you, your family and all household members at no cost. The EAP can help you and your household members receive immediate assistance and identify resources to solve personal problems, including:
- Mental health and other emotional issues
- Legal questions or concerns
- Childcare or senior care concerns
- Financial problems
- Ask your travel experience specialist for details.
Therese M. PACU RN
I’ve been in the operating room for the last 27 years. And I absolutely love it. I have found my calling I love being a patient advocate….
In nursing, we’re seen by outsiders as superheroes when in actuality, we’re human beings…”
We’ve all had those bad days no matter what specialty you’re in….I’ve seen staff really struggling…
The key to the whole thing is being supportive of each other and being able to talk to people.
And have somebody else to talk to that understands what you’regoing through.”
How Hospitals Can Help
Throughout the pandemic, we conducted extensive interviews with over 30 nurses. We found that the physical and emotional traumas of COVID-19 were driving nurses to leave bedside nursing or the profession altogether.
While there is no magic solution to many of the mental health problems nurses are facing, our research also found that hospitals can proactively address these issues with a combination of empathy, understanding and intervention.
Hospitals can take the initiative to check in with nurses and ask simple questions like, “Are you okay?” Then make it a priority to heal and advance mental well-being with targeted interventions.
Connect the work back to the why
Nurses want to make a difference. Hospitals can keep nurses connected and motivated by finding better ways to celebrate the differences they make and contributing to their sense of mission.
Empathize and understand
Take the time to understand each employee’s current happiness and stress levels to predict their likelihood to remain employed.
It’s okay if you need a little bit of extra help – whether that be therapy, journaling or taking medication. It’s all okay. I’ve done all those things.
One of the things that got me through it was getting my dog Meko…he’s that companion I have him with me every step of the way…He’s gone more places than most adults have. I look forward to coming home to him after work….We kind of make the perfect team.”
I think people think nurses go to work, they don’t take it home with them. And no we don’t take home the work. But we do take home the emotions and the things we saw that day and especially during Covid there were so many deliveries where there was no partner by their side and I was their support person.
I’ve been in therapy for two and half years now. I think that’s one of the best ways that I have learned to cope and to feel what I’m feeling.”
More Aya Benefits
Aya clinicians can enroll in our comprehensive insurance coverage that starts the first day of their assignment, but we also allow time off between assignments without coverage lapsing! Speak to your recruiter for specific details.
Virtual fitness classes
We offer free yoga, meditation, Barre and boot camp classes. You and your friends are welcome to attend! Right now, all of our classes are virtual. Take a look at our Virtual Wellness Schedule for the lineup!
Career opportunities that meet you where you are
Want a local contract near family for a few months? Are you ready settle down with a staff job? Prefer to just pick up a few per diem shifts? Whatever your personal and professional goals are, Aya can help you achieve them. Speak to your recruiter about the wide variety of career opportunities available to you.