The healthcare profession is both rewarding and demanding. Doctors and nurses are under constant pressure to give their 100% without leaving any room for error. The incredibly fast-paced and highly competitive healthcare facilities can induce excessive stress and anxiety, especially for nurses. It is not easy for a nurse to remain calm all day, treat difficult patients, keep showing compassion, and then come home fresh.
The stress levels are at an all-time high, especially in the initial years of nursing. Since nurses are still trying to process how everything works and adjust to a new environment in their first year, they can easily lose grip of handling the stress. Fortunately, there are some practical ways, such as the following, to take the stress of initial year in nursing like a champ:
1.Get organized and compartmentalize:
Nurses have a natural inclination to jump right in and do everything for their patients. In your initial years of nursing, you’ll constantly find yourself all over the place and juggling multiple things at the same time. You need to stop, take a deep breath, and get organized.
Fortunately, if you are working and seeking higher education, there is a way; earning an online degree to free up time and focus on your job. Some nurses are already pursuing higher education, such as an online MSN, to concentrate on a full-time job.
Pursuing higher education not only allows you manage your schedule, but also allows your mind to be more productive, while gaining knowledge that’ll help you progress in your career. Studying for a dnp program online will help give you an edge over other candidates who may suffer due to lack of knowledge medical facilities need in nurses.
Moving on with maintaining a schedule, you should make a timetable and keep a checklist of all your tasks. For instance, if it says in your plan that it’s a 15-minute break, don’t skip it to help out a friend or go unnecessarily out of your way to care for patients. If you want to avoid burnouts in your first year, try practicing compartmentalization, as it is a great way to stay organized.
This means that you have to balanceyour timetable when considering nursing as a career.
2. Create your coping strategies:
It is best to come up with your coping mechanism because you know yourself the best. You can take inspiration from others and research strategies that work best in an emergency. For instance, if you feel stressed and cannot continue working, you should develop an emergency coping strategy that will work quickly.
You can try removing yourself from that environment for a few minutes, immediately do a couple of breathing exercises, or sit in a quiet place until the commotion passes. You can also practice simple relaxation techniques such as counting backward, listening to music, taking a quick bite, or listening to some music, whatever makes you happy.
3. Socialize outside of work:
After working more than forty hours a week, it is hard to have friends who don’t belong to your workplace. In some ways, as a nurse, it is convenient to have friends who understand you and your profession, but that’s precisely why you sometimes can’t escape the stressof professional matters.
You are likely to discuss workplace matters with your colleagues even when you aren’t at work, which doesn’t help you cope with your stress. That is why it is essential to not only have friends outside of work, but you are also good at communicating your matters to them.
It would be best if you spent time catching up with some old friends at their house or go to local meetups. Having a social circle that talks about different things other than work are a great stress buster.
4. Seek advice and help when needed:
As a first-year nurse, you must think that you have to tough it out and show no weakness because you’ll be kicked out if you do. That is incorrect and one of the worst ways to inflict work pressure onto yourself.
Understandably, it is a new job, and sooner or later, you will struggle with something. This is when you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions or take advice from a colleague. There is no shame in having a mentor who has gone through the worst and came out with a brilliant career.
When you talk to someone in your shoes, it automatically reduces the fear, anxiety, and stress you feel at the new job. You have to be good at communicating your problems because poor communication leads to even more stressful situations.
5. Do not neglect yourself:
The nursing profession may indulge you in looking out for your patients more than yourself but neglecting yourself only adds to the stress. It’s your first year of nursing, and you are already physically exhausted, your health is deteriorating, and the pressure is getting to your head. These aren’t good signs for someone who just started their career.
Therefore, you must make it a habit of taking care of yourself often and dedicate some ‘me’ time to yourself. It would help if you tried to leave work matters at work and rejuvenate for the rest of the time. When your shift ends, you can stash away your phone, put on some soothing music, and let the stress leave your body. You should also exercise regularly, have a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest.
All healthcare professionals are superheroes. Nurses particularly have a more demanding job because they have to put patient care above everything else. The job can take its toll on you in the first few years; however, if you learn to handle the stress initially, you will be able to enjoy a long and healthy nursing career.
To cope with stress, you should learn to seek help when needed, try talking it out with your friends, pay extra attention to self-care, and follow a healthy lifestyle.