DiversityNursing Blog

Support Programs To Help Nurses Deal With Stress

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jan 30, 2020 @ 02:46 PM

supportIn order for a healthcare system to be successful in having high engagement, job satisfaction and retention, the Nursing workforce should be able to combat the stressors of the job and burnout.

Nurses can better accomplish this by having help from peer support groups and mindfulness programs.

According to a report from the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), between 35% and 54% of Nurses and Doctors experience burnout. Among medical students and residents, it is as high as 60%.

Symptoms, the NAM report said, include emotional exhaustion, cynicism, loss of enthusiasm and joy in their work and increasing detachment from their patients and the patients’ ailments. The problem has been linked to higher rates of depression, substance abuse and suicide.

Many institutions are implementing stress management and self-care programs to provide caregivers with easy-to-use tools and resources to build their resilience and help them cope.

The Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi implemented a new mindfulness program known as the ‘Compassionate Intension Program.’ The sessions introduce caregivers to mindfulness as a wellness tool they can utilize in both their workplace and personal lives. Currently, there are three sessions in place:

  • In Tune Tuesdays: Held biweekly, ‘In Tune Tuesdays’ are 20-minute classes designed to further educate attendees on mindfulness and how to improve mindfulness in their work environment. The classes are held at three different times to accommodate caregiver schedules.
  • Mindfulness Rounding: Also a biweekly activity, ‘Mindfulness Rounding’ features a team of mindfulness experts who visit clinical units. The experts conduct learning huddles and one-on-one conversations with caregivers, sharing quick tips. Their pocket cards or guides offer information on easy-to-implement mindfulness techniques.
  • Introduction to Mindfulness Workshop: This 8-week workshop, featuring 1-hour weekly sessions, was developed around the evidence-based standards of mindfulness experts, including, Jon Kabit-Zinn, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Center for Mindfulness, and Richard Davidson, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Healthy Minds and Oxford University’s Mindfulness Center. It offers a deeper dive into various mindfulness techniques.

Johns Hopkins Hospital, Pediatric Nurse, Cheryl Connors, RN, MS, created a peer program to provide immediate support for health providers affected by stressful cases.

The Resilience in Stressful Events (RISE) program was developed with a Pediatric Chaplain, a Patient Safety Director, a Doctoral Student, and General Internist Albert Wu, MD, FACP.

According to the American College of Physicians, the RISE program provides a team of 39 peer responders who volunteer their time to support those who call the service. RISE team members include Nurses, Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Respiratory Therapists, Pastoral Caregivers, and Social Workers. They undergo didactic, video-based, and role-playing training.

The team has been called by more than 700 Johns Hopkins employees. The hospital previously had a program offering free professional counseling but, Ms. Connors said, “They actually prefer somebody who knows what they're going through—another health caregiver who can relate—and when they need it, not a week later.”

As supporters of patients and their families, Nurses deal with a lot of stress. Health systems can help their Nurses by surrounding them with support and offering them the tools to overcome and cope with stress so they can provide the best care for their patients and for themselves.

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Topics: peer support, burnout, self-care, mindfulness, managing stress, stressed nurses, support programs, nursing is stressful, nurse retention, stress management

Managing Stress During The Holidays

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Dec 06, 2019 @ 02:32 PM

holidaystressThe holidays are meant to bring feelings of joy and cheer, but this time of year can also bring a lot of stress. No matter what holiday you celebrate, this season can affect us all. Especially Nurses, who work in an already stressful environment, as you juggle more difficult demands of your time, emotions and patience. 

Most people celebrate the holidays with family and friends at home, but you miss many holidays to take care of your patients. Having celebrations with your coworkers is nice, but nothing feels like home. Some families will try to move dates around so they can all celebrate together.

If you're missing holidays to treat patients, then those patients are missing out on their holiday celebrations too. Spreading extra holiday cheer can make you both feel some joy. Fortunately, you get to go home at the end of the shift.

Another stressor can be financial as people go crazy buying gifts and worry how to pay for them. Try not to overspend. Perhaps you’re crafty and can make some of those gifts.

The loss of loved ones is more difficult this time of year. In your profession, you witness the passing of patients and often you’re coping with your own feelings of loss as you try to console the family. Lean on fellow coworkers and managers to help relieve some of the stress. Don't hold it all in and try to get through it alone.

In colder climates, as the season changes to winter, many people are affected by SAD seasonal affective disorder. With less daylight, spending more time indoors and the sense of isolation it can bring, dealing with the cold, and extreme weather conditions, can be quite depressing unless… you love outdoor winter sports! To combat SAD, try light therapy, exercise, planning social get-togethers, talking to a mental health professional, or using medication to help lighten your mood.

The Mayo Clinic offers more tips to help with holiday stress.

  • Acknowledge your feelings. It's OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can't force yourself to be happy just because it's the holiday season.
  • Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events.
  • Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don't try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
  • Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity.
  • Don't abandon healthy habits. Don't let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
  • Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
  • Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

At the end of the day, no one is going to be happy around you if you’re not happy. It’s so important to take care of YOU. We’ve offered some suggestions to help you deal with stress during the holidays. Now it’s up to you to choose what will work for you. Good Luck!

Happy Holidays, Peace and Joy from your friends at DiversityNursing.com!

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Topics: Seasonal affective disorder, holiday stress, stress during the holidays, managing stress, manage stress

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