1. I remind myself, “Self, as long as your patients are alive and pain-free at the moment, your day isn’t that bad and half the battle is over…the other half is charting to prove that my patients are alive and pain-free.” Deep breath, looooong sigh and carry on, girl, because you’ve got this!”
2. Maybe eat lunch or go pee…those are always nice. LOL!
3. We adopted a five-second dance-off at the top of the hour. Regardless of what you’re doing in the ER, when the music comes over the intercom, you have to stop and break it down! Doesn’t go over well with the director, but what he doesn’t know…and it really works!
4. I use my break to call the ones I love. My husband and my mom are great for reminding me why I do this job. My mom—one of my favorite people to call—is also a nurse, and has done three deployments in more than 25 years of military nursing. If I think I’m having a bad day, I know for sure she’s gotten through worse ones, and she gives great advice. A little perspective goes a long way.
5. Hand puppets. Life is better with hand puppets. Seriously. They make you laugh.
6. Sometimes I look at job listings for positions outside of the medical field. Every time I read them, it reminds me I would never, ever make as huge an impact on anyone’s lives like I can in nursing.
7. I’m gonna go with “drink.” After work, of course.
8. As corny as it is, I go into the bathroom, stare at myself in the mirror and start making funny faces. Gives me a chance for a breather, and hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself, then who can?
9. We send jokes to other departments via fax or tube system to try to brighten someone else’s day. It’s very rewarding.
10. I remind myself that if I’m having to nurse someone for any reason, they are having a worse day than I am. A smile goes a long way, and seeing and making someone else smile ALWAYS makes me feel better…and them, too!