How nurses can manage stress in the workplace

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Nursing is a demanding profession that requires care and compassion for others. However, it is also a career that can come with its fair share of challenges and rewards. Nurses often work in high-pressure environments, juggling multiple responsibilities and making critical decisions.

In the fast-paced healthcare industry environment, nurses often face contingent emergencies. Whether they are seasoned professionals or novice nurses, emergencies can arise at any moment, and the ability to respond swiftly and effectively is crucial.

Equipping nurses to handle emergencies

Working in a busy ward can be challenging for even seasoned nurses.  However, nurses with advanced qualifications are better equipped to manage these high-pressure situations and deliver optimal care. Continuous learning empowers nurses to navigate emergencies more effectively. PhD in Nursing online programs like that of Wilkes University offer a robust curriculum that blends advanced nursing theory, research, and clinical practice. It goes beyond theoretical learning and equips nurses with the expertise to translate research findings into real-world applications. This provides us with nurses who can anticipate challenges, make sound decisions under pressure, and confidently manage emergencies within the healthcare workplace.

Stress management strategies for nurses

Being a nurse is rewarding and fulfilling but can also be stressful with long hours and intense work environments. Therefore, nurses must have effective stress management strategies to maintain their health and continue providing quality care to their patients.

If left untreated, stress can affect nurses’ physical and mental well-being. From high blood pressure to insomnia and from anxiety to depression, in any profession, the effects of stress can be debilitating. However, there are effective strategies that nurses can implement to manage and reduce stress, ultimately improving their overall health and vitality. Nurse leaders and educators are also vital in creating supportive environments prioritizing stress management. Here are some tips on how nurses can manage stress.

Recognizing triggers

Identifying triggers is a crucial step in effectively managing and reducing anxiety. Understanding what situations, thoughts, or circumstances lead to feelings of stress and anxiety can help nurses develop strategies to cope with them. If a nurse finds it difficult to pinpoint the specific reasons behind their anxiety, keeping a journal can be a helpful tool. By recording emotions, thoughts, and details about the situation, nurses can start to recognize patterns and gain insight into their stressors and how they typically respond to them.

Practicing purposeful communication

One effective strategy for mitigating stress in nursing is practicing purposeful communication. The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognizes the importance of intentional communication in reducing stress levels among nurses. When nurses can openly share their emotions and thoughts, misunderstandings are minimized, leading to more transparent and effective communication. Using effective communication techniques, nurses can improve patient outcomes, enhance teamwork, and reduce stress levels.

Finding a mentor

Finding a mentor is a valuable approach towards managing stress as a nurse. A mentor is someone with experience and knowledge in the nursing field who can provide guidance, support, and encouragement. They can help nurses navigate challenging situations, learn new skills, and develop professionally.

Mentors provide valuable guidance and support, not just for new nurses, but for nurses at all stages of their career. They can offer advice on clinical matters, as well as provide insights on nurse-to-nurse communication, interpersonal relationships, and other common stressors in the healthcare environment. By having a mentor, nurses can gain coping mechanisms to navigate the challenges of their profession.

Establishing ideal coping mechanisms

In today’s fast-paced world, it is crucial for healthcare frontline workers to develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the pressures of daily life. Instead of turning to unhealthy habits like fast food or alcohol, it is important they make conscious choices that promote wellbeing. Regular exercise, whether it is yoga or another physical activity, has been proven to be an excellent stress reliever. Engaging in hobbies and activities that bring joy is also essential. Additionally, getting sufficient, restful sleep plays a crucial role in successful stress management. By adopting these healthy habits, nurses can develop effective coping mechanisms that will positively impact their overall wellbeing.

Finding some ‘you’ time

To maintain wellbeing, it is essential for nurses to prioritize self-care. One crucial method of coping with nursing stress is taking some ‘me time’. Nurses, in particular, may find it beneficial to schedule moments of relaxation and rejuvenation after long workweeks or shifts. Whether it’s taking a leisurely walk, sleeping in late, or indulging in a cup of coffee while reading a good book, these small moments can make a significant difference. Additionally, incorporating regular meditation, yoga, or massage treatments into their routine can further enhance self-care for nurses.

Seeking help

Managing stress is crucial for maintaining overall wellbeing and productivity in the field of nursing. While it may seem challenging to navigate through stressful situations independently, seeking assistance can make a significant difference for nurses in their stress management journey. Help and support from reliable family members and friends can provide valuable guidance and understanding. Additionally, nurses can benefit from services offered at the workplace through available employee assistance programs, which provide access to counseling, online resources, and referrals to mental health professionals if needed. Consulting with a psychologist can help nurses develop effective stress management strategies and break free from detrimental habits.

Establishing boundaries

Establishing firm personal and professional boundaries is crucial for nurses to maintain a healthy work-life balance. It’s important for nurses who are ‘on call’ on certain days, but it becomes even more important on their off days. To achieve this, it’s essential for nurses to disconnect from work by turning off workplace texts, email alerts, and other notifications. Similarly, nurses should also create boundaries that prevent work responsibilities interfering with personal or family matters. They should avoid taking personal calls or continually checking online digital devices at work.

Skills to deal with emergency situations more effectively

Emergencies in the realm of healthcare can be challenging for nurses, requiring quick thinking, effective communication, and the ability to make critical decisions under pressure. To deal with these situations more effectively, nurses can adopt certain skills and strategies for the emergency department setting. From developing strong clinical skills to enhancing communication and teamwork, nurses can play a vital role in saving lives and providing exceptional care during these situations.

Emergency situations are a constant reality in the nursing profession, and being prepared to handle them effectively can mean the difference between life and death for patients. An emergency nurse must possess a wide range of skills and knowledge to navigate these high-pressure situations confidently. While it’s normal to feel unsure in the face of emergency situations, there are specific skills that nurses can adopt to increase their effectiveness and provide the best possible care. Some of these skills include the following.

Using patient assessments

Maintaining accurate patient assessments is a critical skill for nurses to adopt when dealing with emergency situations. This can be achieved by implementing a systematic and thorough assessment process, which will help nurses gather critical information about the patient’s condition, identify potential risks, and make informed decisions about the appropriate interventions.

When faced with a time-sensitive and rapidly changing medical crisis, accurate and thorough assessments are essential for making informed decisions and providing appropriate care. By effectively documenting and communicating patient information, nurses can ensure continuity of care and improve patient outcomes.

Developing cultural competency

Nurses are often faced with emergency situations involving patients from different cultural backgrounds. They must be prepared to handle a wide range of scenarios, from life-threatening injuries to sudden medical emergencies. To effectively handle these situations and provide the best possible care, nurses must develop and adopt cultural competency skills.

Cultural competency refers to the ability to understand, appreciate, and effectively interact with individuals from different cultures. By enhancing their cultural competency, nurses can improve patient outcomes, reduce disparities in healthcare, and create a more inclusive and equitable healthcare system. It will also help them understand and respect the diverse cultural backgrounds and beliefs of patients, to help them provide more personalized and sensitive care.

Learning to de-escalate

Nurses who work in emergency situations often find themselves faced with difficult and potentially volatile situations. Whether it’s dealing with patients experiencing mental health challenges or managing the emotional distress of friends and family members, these emergency situations can quickly escalate if not handled properly. That’s why learning effective de-escalation techniques is an essential skill for nurses in these high-pressure environments.

Patients and their loved ones are often experiencing high levels of stress and emotions during emergencies, which can lead to escalated situations and even workplace violence. Verbal de-escalation techniques are typically the first line of defense, but other nonverbal methods may also be necessary.

Patient advocacy

To effectively navigate high-pressure situations, nurses can adopt specific skills that enhance their ability to advocate for their patients. Patient advocacy, in particular, is a vital skill that empowers nurses to prioritize their patients’ needs, ensure their rights are upheld, and communicate on their behalf with other healthcare professionals.

Patient advocacy typically involves advocating for the rights, needs, and well-being of patients, and it is particularly important in emergency situations where clear communication, assertiveness, and quick decision-making are required. By acquiring and implementing patient advocacy skills, nurses can further enhance the quality of care they provide, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

Remaining calm under pressure

Emergency situations in healthcare settings can be highly challenging for nurses. These situations require quick thinking, effective decision-making, and the ability to remain calm under pressure. The ability to stay calm is crucial for maintaining a safe environment for all involved.

This skill can make all the difference in providing effective care and ensuring positive patient outcomes. Nurses who can keep a level head and think clearly in the face of chaos are better equipped to make quick and accurate decisions, communicate effectively with the healthcare team, and provide the best possible care to their patients.

Competent leadership

Effective leadership is an essential skill for nurses when dealing with emergency situations. In high-stress environments, such as emergency rooms and critical care units, nurses must make quick decisions, manage teams, and communicate effectively. Competent leadership not only ensures the smooth coordination of a healthcare team during emergencies, but also helps nurses to effectively communicate, delegate tasks, prioritize patient care, and manage critical situations with expertise.

Managing stressful and emergency situations with expertise

It is crucial for a Registered Nurse (RN) to possess the necessary emergency nursing skills to effectively manage stressful situations. These skills are essential in providing prompt and efficient care to patients in critical conditions. To become a skilled and confident emergency nurse, it is important for individuals to advance their nursing education. They must hone these skills until they become second nature in an emergency, to allow them to develop the best action plan in times of need. Nurses can enroll in an online PhD program today and embark on a journey towards becoming an expert in emergency nursing.

Author Profile

The Editorial Team at Lake Oconee Health is made up of skilled health and wellness writers and experts, led by Daniel Casciato who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We aim to provide our readers with valuable insights and guidance to help them lead healthier and happier lives.