SustainHealth: Self-Care for Nurses and Healthcare Workers
Nurses and Healthcare workers are always giving to others, by the nature of their vocation, that’s what makes them incredible humans, they see love and loss unfold before them every day and are incredibly resilient people.
However, I know from my work with nurses and HCW’s over the years that burnout and exhaustion is REAL!
If I were to summarise the common self-care issues or concerns, I have heard from my candidates over the years, they would fall into the below categories:
- Overworked and understaffed or under-resourced, overtime, long hours, delayed handovers, little in the way of on-boarding, training or support, not taking breaks (even for the loo at times), lack of leave
- Bullying and workplace conflict, systemic patterns of hierarchy or dated ways of thinking and working, personality conflicts, medical staff vs Healthcare staff narratives etc
- Underappreciated or taken for granted by their team, workplace or boss (and rarely but sometimes their patients or clients)
- Work impacting on home lives, wider family or childcare arrangements, out early, home late, called in etc
- Shift Work – messing up the body clock, exercise, appetite, sleep patterns
One of the questions we ask our candidates when we register them is why do you do, what you do?
The common answer is – “To help others”, “my patients or clients”, “to make a difference” or “I was born to do this” and I don’t doubt that for one second, given some of the stresses our nurses and HCW’s face in their job day to day.
So, if I were to offer my best self-care tips or advice here (using my experience from the corporate world) I always suggest:
- Set professional workplace boundaries and don’t bend here, you need to leave on time and take your breaks (unless it’s unsafe/ critical for you or others to do so), turn off all workplace digital notifications when you are not at work, if you are not your best self you can’t do your job to the best of your ability and its counterproductive to all involved, including your lovely families
- Book your annual leave in advance for the year, have something to look forward to outside of your work and try and consider planning around public holidays to get a few days extra here and there (unless it’s your turn to work Xmas / NY etc of course)
- Prep your food to help with cravings and shift work, I know it’s hard to stick to a healthy and balanced diet if you are always on the run
- Report poor behaviours or performance at work, never suffer in silence and consider reflecting on this with a professional, we recommend CRANAPlus to our candidates, it’s a 24/7 free support and counselling service for healthcare professionals and their families
- Set up your morning and evening routine, how we start and end our days really does make a difference – reading, a cup of tea, meditation and bath a class or catch up with a friend – whatever works for you, do it!
- Move; a quick 10/ 15 min walk is all you need to set and refresh
If you are looking to take your first or next step into remote nursing or seeking that perfect candidate, we would love to talk further.
Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org 02 8274 4677