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Throughout our lives, we are always going to be in situations where we will need to deal with difficult people whether they are physicians in the work environment, co-workers or people in our personal life. In my 35 years of experience in healthcare administration and as a CNO, I never tolerated abuse of my staff in any way, and over these years I had been involved in several investigations that have led to the discipline action or loss of privileges for abusive physicians. Abuse of physicians by nursing staff was also not tolerated and probably as many nurses lost their positions for inappropriate behavior over the years. Especially with the need for healthcare workers to function as a team, it is critical for people to treat each other with respect and dignity. All that said, there are still going to be situations where nurses are abused by physicians and other people in the work environment and there are things to do to prevent, minimize and resolve such issues.
Abuse from physicians is difficult to handle because nurses are, for the most part, under pressure throughout the course of the work day. When abusively confronted, there is a loss of balance and personal control that arises first followed by an assault to the ego, which evokes an emotional response of anger, hurt and insignificance. Read more…
Does your life feel like a tug-of-war? Nurses continuously juggle the demands of their personal and professional lives. At work, they provide high touch-high tech care for sick and dying patients. In addition, many nurses perform ‘double duty’—caring for friends and family members when not at work. Being pulled in so many directions can seem overwhelming. Learn how to manage stress and regain your balance by taking a few small steps each day.
Kayla is a nurse on a busy telemetry unit; she is married, has two school-aged children and helps care for her aging mother. Today she agreed to work another double shift to cover a last minute call-in. Kayla slammed the phone down after arguing with her husband Mike—he resents Kayla choosing her job over the needs of their family. Kayla was already feeling inadequate when her friend Terry excitedly announced, “I passed my certification exam.” Although Kayla bought a review book six months ago, she hasn’t started studying yet. She worries, “I hate not being there for my family… I am falling behind in my career and I never have time for myself.” Kayla felt a wave of nervous tension in the pit of her stomach. Tom, the patient care technician, interrupted Kayla’s thoughts, “Mr. Read more…
We live in a world of constant pressure and stress, which seems to be getting more challenging all the time. Especially in healthcare, organizations are forced to do more with less, putting pressure on the staff to exceed the superhuman pace that they are currently working at. Nurses are especially vulnerable to this level of stress because it seems that we, as a profession, are always “picking up the slack” when cutbacks are made in other departments or holds are placed on hiring. I used to laugh in my leadership positions when the CEOs would say, “but we’re not cutting nursing positions”, and, as a CNO, I would argue in a sense, yes, we are. When nurses “pick up the slack”, nurses are absent from the bedside, performing tasks that can be done by other people and at a premium cost. As nurses, we can also add on the emotional stress of what we deal with on a daily basis, followed by the tremendous responsibility of having precious lives in our hands. Oh, and let us compound the work stress by layering on family responsibilities, school responsibilities, day to day activities of survival, and, let’s not forget, somewhere in there we need to sleep. Read more…
As nurses, you are certainly aware that stress is one of the major medical problems of our times. Studies show that nurses are the single sickest group of workers in the workforce. Ouch! This is appalling. When I worked nights in the PCU, I noticed that there were many more obese nurses working nights than days. What have you observed? In my experience, I have noticed that without exception, obese nurses apply to work nights. They want to work nights. These dedicated, long term night shift nurses also are on multiple meds and often discuss how many meds they are on, compare them, etc. What strikes me is that they speak about it in such a way as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. Please understand, I am writing this out of compassion for my fellow nurses, not as a critique. I am telling the truth, and yes, sometimes the truth hurts. We all know by now that working nights increases your risk for disease.
A nurse is the classic poster child for, “Is this job making me sick?”
Talk about, “the patient complained of pain on a scale of…” Many nurses consistently complain of pain. As a nurse working in the HR department of my hospital, shockingly, I have researched that stress related disability claims are estimated to increase by 50% in the next decade. Read more…
Nurses are the backbone of any successful healthcare facility and are prone to crippling stress. Stress related chronic anxiety is now the major medical complaint of our times. Stress is a killer, literally. Constant thinking, planning, worrying, wanting, and doing is literally burning our brain cells, releasing toxic hormones into the blood stream, causing harmful sleep deprivation, wrinkling our skin, de-calcifying our bones and wreaking havoc with our insulin levels…the nurse becomes the patient. Help is on the way!
As a practicing RN and certified medical yoga teacher, I have helped to heal over three thousand patients and students over the past fifteen years in Canada and the United States. How? Yoga is an ancient 5000 year old art and science which utilizes diaphragmatic breathing, gentle stretches and relaxation techniques to increase quality of life. Yoga Nursing® is the holistic, healing practice of caring and compassion provided by licensed nursing professionals who are also certified yoga teachers. I took training in Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga, in the mid 1990’s with the brilliant Deepak Chopra and David Simon Mds. At that time, I was a full time yoga teacher and they inspired me. I thought “Wow! If I became a nurse as well as being a yoga teacher, I could really make a difference in the quality of people’s lives.” Once, while I was still in nursing school teaching a yoga class, one of my students called me the yoga nurse! Read more…
Nursing is hard emotional, physical, and spiritual work—it is also very rewarding and satisfying. Tension and turmoil come with the territory of being a nurse. Are your feelings of frustration simple stress or something more serious? Decide for yourself: is it stress, burnout, or compassion fatigue?
Stress is a naturally occurring phenomenon in the life of a nurse. As a nurse, you regularly witness the pain and suffering of others. You work under demanding conditions in stressful environments. Staffing issues, budgetary constraints, and regulatory scrutiny complicate the care you provide.
Stress is like a storm—anything from a quick cloudburst to a hurricane. Like storms, stress follows a predictable life cycle—there is a preparation phase, a time to “ride out the storm”, and a recovery phase. All storms eventually pass.
To prepare for life’s storms build your support network, practice authentic self-care, and study stress management strategies. During the storm, use your resources, implement your survival skills, and ask for support. After the storm, survey the damage, recover, and prepare for the next storm.
Bonnie is a staff nurse working on a busy medical-surgical floor. After arriving at work this morning she learned she would be in charge and that one of the nurses had called in sick. Read more…
Most of the time, nurses are also employees. We go to work, and we leave work. While we are at our workplace, we practice nursing. Does that mean that I am only a nurse when I am on the clock and cease being a nurse when I am not at work? When that time card gets punched as I leave my workplace, do my nursing skills remain behind or do they come with me?
My husband is a Christian pastor, and we (along with our daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters) are currently living in the Eastern European country of Romania. Our mission here is open-ended, meaning we have no idea how long we will be here. This also means, at least for the time being, that my American registered nursing license is nothing more than a piece of paper. I have no workplace in which I can use my nursing skills. Am I still a nurse?
To address this question, we need to look at what nursing really is. Is nursing a job or a way of life? For example, we have all received the after-hours phone calls…from neighbors, family members, or friends who are asking if we can give them advice based on our medical knowledge. Read more…
How many legacies are you creating today?
You need to know this as a nurse: you’re not treating one patient at one particular moment in time. You’re leaving a legacy. Your actions are woven into the patient’s lifelong health tapestry.
As a lifelong patient, trust me on this one. Forty years of close care by the medical community has given me insight not commonly gained.
I marvel at your dedication, day in and day out, through cranky coworkers and perturbed patients.
Many times over, I’ve seen you at your best. Many times over, you’ve seen me at my worst. And still you treat me with kindness and respect.
My story began forty years ago at age seven, when I was unexpectedly admitted to the hospital. It was my first time away from home on my own. I was terrified. My diagnosis-finding stay extended out to three months, smack over the entire holiday season, November through January.
Either Mom or Becky, our good friend and neighbor, was at my side on a daily basis. As each evening fell, though, of course, my visitors needed to leave.
At 3 am, it was the nurses who kept me company. It was nurses who offered me a cool, life-giving sip of water (I’ve not tasted anything as refreshing since then), nurses who soothed my burning forehead, who checked on me when sleep wouldn’t come, and from whom I tried to hide my tear-soaked pillow in the enveloping darkness. Read more…
Nurses face ethical dilemmas on a daily basis regardless of where they practice. No matter where nurses function in their varied roles, they are faced with ethical decisions that can impact them and their patients. There is no “right” solution to an ethical dilemma. So what is an ethical dilemma? It is a problem without a satisfactory resolution. The significance of ethical decision making lays in the fact that very different ethical choices regarding the same ethical dilemma can be made; resulting in neither choice being a “right or wrong” decision.
Ethics involve doing “good” and causing no harm. But how one defines what is ethical can vary differently from nurse to nurse. Classes on the principles of ethics give the nurse the tools to base ethical decisions upon. However, this knowledge is then be shaped by the values, beliefs and experiences of the nurse. Consequently, very different choices may be made involving the same dilemma.
There are many ethical issues that nurses can be faced with, including: quality versus quantity of life, pro-choice versus pro-life, freedom versus control, truth telling versus deception, distribution of resources, and empirical knowledge versus personal beliefs. Quantity may address how long a person lives or perhaps how many people will be affected by the decision. Read more…
Since we nurses are proud to deliver evidence-based care, we cannot neglect the proven benefits of prayer in healing our patients.
Gallup polls show that 95% of Americans believe in God. 90% pray. With these statistics, how can we not offer prayer as an adjunct to their healing? Consider this research proving the health benefits:
- Patients affiliated with a religious community had 50% shorter hospital stays than those with none. Those who attend church, temple, or mosque regularly have half the levels of the blood protein interleukin-6, which, in high levels, is associated with AIDS, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. (Duke University’s Center for the Study of Religion, Spirituality, and Health)
- Prayer and religious rituals can relieve stress. Praying 10-20 minutes a day can decrease blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and metabolic rates. (Harvard’s Mind/Body Institute)
- Patients who were prayed for but didn’t know it had fewer life-threatening complications and needed less medication. (San Francisco Medical Center)
- There is now convincing evidence that people who have strong spiritual beliefs do better, even in serious illness. (St Luke’s Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO.
- Over half of America’s medical schools now teach courses in religion and spirituality and the important impact on patient health.