If you have worked 12 hour shifts long enough, you begin to convince yourself that you really do not require more than a few hours of sleep to function. Perhaps your plan is to “catch up” on your days off. The fact is, a tired nurse can be a dangerous nurse. The American Nurse’s Association ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN states, “research shows that prolonged work hours can hinder a nurse’s performance and have negative impacts on patients’ safety.” “We’re concerned not only with greater likelihood for errors, diminished problem solving, slower reaction time and other performance deficits related to fatigue, but also with dangers posed to nurses’ own health.” The following are a few tips for the nurse insomniac….
Compassion fatigue, first described over twenty years ago in text by a nurse (Joinson, 1992) can be defined as the “loss of the ability to nurture.” It is considered a “cost of caring.” While the symptoms are similar to those of burnout, the cause and onset are different. Burn out is a result of job related dissatisfaction while compassion fatigue is more directly patient related. Burn out occurs gradually over time while compassion fatigue can be more acute in its onset. Could you be experiencing compassion fatigue?
You have probably defended your role as a nurse in conversation with friends at least once in your career. For the lay person, the nursing role may still be unclear. The image of a subservient woman with a clip board chasing a doctor every step of the way may come to mind. This image is long outdated. Nurses have had to fight for years for their rightful place in the medical team and be seen as the rightful and equal to the doctor. The same goes for the nursing assistant or CNA. He or she deserves equal respect and equal voice as they are just as vital as any other member of the patient’s team. The following are just a few reasons why a nursing assistant is so vital to the team….
After working many years in nursing, one learns to temper emotions. Perhaps it is a self defense mechanism. Perhaps it something we learn like any other part of our practice. A nurse can experience a wide range of emotions in one single shift. The important thing is learning how to temper these emotions to get through said shift without becoming completely apathetic…
Compassion is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as the “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” Compassion is synonymous with our work in healthcare. Our job is to care for our patients with the hope to relieve some suffering. The following are just a few ways to be a more compassionate nurse….
In honor of National Nurses Week, what better way to celebrate than to honor what defines a nurse? Florence Nightingale described nursing as “no man, not even a doctor, ever gives any other definition of what a nurse should be than this – ‘devoted and obedient.’ This definition would do just as well for a porter. It might even do for a horse. It would not do for a policeman.”
While the struggle is still real, nurses have since earned their rightful place among medical professionals. Fast forward to modern nursing where the American Nursing Association defines nursing as “the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, facilitation of healing, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations.
Through the years, the definition of a nurse has evolved, but there are a few key characteristics that remain constant…..
We are nurses. We witness joy and sorrow and amid what is all in a day’s work, we thrive in the service of others. It fulfills us. Nursing teaches us how to be better human beings. In a world where selflessness has become a sign of weakness, it is now more than ever that we need to step up and model the art of compassion.
Showing up to work does not mean that you are gifted a neatly wrapped patient assignment. The same goes for your coworkers. What may seem like the smooth sailing assignment can easily shift to the assignment from hell. Working as a team is essential on any unit. No one person can possibly manage an emergency alone, sudden unexpected admission alone, or the sick call that leaves the unit short staffed. It is the strength of many that keeps the unit running.
Whether you are a nurse or a nurse in training, you are likely a well-organized individual. It comes with the territory. It is important to have routines. One routine that is well worth having is a designated nursing bag that you can easily grab on your way out the door without thinking twice about its contents. I have been asked time and again by my coworkers what exactly is in my work bag. I thought, why not share with you? The following are just a few of my own personal essentials….
Nursing is a calling, not just a profession. Most nurses are innate caregivers. Perhaps you became a nurse after caring for a sick loved one or friend? Perhaps you are the mediator of your family? Are you the glue that brings people together? Or maybe you became a nurse because you like problem solving? While all of these attributes make for an excellent nurse, there is the risk of burnout, mistakes, and lack of necessary change in the profession when we never say no……