January 8, 2013

Tips for Handling Stress

We know health care traveling can be extremely stressful, especially with the health care professional shortage the profession has experienced over the last decade. Health care travelers are caregivers by nature, and they tend to put their needs on the backburner. Not managing your stress can not only take a toll on your personal and professional life, it can also be damaging to your health and wellbeing. Recently, the Royal College of Nursing, a founding member of the International Nurses Council, released “Managing your stress, a guide for nurses.” It outlines signs and symptoms to look for including:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Not being able to “switch off”
  • Racing mind
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Irritability

Every person’s response to stress is unique. Hence, there is no single solution but there are a number of ways to reduce and manage stress, some of which you may already be using. This guide also outlines coping skills to help nurses better manage the day in and day out stress that comes with the profession.

  • Lifestyle management
  • Becoming your own expert – identifying your main sources of stress, assess how effective your current coping strategies are and think about any new or different strategies that can be applied
  • Physical outlets – exercise is the best key to managing stress
  • Plus, occupational stress and what employers should be doing to help nurses manage the pressures.

Remember, being stressed does not equal “not coping.” It comes with the rigors of daily life. However, if you can find the skills to balance your stress and a healthy lifestyle, not only will you feel the difference but so will your patients.