Not only do healthcare professionals have the normal stresses of daily life, but many have high workplace stress.
Some of the reasons for a higher workplace stress level are they:
- Understand the potential for serious injury to patients if they make mistakes
- Often work short-staffed
- Work double shifts at times
- Work in unfamiliar areas on some shifts
- Fear needle sticks and/or injuries from heavy lifting and pulling
- Know that patients and families are suffering, and that some patients die
- Have to be gracious in the face of abuse
- Know the potential for lawsuits
- Compassion fatigue
According to Bob Losyk, speaker, consultant and author of Get a Grip! Overcoming Stress and Thriving in the Workplace, “Exercise is one of the best stress busters, because it forces deep breathing. Deep, cleansing breaths combined with shoulder shrugs and head rolls help muscles to relax. Even those little squeeze balls help relieve muscle tension throughout the day.”
Ways to combat stress at the workplace:
- Breathe: Slow, deep and easy breathing
- Be organized: Allowing extra time to complete a morning routine can mean a stress-free start to the day.
- Nutrition: Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated.
- Exercise: Use the stairs and take a walk during a break.
- Sleep: Establish a solid sleep schedule and stick to it.
- Laugh: Laughter cuts tension and lifts spirits.
- Think positive: Spread a positive outlook to colleagues and patients.
- Talk: Talking about a problem can help put it in perspective.
- Take a break: Although leaving patients and job responsibilities for a few minutes during the work shift may seem difficult, it is a good strategy for dealing with a stressful environment. Nurses who take a break can return to their duties more relaxed and better prepared to provide quality patient care. BE SURE TO CONFIRM YOUR BREAK WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR FIRST.
- Be (appropriately) silly and create laughter.