I have always said and will repeat it again: nursing is one of the most rewarding careers, but it is also one of the most challenging; both physically and emotionally. Therefore it is essential for nurses as the premiere level of caregivers to set the bar high to take care of you! Nurses are the worst at taking care of themselves so it’s time to once again nag and encourage you to try again to make you a priority. Nurses be kind to yourself and set a good example for your patients, their loved ones and caregivers.
- Always make sure your body mechanics are correct and if they aren’t STOP and get them right! Your back is your most important tool! If you harm your back, you will never be the same again. Don’t take chances.
- Do no harm, means to you too! Your safety has to be a priority! Those of us who work in the community (home health, hospice, etc.) know this rule. Those who work in facilities have to take care as well. Listen to your gut. Make safe choices in parking, entering and leaving cars and buildings, driving, etc. If it’s not safe, don’t go! Drive around the block and find another way.
- Pack snacks and a healthy, nutritious meal (or 2) for your shift. Make this the routine and not the occasional option. Plan ahead and get into the habit of shopping for your snacks and meals and packing the brown bag.
- Take time to eat as slowly as possible. And if necessary, snack through your shift, but make sure you put nutritious foods into your body every couple of hours. Feed your brain so you can make the best decisions.
- Take time to pee. I know it seems impossible sometimes, but you need to take a couple of minutes for YOU so that you keep your body healthy.
- Drink fluids. Yes, you’ll have to pee again, but you needs adequate fluids to function properly.
- If you don’t take care of YOU, you won’t be in the best shape to give your patients your best quality care!
- Organize and prioritize your chores at home so you can do the simpler ones during your workweek, and only have a few things to accomplish on your time off. This way you can play and refresh and replenish your soul! Make lists and designate a time and a place for all the chores. And delegate whenever possible.
- Make a reward journal. Write little notes to yourself to remind you of patients (no identifying info please) and the things you did that made a difference in their lives. Read the entries often, and especially when you’ve had a bad day. If you’re not a journal writer, try writing a few words on a small piece of paper and putting it into a nice box.