Self-care is just as crucial for nurses as it is for anyone else. Nursing can be physically, mentally and emotionally demanding, requiring nurses to care for themselves. The weariness and stress that come with the work can harm a nurse in various ways.
In addition to taking better care of their patients, nurses who practice self-care can lower their stress levels, enhance their health and live happier lives.
What Is self-care in nursing?
Self-care is a habit nurses make to improve their health. Self-care techniques handle physical, mental or emotional problems that develop as a result of nursing. For example, nurses with back pain who practice self-care by working out and eating well may have less pain and more energy to care for their patients.
The best self-care tips for nurses help them tend to their patient’s needs and reduce their chances of getting sick or burnt out. Spring Arbor University appreciates nurses who play a significant role in establishing a better future in the health sector. The university teaches you more about celebrating who you are and prioritizing self-care.
Why is self-care important for nurses?
Since nursing requires a lot of time and is stressful, many nurses may forget to practice self-care. Numerous nurses have suffered moderate to high stress levels, resulting in several easily avoidable health problems. Obesity, asthma, heart disease and premature mortality are some ailments that result due to insufficient self-care.
What effect does stress have on a nurse’s patients?
Nursing professionals should prioritize their needs because it is more challenging to care for others when they cannot look after themselves. Nurses must maintain low stress levels to provide patients with the best care possible.
There is a negative impact on patient care when the nursing staff isn’t in excellent medical condition. Medication mistakes and low quality of care are more significant in nurses who do not care for themselves.
10 Benefits of self-care for nurses
Stress is a crucial factor in limiting nurses’ work hours. Self-care can help nurses do their jobs better and decrease the chance of making mistakes. A nurse who is healthy and strong can be more effective than one who is getting less sleep or exercising too little.
Here are the advantages of self-care for nurses:
Promotes high-quality patient care
When a nurse is exhausted and stressed, their patient care declines, as nurses who work beyond their physical limits make more mistakes than usual. By taking better care of themselves, nurses can provide better patient care.
Nurses who pay more attention to self-care will be more inclined to increase their engagement in detail with patients since it is difficult for a nurse who isn’t in good health to concentrate on caring for others.
Reduces the risk of burnout
When nurses don’t earn enough time off and neglect their physical and mental health, they are more likely to experience burnout. Burnout is when a nurse becomes exhausted, stressed and cynical, resulting in complications in the workplace.
To prevent burnout and nurses from getting overwhelmed, hospital managers should establish a self-care plan that boosts employee wellness.
Reduces nurses’ risk of illness
Nurses who don’t care for themselves are more likely to develop minor illnesses, resulting in hospitalization and lost wages, if they persist. Nurses with self-care habits are less likely to come down with any disease as long as they have normal levels of health and avoid stressors, such as overwork or burnout.
Promotes optimal health
Being healthy is crucial for nurses to do their best job. Nursing causes health professionals to work extended hours and become physically exhausted from moving patients and walking throughout the hospital.
Without good self-care practices, a nurse is more likely to experience poor health and diseases, like hypertension. To maintain good health, nurses must practice self-care by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and getting adequate sleep whenever possible.
Self-care deteriorates mental health. Stress often causes nurses to develop anxiety and depression. By performing exercises and taking time to unwind, nurses will have more control over their minds, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.
Self-care techniques, such as exercise, breathing, and meditation, effectively relieve stress. By practicing self-care techniques, nurses can break up their daily routine by taking time out of their workday to relax. When nurses learn self-care techniques, they experience less stress within themselves and those around them.
Increases nurses’ motivation and work productivity
Self-care habits can improve nurses’ work rates through self-motivation and productivity. When nurses take good care of themselves, they develop a positive attitude toward working more effectively and demonstrating their dedication to patients. High motivation and productivity levels increase job satisfaction within the health facility.
Leads to increased self-confidence
Nurses who are healthier and well-rested feel more confident about their job. Healthy nurses are more likely to look forward to coming to work and take pride in their work performance.
Nurses who know how to care for themselves will have greater self-confidence and feel less stressed out than those who do not practice self-care. If a nurse has low self-esteem, that can negatively influence them at work, which can cause problems for the patient. A nurse with low self-esteem may not provide adequate patient care or help the patients’ families through illness.
Self-care is important for employer-employee relationships
Self-care helps nurses and employers foster better relationships by providing nurses with a positive state of mind. When nurses have positive work attitudes, they will demonstrate commitment and devotion to their jobs, resulting in higher job satisfaction.
Increased job satisfaction boosts the employer-employee relationship, as management and employees work together for the patient’s well-being.
Promotes employee retention in nursing roles
Self-care promotes nurse retention. Nurse retention is the number of nurses who stay over a long period in a healthcare organization. When nurses do not practice self-care techniques and neglect themselves, they start looking for jobs that offer better pay, more benefits and more time off.
At this point, employers should recognize the importance of hiring healthy people and paying them well so they can take time off to take care of themselves and not quit their job. By keeping employees happy with positive self-care habits, employers will have a lower turnover rate in their nursing department.
Promotes happiness in the workplace
Employers who want to increase employee morale and happiness should encourage self-care habits among their staff. When nurses take time to relax, they experience more positive emotions, making them more likely to be happy at work. Happy employees are productive and willing to give their best at work to benefit patients, employers and coworkers.
Ways to get started with nursing self-care
Healthy habits help nurses avoid complications while improving their health and well-being at work. Here are some ways nurses can get started on their self-care journey.
Mental self-care teaches nurses how to reduce stress and anxiety in the nursing enterprise. You can practice mental self-care relaxation techniques, such as meditation, taking walks outside, riding a bike or practicing yoga.
Physical self-care is a way for nurses to maintain their health, help their bodies heal from injuries and illnesses and overcome any physical issues, such as injury or disease, that can affect their job performance. Physical self-care includes various exercises, such as walking, swimming and running.
Social self-care includes staying connected with friends and family while at work by talking regularly, catching up on personal developments and taking time out of the office during breaks to visit patients and their families.
You can also converse with someone you don’t usually talk to at work, ask your coworkers about their days, have lunch with someone new or celebrate coworkers’ birthdays and anniversaries.
Emotional self-care teaches nurses how to enhance positive emotions and reduce negative emotions, such as anxiety and stress. Emotional self-care includes improving your diet, exercising regularly and attending support groups, conferences and seminars.
Spiritual self-care encourages nurses to take time to care for themselves spiritually through regular prayer, meditation, walking in nature or taking a break away from their job for personal-development sessions with a counselor.
Nursing professionals can assist themselves in remaining calmer amid potentially stressful work situations by maintaining organization in their professional lives. Nurses must treat themselves with the same regard as the patient care they offer.
You can list your professional objectives and a strategy for achieving them or assist your coworkers with their patients as your own professional self-care methods.
Nurses should schedule time for their favorite activities. To assist them in feeling less pressured, nurses should take the time to develop their identity outside of being a nurse.
To take care of yourself, buy your favorite beverage, take up a new pastime, go on a day trip or take a staycation.
Self-care across the board significantly improves patient care quality. Nurses who take care of themselves are less likely to get ill, are more productive and make fewer medication mistakes than those who don’t have self-care habits in their workday.
Self-care measures improve employee morale, reduce turnover rates, develop healthier relationships between employer and employees, increase employee job satisfaction and retain the highest quality candidates.
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