5 Ways Real Nurses Deal with Emotional Trauma at Work (+VIDEO)

We all know that the nursing profession is not an easy one, and by no means a stress-free one. So what do nurses do to handle the stress and emotional trauma after a tough day at work?

We often forget that nurses are people too! They have feelings and sometimes they need a good cry just like everyone else. When their patients are extremely ill or even pass away, the nurse is often left feeling the pain long afterwards. Mikhail Shneyder, our CEO, was once a nurse himself. He said the profession is built on “unwavering dedication, personal sacrifice, and all-encompassing empathy.” Sometimes that empathy may get to be too much for nurses.

How do they move on? How do they handle it? We asked some of our nurse faculty and administration how they unwind emotionally after a traumatic incident. They offered up some advice to help you take some of that weight of your shoulders. Here are a few of their tips:

Remember why you became a nurse

Tayler Allen, an RN who teaches for our ADN program, said that she reflects on why she became a nurse, and that gives her more purpose to continue through the rest of the hectic workday. “The number one thing that I always do is just reflect back on why I even went into nursing, and that was because I truly enjoy helping people,” she said. “I want them to heal, I want them to know that I’m compassionate towards them and that I really care about their total outcome as a human being, not just as a patient.”

Talking it out

While it may seem obvious, another thing that can be helpful is talking it out with coworkers or family. Assistant Professor Amanda Nussbaum, who also works in an intensive care unit, said that after an unexpected death, she vents to the other health workers. “Dealing with mourning family members, and kind of that frustration with whether or not you could have foreseen what was going to happen, whether or not you could have done things to prevent the death…In dealing with that stress, I find that I reach out to coworkers, and we talk about our stories and our experiences and share that grief.”

You might have noticed a huddled group of nurses in the hall when you’ve been to the hospital. You may think it’s a bunch of nurses slacking off and shooting the breeze, but really, there’s more to the story. Chyleen Tucker, a nurse and Nightingale Area Regional Manager in Idaho, said, “They’re not really chatting, they’re processing. They’re processing that traumatic event by talking it over amongst themselves. ”

Personal time

As expected, nurses sometimes need some personal time to cry it out and just to embrace being really miserable for a little bit. They need time to internally process what happened, and this looks different for everyone. Karen Sincerbeaux, an instructor for our ADN program, said she takes quiet time to cry, pray, to “absorb” what happened. She said she likes to take that evening to watch the sunset or maybe study the bible, “Taking time to process and surrender those feelings, and then it allows me to let go and move on to the next day.”

While many may not be up for an evening outside, there are other ways to snag some personal time. Chyleen said she enjoys reading. A nice fluffy book to take your mind off the pain. “A fiction,” said Chyleen. “Something that will get me kind of out of the way, make my mind think and get me out of that world.”

Exercise

Don’t you hate it when the answer is exercise? But it’s true. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.” All four of the nurses we interviewed mentioned some kind of exercise as a way to lighten up. Long walks, especially in nature, are definitely favorites, because it allows them time to ponder and come to terms with the events of the day. They also mentioned running and yoga.

Moving on

Somehow, nurses always manage to move on. Aren’t they incredible? They still come to work the next day, ready to help the next ailing soul, even though they know that disaster could happen at any moment. That’s why nurses are so special. They witness so much pain, yet are always willing to lend a hand again and again. They know the value of health and life, and they don’t take it for granted. Amanda said that after a traumatic event or a death, she goes home and remembers to hug her loved ones a little tighter that day.

What are some ways you cope in stressful, even traumatic, situations?

 

5 Reasons Why Now is the Best Time to Become a Nurse

5 Reasons to become a nurse

What does it mean to be a nurse? While there are many answers to this simple question, anyone who is a nurse will describe the meaning differently. From taking care of patients who are at their weakest to having the opportunity to change the entire experience for a patient, there is no doubt nurses bring a lot to their communities.

Here are five reasons why now is the time to become a nurse:

1.Nurses are in high demand. Did you know that there is a nursing shortage? A nursing shortage that over one million nurses are needed to remove the need?

The nursing shortage is experienced by both large and small communities. Within your own community, there are health care facilities in need of trained and qualified nurses to help take care of patients. In many facilities, the nursing shortage has become more of a concern.

Facilities are not able to provide enough nurses to maintain staffed units. Understaffed units lead to a risk in the quality of patient care provided. Facilities are highly motivated to bring competent nurses on staff that they have developed recruitment strategies such as sign-on bonuses that are very attractive to job-seeking candidates.

The numerous nursing positions available across the country give nurses the freedom to relocate easily at any point during their career.

Why not join a profession that not only helps you grow but a profession that will celebrate having you on board?

2. Nurses enjoy financial and career stability. Widely known is the handsome salary nurses receive annually. To review nurse salary by state, read our latest blog article Nurse Salary by State: Which US State Pays Better. According to the article, a nurse’s salary may reach as high as $94,000 per year (see California statistic).

While we don’t endorse becoming a nurse strictly for the financial gain it provides, the nursing profession offers a sense of financial security that many other careers do not.

Likewise, nurses have career stability and mobility. An important factor is ensuring that the career path you have chosen will be able to sustain you for years to come. Nurses will always be needed in patient care. For example, patients have more interactions with nurses than they do with their doctor.

Again, nurses are in high demand.

3. Nurses are one of the top most trusted professions. Gallup Poll released research that showed nurses ranked the highest for the 15th year straight for ethics and honest. Check out the research by clicking here.

Joining such a prestigious profession lends a sense of beyond self, respecting humanity, and integrity (which, by the way, are three Nightingale values).

Enjoying work is the key to a happier life. While nurses experience many situations that are devasting, they still have the opportunity to make a difference in their patient’s life. What a rewarding career to choose.

4. Nurses are endeared and loved by their community. Have you heard the numerous stories told by nurses of how they ran across past patients and their families, and were thanked for what they did? Can you imagine how it would feel to be appreciated for helping someone in their most vulnerable, weakest moments?

A popular quote by Maya Angelou, “As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul and body of our patients, their families and ourselves. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Everyone can reflect on an experience they had with a nurse. Why not be the person they remember as their “superhero?” Not all superheroes wear capes. Sometimes they rock scrubs and slip-resistant shoes.

5. Make the jump and become a nurse like you have always wanted to be. Many people go about their lives without pursuing their dream job. Why? Maybe because of time. Maybe because of financial burdens. Maybe even because they believe it is too late to be a second-career adventurer.

Whatever the reason may be, toss the idea aside and evaluate where you are and where you want to be. Eventually, you will conclude all these reasons are only excuses that are barricading you within your comfort zone.

Make the most out of your life and enjoy a career that is rewarding, challenging, and constantly giving back.

Start by researching nursing schools that fit your need and get moving! It is up to you to make your dream career happen.

Nightingale College’s President and CEO, Mikhail Shneyder, said, “Although your educational journey may be difficult at times, you will reap the reward of utmost satisfaction when holding your nursing diploma for the first time and nothing will ever compare to the fulfillment that improving and saving the lives of others will bring!”

Are you ready to get started on your nursing journey? Can we recommend Nightingale College? Check out our ADN and RN-to-BSN Programs.

We are ready to help you become the nurse you have always dreamed of being.