A Guide to Coping with Healthcare Work: 5 Helpful Tips
Dentists, nurses, and doctors, among other healthcare practitioners, have been hailed since time immemorial for their contribution towards the care and preservation of human life.
During the coronavirus pandemic, it’s even more important to acknowledge the risks that our healthcare workers take every day to ensure that the general population remains healthy and able-bodied.
Although they are referred to as heroes by many of us, inspiring and motivating a lot of people to pursue similarly selfless careers, it’s important to note that healthcare workers are also human beings just like us. They are just as susceptible to work-related pressures and stress.
This is because, despite the healthcare career path being fulfilling, it is also one that can be very demanding.
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Due to the immense pressures that healthcare workers often experience on a day-to-day basis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (also known as the CDC) advises that healthcare workers should endeavor to pursue healthy stress management methods.
This is in a bid to ensure that these workers don’t end up experiencing burnout and fatigue, which can adversely affect their mental clarity.
The last thing you would want as a healthcare practitioner is to come off as incompetent in the eyes of your patients. In the worst-case scenario, you wouldn’t want to end up giving your patients the wrong prescription, would you?
Since it’s often natural for healthcare professionals to place the needs of others before their own, they may gradually end up going beyond their workload and could strain their bodies, resulting in a reduction in their productivity levels.
This guide is aimed at providing healthcare workers with ways to manage their stress levels more effectively.
5 Top Tips to Help Healthcare Workers Cope With Job-Related Stress
- Take Proper Care of Your Body
This entails adhering to a healthy and well-balanced diet, avoiding snacking on junk food during your shift breaks, and striving to exercise daily.
You also need to ensure that you aren’t working too many overtime hours past your allocated shifts, or on the rare occasion that you have to fill in for one of your colleagues.
Try to allocate enough time to get a good night’s sleep, as this is the only way that you can support your body to recover and repair your system’s damaged and worn-out cells.
Instead of turning to alcohol and smoking to ease off your building stress levels, consider picking up healthy practices such as mindful meditation or yoga.
By doing so, you will be in the right frame of mind to perform your healthcare duties effectively and efficiently, avoiding careless errors.
- Strive to Maintain Your Social Life
Working as a healthcare professional often means that you end up revolving your life in and around your patients and colleagues.
While this is understandable, if not done with moderation you may end up drifting away from your loved ones.
Sure, you don’t have to meet face-to-face every single time, but taking ample time to call and inquire about the wellbeing of your friends, family, and loved ones can help you stay connected to the social world and even increase your serotonin levels.
How many times have you felt stressed and pressured at your place of work and decided to meet up with your friends and family only to experience a sense of relief after socializing?
I am guessing the answer is plenty of times.
So, what does that tell you as a healthcare professional? Well, you can deduce that knowing that your loved ones are faring well, as well as taking planned work breaks to engage in social activities with those closest to you, can aid in building up your work morale.
The result is that you will end up noticing an improvement in your concentration and focus levels towards your professional duties.
- Check On Your Healthcare Colleagues
For instance, if you are a nurse working in a nursing home, you could take the courageous step of learning to openly converse with others, be it your nursing colleagues or the Human Resources department, regarding matters that are affecting the productivity of your work.
This can help all parties to actively identify factors in the work environment that can cause nurses and other healthcare practitioners to experience high levels of stress.
By speaking out, you can foster the spirit of collaboration and help all affected parties search for appropriate solutions.
If your place of work doesn’t offer resources related to mental health, you could approach the Human Resources department about making such resources available.
- Be Mindful of Negative Self-Talk
The more you let negative thoughts take over your mind, the more helpless you become, and this may lead you to experience reduced levels of motivation in your role.
If you have taken all the necessary steps to combat negative self-talk but are yet to experience any changes, you should consider speaking to a therapist.
If therapy is not available through your employer, you may have to visit an offsite therapist which could cost you a pretty penny. Nevertheless, it won’t compare to what you will gain in terms of helping you maintain your mental wellbeing and preserving your healthcare profession.
- Focus on One Patient at a Time
At times, there may be an influx of patients at your hospital or healthcare facility, and you may feel compelled to split your attention among patients in an attempt to assist them all simultaneously. As tempting as it is, this can quickly lead to fatigue.
You stand a better chance of achieving a good work balance and providing the care and attention that a patient requires by choosing to center your efforts on one patient at a time.