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Can You Handle the Stress? 8% of Nurses Say They’re Stressed Out

Nursing comes with stressful situations, no doubt about it.

A study found that half of all nurses experience moderate to high stress levels, and over 60 percent report emotional exhaustion from the job. High-stress levels can affect a nurse’s health and well-being, even depleting their energy and impacting their critical thinking ability. If you’re feeling mentally worn out from your job as a nurse, check out these tips to help you handle the stress better so you can stay healthy and focus on your patients’ needs.

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What Is Job-Related Stress?

Although stress can affect people in many different ways, there are a few ways that being stressed at work can impact you: high blood pressure, problems sleeping, weight gain, increased risk for heart disease and stroke. Oftentimes it’s not one thing that causes such stress levels; it’s a combination of things such as long hours, lack of recognition or even medical concerns surrounding their patients. What can be done to help lower stress levels in these professionals? How can we help nurses cope with their stressful jobs? We’ve pulled together several strategies they may find useful.

A Day in the Life: An ICU Nurse

ICU nurses have a reputation for being calm and cool under pressure. It’s often said they have nerves of steel, so it’s no surprise that doctors and other medical professionals look to them as mentors when learning how to handle stressful situations. But what do these ICU nurses go through on a typical day? Here are five things you should know about their working conditions. #1: Every second counts. In an ICU, seconds matter—literally. This is especially true in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), where patients who need constant monitoring and care stay for extended periods of time. The biggest risk factor for patients in an ICU is developing infections due to prolonged hospital stays—and getting infections means there’s a chance your patient will die from them if not treated quickly enough.

One Person’s Story

When it comes to nurses, stress levels are hard to define. While some may feel overwhelmed at times, others might feel more prepared than ever before. The truth is that nursing has a broad range of responsibilities and entails many different duties that can take an emotional toll on an individual. These days, nurses must be prepared for pretty much anything — which means preparing for and dealing with extreme circumstances. In some cases, situations can escalate quickly or turn violent without warning; nurses must be able to recognize dangerous situations quickly and respond appropriately. When a nurse’s primary goal is patient safety, it can be tough to remain level-headed in tense situations — but if you’re struggling with stress as a nurse, there are always options available to get yourself back on track.

The Longer Term Impacts

One study showed that half of all nurses surveyed said they are experiencing moderate to high stress levels on a regular basis. In another study, 60 percent said they had experienced emotional exhaustion. Excessive stress leads to higher rates of burnout, employee turnover and understaffing. It also impacts patient care by depleting staff energy and impairing their critical thinking skills during work hours. High-stress nurses tend to take sick days more often than low-stress ones. And finally, high-stress employees make more mistakes at work than low-stress ones. All of these factors can lead to poorer patient outcomes and increased health care costs over time.

What Can Be Done To Combat This Problem?

Although some stress is inevitable in a high-stakes, fast-paced career like nursing, there are steps nurses can take to help themselves. The best way to fight back against stress is to make sure your body feels well rested, healthy and strong. Yoga is an excellent way to relieve anxiety and stress without having any negative effects on one’s health. It has been proven that yoga relieves anxiety by helping people de-stress and get them into a zen state of mind. For example, practicing yoga regularly helps improve sleep quality which reduces fatigue and improves energy levels. In addition, research shows that as little as three months of regular yoga practice can reduce depression symptoms by up to 50 percent! So if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work or just need a few minutes to relax during your day, try practicing some simple yoga poses before you go home for the day. Remember: relaxation is key!

Summary of Tips for Preventing Job-Related Stress

Many people deal with job-related stress from time to time, but nurses are more prone to burnout and high-stress levels due to their nature of work. Here are a few tips for relieving job-related stress at work Seek support: If you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities, reach out to friends or family members. Tell them what’s on your mind—you may be surprised by how much they can help.
Avoid unhealthy habits: Stressful situations often lead us to engage in negative behaviors like smoking or eating junk food. While these may provide a temporary distraction, they can also exacerbate your stress levels and make it harder for you to cope with challenges at work.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help: If you feel that your stress levels are interfering with your ability to perform at work, talk to a supervisor about how you can manage your workload more effectively. If nothing else, speaking with someone about your concerns will help you feel less alone—and reduce some of the stress associated with handling challenging situations on your own.

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