Nurses are the backbone of healthcare, and we take pride in that. However, there are times when nurses don’t feel like they are as important in our community. A bad work environment can also add up to the stress that many nurses feel. In some cases, many nurses do not feel like their efforts are given enough recognition, so they don’t perform well, or worse, they don’t provide quality patient care any longer.
While many nurses take their profession seriously, some are not sure anymore. What can we do to help our fellow nurses? Is there a way to inspire and encourage them to do better? What needs to improve in a nurse’s work environment to help them feel empowered?
In this episode, we would like to introduce you to Alice Benjamin, better known as Nurse Alice, America’s favorite nurse. She is a cardiac clinical nurse specialist and family nurse practitioner with over 23 years of healthcare experience. Alice is Nurse.org’s Chief Nursing Officer and Correspondent and hosts the popular ‘Ask Nurse Alice’ podcast.
QUESTIONS FOR GUESTS:
The questions below are some we’d like to tackle. We go off-topic all the time so we don’t expect to hit them all. If you have any ideas please let us know. Looking forward to our conversation!
Being in over 20 years in healthcare, what are some changes you would like to see in healthcare?
How do you think the pandemic has affected nurses?
How should new nurses empower themselves going into this profession in 2022?
What do you think about the RaDonda Vaught case?
She was sentenced on Friday to three years of probation in a Nashville criminal court. After the probationary period, she could ultimately have her conviction dismissed.
Found guilty in March of two charges, criminally negligent homicide and abuse of an impaired adult, after a medication error contributed to the death of 75-year-old Charlene Murphey in December 2017.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have taken on recently?
What is something nursing has thought you that you can apply in life?
Before we end the show we have one last question we like to ask all our guests. If you had the opportunity to have a Cup of coffee with anybody one last time, who would it be & why?
Learn how to become an empowered nurse by watching our full episode. Click here for more 👇
00:00 Intro 01:35 About Alice 02:30 What are some changes you would like to see in healthcare? 06:26 How can we improve the healthcare system? 09:46 Reasons for some patients’ noncompliance 15:24 One-size-fits-all patient treatment does not always work. 17:57 How should new nurses empower themselves? 20:26 How to be a better nurse 24:13 What are the challenges of being a nurse 29:52 Thoughts about the RaDonda Vaught case? 43:31 The last one cup of coffee with?
Being a nurse is a stressful job, and it’s not even a joke! Knowing different kinds of stress-relieving tips can help nurses from all walks of life.
Why are Nurses Stressed?
As a nurse, your life is extra busy most of the time. As a nurse, the most helpful way to combat stress is to understand what stresses you out. It is not always easy to identify stressors but we can help you narrow it down, here are the most common causes of stress for nurses:
Constant use of critical thinking skills
Being a nurse you are always critically thinking, either how medication can impact a patient or when a family member has a difficult question. it can be a mentally draining job. A nurse’s job is demanding, and you do not always have the time to check out even if you want to.
Work environment demands
There will be constant pacing while working with doctors and other healthcare providers when you are at work. It is common to clash with coworkers and patients at times or have miscommunication, leading to pressure and stress.
A 12+ hour job
Long shifts can be exhausting, and nurses often work insanely long shifts. Many nurses work 12+ hours a day any extra overtime leads to increased stress and a drain on energy. So it is prevalent among nurses to be a little cranky after each shift as it can be physically, emotionally and mentally draining, especially on the night shift.
An emotional job
When you look at it, a nurse’s job is to take care of the sick and dying. But while they are caring for sick people, they also take care of the families left worrying or grieving. It can put an emotional strain on nurses and also be stressful on their part. In addition to that, some families can be challenging to deal with. While nurses are empathetic, coping with demanding families adds pressure to their jobs.
We were not prepared for the pandemic, and among healthcare providers, nurses are the most affected. Their responsibilities did not only double but also folded twice. They deal with the increased workload a pandemic brings while also putting their health on the line. Some are even assigned to do a job they were not adequately trained for to meet the nursing demands. Because of this, saying a nurse is stressed is underrated.
Helpful and Stress Relieving Tips You Can Apply
So, what can you do to release the stress you feel each time you are under pressure at work? Knowing different stress-relieving techniques can help nurses big time. Here are a few:
Find a nursing path that you love
Are you stuck in a nursing job that you don’t like? Or are you looking for an option to do something else? If you answered yes to either, it’s time to move on to a different path in nursing. Keep in mind that nursing is an ever-dynamic field, so there is always something to do. If you love traveling, become a travel nurse, and if you enjoyed your time in the Operating Room as a student nurse, pursue a career in OR nursing. Maybe you are done with acute care and want to settle down in an outpatient clinic. The options are endless. Just make sure that the path you selected is something you would like to do for the long haul.
Remind yourself why you became a nurse
Earning a high salary is one of the benefits nursing brings, but is it all you want? When things get tough, ask yourself why you became a nurse. Is it because you love helping others? Was it a good route for financial security?? – Whatever your reasons are, going back to the reason why you became a nurse will shed light on your darkest hours. So, whenever you feel stressed, use that reason to get back on your feet!
Sweat it out!
Another good way to relieve stress is through exercise. Many nurses find themselves sweating their stress out in the gym more often these days, so why not do the same? If you don’t like the confines of the gym, you can always work out at home. You can follow exercise apps or YouTube videos and burn those calories of frustration! Not only will you feel good, but you will also feel energized again, improve your health, and be pumped for your next shift.
Since we are talking about exercise, you might as well include your diet. To stabilize your energy, pair your workout with a balanced meal. Your diet must consist of energy-giving foods to keep you on your feet all the time. Eating green leafy vegetables, fruits, juices, and superfoods like nuts, avocadoes, sardines, berries, etc., must be included in your daily meals. These will keep you healthy and help reduce the stress and anxiety that you may feel at work.
Practice meditation and breathing exercises.
Besides doing your workout routines, you must also practice breathing exercises and meditation. When things get crazy, pause, meditate and be mindful of your breathing. You don’t have to bring a yoga mat! Breathing techniques can be done anywhere, even at work. So, plan out your day, and take time to meditate, and refocus. It will help you get through even the most toxic shifts!
Don’t forget to take time off.
All work and no play make you a dull person. So, relax, take time off and socialize. As much as you want to sleep on your day-offs, set time to socialize with friends or family. It is always good to have an outlet and to be yourself without worrying about the next patient chart you need to update. You don’t have to work all the time, find balance, and learn to live a stress-free life as a nurse.
As a nurse, facing stressful situations at work is a given. It is part of the profession. It is why you must find ways to destress. Don’t let the daily chaos of nurse life ruin your determination to help others. Try and see how these stress-relieving tips for nurses can help you.
6 Tips for Creating a Healthy Workplace Environment
A healthy workplace environment is possible, but it takes cooperation to do that. Our place of work should be something that we love going to. It should be a safe space where employees can communicate openly, discuss issues, and work together to keep the company moving. But sometimes, misunderstandings among coworkers or employers do happen. A toxic workplace can sometimes be unavoidable. It’s part of the work-life, but it doesn’t always have to be like that.
Why a Healthy Workplace Environment is Essential
Keep in mind that the people you work with have different ideologies, points of view, and opinions. One way or another, someone will clash with somebody at work. But wouldn’t it be nice if we keep our work environment a healthy and happy place for everybody?
As nurses, we have our fair share of ups and downs in our workplace. What makes a company a great place to work? It can be perks, locations, and incentives, but creating a healthy work environment will retain employees. And to do that, here are helpful tips that you can apply:
Give your employees a real voice
Employers need to create a space where employees can express their feelings. After all, that’s how you identify pain points. Feedback is one of the most valuable tools you can get, to improve the workplace. There are tools such as annual surveys, but they don’t result in timely action.
Feedback is excellent in real-time; that is why your charge or manager must have excellent leadership skills to honor your voiced opinion. Are there issues with other units or staff, and how are these problems addressed in real-time?
There needs to be change implemented post feedback, just like in the surveys. If things continue, this leads to lower engagement, and ultimately your staff will fail to voice future concerns.
Showing appreciation every day
When was the last time you got a shout-out from your manager when you least expected it? Sometimes those little words of affirmation can give you a big boost of confidence, instantly improving your mood. Recognition is essential to let employees know that their hard work is valued.
Meaningful recognition can dramatically improve employee engagement, retention, and satisfaction. What is a simple way to show appreciation? Maybe something small like having a day off on your birthday.
Create an environment of psychological safety and trust
Creating an environment of psychological safety is where employees are comfortable being themselves. When an employee feels safe, there is a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up.
On the opposite spectrum, employees will be scared to speak up if they fear failure, judgment, or disrespect.
Clean and functioning workspace
Nothing makes life more complicated as a nurse than dealing with faulty equipment. Equipment includes things like computers, scanners, glucometers, suppliers, etc. Nothing grinds our gears more than not having the proper equipment to complete our tasks.
In every facility we worked at, this has been a reoccurring problem. It only added stress to the nurse who’s already dealing with patients’ lives. In the current facility we work in, we salute them for having proper lift equipment in every room.
Empowering your team members
This multifactorial approach requires managers, HR, and anyone else in the chain of command. No matter how capable your workforce is, they still need support to be their best selves at work. It is important to establish open feedback to show that your organization listens and encourages the team to keep voicing their wants and needs.
Get to know your employees on a human level. Taking the time to do this will help uncover the best way to empower them and create an environment that makes them feel safe.
Empowering team members should also include building team-building skills. Often, nurses work individually within their role, but employers can encourage teamwork to make a better workspace environment. We all felt that unit where nurses and staff come to ask you if you need help with anything.
Promote wellness through a healthy workplace environment
Wellness can be overlooked in the workplace, but psychological, emotional, and physical are essential to having a healthy workplace environment. Being a frontline health worker requires us to juggle between chill mode and fight-and-flight. The constant release of cortisol in stressful situations can inhibit rational and logical thinking.
A healthy workplace should encourage breaks for shifts and be mindful of workloads. Encouraging employees to rest is overlooked in most healthcare, but it’s crucial to take a break and boost energy to continue a busy shift. Randomly, imagine if a unit invests in apps like Headspace to help mitigate stress?
Do you want a healthy work environment? Follow these tips here 👇
00:00 Intro 00:47 Plugs 02:27 Episode Introduction 04:23 Tip 1: Give your employees a real voice 07:20 Does annual surveys work? 08:50 Tip 2: Showing appreciation every day 11:06 Difference between Professional and Genuine Appreciation 12:41 The power of giving and take 16:16 Money as the solution 19:09 Tip 3: Create an environment of psychological safety and trust 21:57 Compromised and abused nurses 23:09 Inadequate Ratio 24:28 Tip 4: Clean and functioning workspace 26:38 Additional protocols for additional profit? 29:06 Nurse’s safety being last on the list 32:29 Tip 5: Empowering your team members 37:32 Being considerate to other practitioners, races, and cultures 42:09 Tip 6: Promote wellness 45:54 Incentive program for nurses
EP 155: Why Self-Care is Important For Women With Isabel Bogdan
How important is your health? Self-care is important but what steps are you taking to meet your needs? Do you do something about it? Or do you wait till you are diagnosed with a disease to get moving? In the era we live in, it is easier to pop pills when you are not feeling well than reevaluate your entire body and mind to get to the root cause of the problem.
It is a known fact that many people today are more dependent on medication than doing something to change their condition. Why is it easier to take pills than make the change you need? When did people stop eating well and doing exercises that can benefit them as a whole?
We are joined by our guest, Dr. Isabel Bogdan, founder and owner of belev.co. She is also a health nurse practitioner with a doctorate in nursing practice. Dr. Bogdan has the vision to intertwine traditional medicine with a holistic approach for transformational change.
Join us today as we discuss the importance of holistic care and how it can change our way of looking at our health in this fantastic episode of Cup of Nurses.
QUESTIONS FOR OUR GUEST
The questions below are some we’d like to tackle. We go off-topic all the time so we don’t expect to hit them all. If you have any ideas please let us know. Looking forward to our conversation!
Can you give us a background about yourself and your nursing experience?
What does it feel like to be in the daily life of Isabelle?
What have you seen as being the biggest factor associated with poor health, particularly women’s health?
On an emotional level, what do women struggle with the most?
How do you heal people in life?
What are women struggling with most in their lives?
How do you control your hormonal health?
How do you change people’s beliefs for them to think they’re superheroes of their journey.
What is your current obsession? – How are you making an impact in disease prevention?
Why is self-care important? Learn more and watch the full episode here 👇
00:00 Intro 00:49 Plugs 2:52 Episode Introduction 4:58 The Reason: Why is Conventional Medicine Failing? 8:52 All about Yoga 16:19 How is yoga done and how does it benefit the body? 20:45 Yoga’s spiritual side? 23:18 What are women struggling with most in their lives? 28:52 Isabel’s Take on What Is “Consciousness” 32:29 What is the impact of hormonal health? 38:40 What supplements can you take to stay optimal? 41:06 Dietary Consultation with Isabel 47:15 Everything is good in moderation. 51:37 All about gut health. 57:00 A study shows that cranberry juice prevents UTIs. 57:49 How to empower people to be the superheroes of their lives. 1:08:41 Where to find Isabel?
Nurses leaving bedside care is not surprising news anymore. Ever since the pandemic broke out, the workload of nurses has increased not just once but a few times over. Because of this, many of our nurses are exhausted and burned out. The long hours of work and the overwhelming number of patients to care for have caused some nurses to consider leaving the profession. In this post, we will talk about the cause of nurses leaving the bedside and how it affects them.
Nurses Leave Bedside Care Due to the Pandemic
There have been plenty of reports regarding nurses quitting their jobs in the middle of the pandemic. Honestly, I can’t say I blame them. The effects of the pandemic have exhausted the nursing workforce. Not only do nurses feel exhausted, but the overwhelming number of patients affected by the new Covid-19 variant has also affected their mental health. Many nurses suffer from anxiety, trauma, and PTSD. 
The roles of nurses also changed during the pandemic. Nurses took on new positions beyond their scope as they adapted to the “new normal.” Due to the increasing number of new Covid patients, nurses are needed more in clinics, emergency rooms, and intensive care units where care for sick patients is much needed. That said, the interruption of work due to infected people have created an extra workload for nurses.
Nurses also work to the bone; they are also in charge of deciding which patients can go to intensive care units or respiratory devices. They also help accompany patients and families as they transition to the end-of-life stages. In addition to that, other risks that nurses deal with include the lack of resources, protective equipment, the risk of getting infected, obligation in new work areas, and many others pushing nurses to give up and leave their jobs amidst the pandemic.
3 Good Reasons Why Nurses Leave Bedside Care
Besides the threat of the pandemic, other factors also contributed to nurses leaving bedside care. Here’s what we gathered:
Toxic Working Environment
The primary role of nurses has never changed; they are still the main characters that provide care to enhance the patient’s quality of life along with their knowledge, so they carry out the best care plan. As the media proclaimed, they are heroes and advocates for the wellness of patients and the general community. However, there have been changes in the last 20 years in the nursing environment.
It mainly involved how nurses should carry out their roles. With the Affordable Care Act’s help, more patients can now access health care for the first time in many years, resulting in an influx of patients with co-morbidities. That said, plenty of nurses work in areas for long hours, tending to more patients than average.
Toxic Nurse Culture
Ever heard of the phrase “nurses eat their young”? If not then we will break it down for you. This term refers to an almost rite-of-passage in the workplace for new nurses. It’s when seasoned nurses display a form of lateral violence or bullying, and those who have gone through this situation repeat the said behaviors with new nurses under their charge.
It’s a common culture among the nursing staff and is the reason why some nurses leave. Those who cannot connect with fellow nurses in the workplace are often isolated or have feelings of isolation from the group. Add this to a heavy workload, and new nurses can easily get overwhelmed with the demands and stress of work.
Dealing with sick patients can drain your energy, and sometimes, it is emotionally draining as well, especially if you have made a deep connection with your patients. It is why its recommended for nurses to learn how they can balance their emotions and connect with their patients without becoming too attached.
Dealing with the death of a beloved patient is also viewed as a reason why some nurses leave bedside care. So as a nurse, it is your discernment to choose the proper nursing role where your personality traits fit. Nurses who find the right nursing specialty that works best have better work performance and career experience without becoming too emotional for their patients. 
How to Help Nurses
There’s no doubt that nurses are valued members of the healthcare world. Without them, bedside care is not possible. Hospital facilities and health organizations must create rules to help nurses function better at work. Creating a program that encourages nurses to stay in bedside care must be available too. These can help educate nurses and catch up with the latest trends to promote a healthy work environment. Flexible schedules can also give nurses the break they need.
Nurses do their job because the world needs them, especially at trying times like this. They do their best and put their lives on the line for others but at what cost? Hopefully, more healthcare facilities will develop laws that protect the lives of nurses and future nurses. Only then will you see fewer nurses leaving bedside care.