The Importance of Balance Between Work and Health
Emergency Nurses Day is celebrated on the second Wednesday of October every year. Nursing is a highly respected career, yet it is also ranked one of the top 10 most stressful jobs.
Emergency nurses are the first point of contact in the emergency room. As specially trained and experienced registered nurses, they are tasked with assessing the patient’s condition, initiating care protocols, and communicating the next steps to be taken for an ill or injured patient. Nurses coordinate efforts alongside emergency room doctors, specialists, and colleagues.
Nursing is fundamental to the delivery of cost-efficient, safe, and quality patient healthcare. Today, emergency room nurses are caught between the opioid and mental health crises and government rules that dictate no one can be turned away from a hospital emergency room.
For nurses, it means they:
- See more patients with unexpected and complex situations each shift
- Must be a knowledgeable jack of all trades
- Experience stress and injuries from patients who lash out
- Stand on the front lines of disaster response to natural and man-made situations.
Out of 2.9 million RNs in the U.S., there are presently 90,000 who work as emergency nurses. The work is challenging and turnover is high, so it is predicted that a shortfall of nurses will exist by 2025. By then, over 3.3 million RNs will be needed. Nursing is physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing to individuals.
The fact is, nursing is a demanding job. Do you know the lists of “most stressful jobs” often rank registered nurses in the top 10 among careers like the enlisted military, surgeon, firefighter, commercial airline pilot, and police officer?
Over 89 percent of RNs are women; four out of ten nurses have a college degree in nursing. Better-educated nurses are shown to improve patient care and positive outcomes significantly.
A recent survey showed over 30 percent of RNs work more than 40 hours a week. Almost two-thirds report they work through breaks, arrive early and stay late to get the job done. More than half of RN respondents worry their work is affecting their health.
But, ignoring one’s needs can ultimately be detrimental to patient care and personal health. What should nurses do? Really, what should anyone do who feels overwhelmed by their workload, obligations, or current life situation?
Tune in to your needs with a healthy dose of TLC.
- Take some “me time” every day. Use breaks and time before or after a work shift to consciously unplug and slow down your mind. Turn off phones and other electronic stimulation for a few minutes. Use deep breathing, a cup of tea, meditation, or yoga techniques to re-center your brain and reduce energy over-stimulation.
- Reduce decision fatigue. Make important decisions early in your day when your brain is fresh. Plan ahead with recurring tasks to avoid being rushed, like setting out clothes and preparing lunches. In non-life threatening work situations, accept “good enough” without necessarily insisting on “perfect” task outcomes.
- Initiate joy by moving more. Take breaks. Step outside and breathe. Enjoy time off with people and pets in activities that energize your body -- like dancing, playing, hiking, or working in the garden.
- Be mindful during work shifts. Sometimes just taking a moment to drink some water, take a bathroom break, or practice a basic yoga pose can refresh the body and tweak your outlook.
- Sleep more, eat well and supplement with vitamins as necessary. Simply, anyone who is sleep deprived, overly stressed, or has a poor mental attitude can make mistakes.
Caregiving starts with you. The power of proper nutrition cannot be overstated. Stress and extended work shifts are known to cause physiological damage and lead to increased risks of insulin resistance, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Pre-planning is all it takes to pack meals from home that contain good protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and a healthy beverage.
QOL is here to help. We use unique nutraceutical ingredients backed by human studies to deliver condition-specific supplements. For a high-stress job or life situation, consider our AHCC® Kinoko Platinum, Advasorb® Vitamin C, or Immuno Complex® formulas to keep your immunity needs at peak levels.