Nursing is the best career - yes I’m extremely biased, but it is! It's vital that you make time for yourself and take care of yourself, though. Here are some ways you can do that.
Nursing is rewarding. You meet amazing people daily, you work with some truly extraordinary colleagues who have a sea of knowledge, and there are so many areas you can work in. But it can be tiring and sometimes emotionally and physically draining. There have been many times I’ve been upset because of a patient, staff have spoken to me in a way I didn’t like and I’ve been so tired to even speak to my family.
Here's how you can take care of yourself, prevent burnout, and make nursing your amazing career for as long as you want.
Talking to people
As a nursing student, communication should be key to day-to-day life with your interprofessional team. It is so important that when you get home you continue that communication with friends and family.
If you have had a tough day, talk about it (whilst maintaining confidentiality) if you need a vent or if something has upset you. If you feel you need to talk to someone further, talk to your mentor, ward manager or the support groups within ARU or the Trust you're working in. They'll be able to guide you. Don’t keep your feelings bottled away and let them build up.
Take the time to treat yourself
This includes things like having a relaxing bubble bath, watching your favourite film, going out shopping, or meeting with your friends. Nurses and students work so hard; plan your time so that you have some for yourself to relax. Do what you enjoy and what you know will life your spirits.
Make sure you are eating and drinking sufficiently. Eating too much will make you feel uncomfortable and too little will not give you the sufficient energy to look after your patients. Make sure you have healthy, energy-packed meals and are drinking plenty of water – which in turn is good for your health, makes you feel better with less worries and will help to keep you hydrated through your shift.
I’ve spoken about this in a previous blog but meal preparation is ESSENTIAL! You know only good food is going in your body, you know the sufficient amount for your body and it will in the long term save money. Meals like pasta, salad, meat/Quorn and vegetables, soup, etc are all easy meals which will keep you fuelled for your shift.
There are two types of planning I want to discuss. The first is to plan your day at work with your mentor, then you will know what needs to be done and what you want to achieve. For me, this works best as I then feel productive and like I’ve achieved something when I leave that evening and know everything has been done.
The second is to plan things with your family and friends to look forward to! Working up until you have something to do is the best kind of motivation. For example, I love to watch shows and musicals. If I book one for a few weeks ahead I know what I want to achieve in that time, so that I enjoy the show and know I have worked for it!
These are some of the things that work best for me and help me work to a goal. I hope they help you, too.