Your top three coping strategies

  1. I left nursing 10 years ago due to the extreme stress I was experiencing. I just never could get to a place of comfort in the position after two years on the floor (med-surg).

    I remember telling one nurse how much I worried about harming someone or doing something wrong. She looked at me with a blank expression and said, "That's what you have malpractice insurance for" and walked away. In a way, I envied her, but somehow, the thought of being covered by insurance didn't make me think I would feel any better if I hurt someone.

    I want to return to nursing (labor and delivery, my first love when I started nursing school). I would love to hear your coping strategies. I NEED to hear your coping strategies.

    Thanks in advance..
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   twinmommy+2
    (typing one handed, bear with me)
    leave work at work, but have someone available to talk out thoser tough cases
    remember that you are not superwoman and are just a mere mortal
    when you have a tough case that makes you question yourself, also remember those that you helped or even *gasp* told you thank you
    treat yourself at lunch with something yummy, gives you something to look forward to
  4. by   supernurse65
    If you get in to a field you like your coping skills will come naturally.

    Med/surg isn't for everyone so don't feel badly because you weren't comfortable.

    I have never worked in a hospital always LTC either peds or geris now psych.........EXPLORE YOUR WORLD.


    There are plenty of jobs for all of us to be comfortable in don't give up caring nurses are needed everywhere.
  5. by   barbyann
    1. I acknowledge that every day I go to work with the intention of doing my very best.....

    2. I realize that my best is measured on a sliding scale with administrative decisions weighing heavily on that scale.

    3. If I ever have to go before the State Board of Nursing one of two scenarios are possible, I did something so bad I should be there and will abide by their rulings or I will surrender my license and get out of nursing, no questions asked, and go work at the movie theater down the street.

    Think about it........you could harm someone, that is a fact in nursing. You could also hurt someone driving to work in your car.....
  6. by   Elisheva
    Thanks so much. You have no idea how every little bit of support and advice helps.
  7. by   Antikigirl
    Oh stress was my bedfellow I will tell you until I found a position I adore! Three things I think about that help me are:

    1. I know my limitations as a professional and a person and respect them! I can't be 100% responsible for the patient since I can't do 100% of the job (I am not the MD who can prescribe and Dx, I am not the therapists, I am not the family, I am not the environmental factors, etc.) I can only do what I can do and communicate to others...as long as I do that to my best...heck with naysayers I may run into!!!!!! I know I did well, and so does my patient (whether they acknowledge that or not).
    SO basically know your personal and professional limitations well, and respect them...that has saved me lots of heartache and stress!!!!

    2. Be myself! I got through nursing school being myself, got through NCLEX being myself, get through my life being myself...so if it is working well, why get a facade or cover over my personality at work? I don't do it when I meet a stranger...seems it would certainly work for a patient. This one took a long time to fully understand...now I am truly happy, and I am getting more done, a better rounded nurse, can deal with the human perspective and earn my patients trust and cooperation to the fullest, and get along with if not all staff!!! Why did I wait so long! LOL! SO be true to yourself and let it shine!!!!! Takes more energy to fake or bottle then it does to let your spirit glow!

    3. Really have a one on one with yourself about how you truely feel about death and illness. What are your feelings about this, your fears, your anxieties...if you know those well and learn effective ways to see how you feel and know that may occur during a work day (which I am sorry you do tend to take those issues home in your brain to mull over) you can learn ways to be more proactive or protective of them. These change over time as you advance as a nurse...but always keep these feeling in check..these are the insidious thing that can lead to depression and you don't even see them comming! SO be true to your feelings about working with the dying or ill pt...and learn to embrace them and work with them because they are as individual as you, they are a part of you, and can be turned into wonderful insite and energy for not only you...but a patient one day!!!!

    I have others too...and sometimes they come into play given various situations, but these seem to be my foundations! I see my MD annually or PRN if I feel stress effecting my life outside of work, I watch any drinking that may occur or other bad habits, I journal (very helpful!), and a biggie I adopted in RN school...

    I MAKE the time for relaxation when I hit the door home! I have a ROUTINE I do that signifies the end of the RN, and the start of the wife/mother/human in me! The shoes are first, scrubs next. I get into something comfy (I bought comfy outfits just for this!) and slip into my fuzzy socks that feel so great. I take a deep breath and say two nice things that happened at work, then LEAVE work/school at that and focus on my family and self! Man I feel so much better with that routine!!!!! Worked for 7 years so far!

    Good luck to you!!!!!!! I know the stress can take your spirit, mind and body with it...so I tried to handle it in that order so I treat my whole person! No sense just taking on one...it is a package deal, and the best person to fix it...ME!
  8. by   Elisheva
    Wow...what a reply, Triage. Lots of terrific information in there.

    I love the part about having a routine (ritual) about leaving work behind. I'm Jewish, so I'm all about the ritual. That was one thing I really had trouble doing....leaving it all behind. You know, I'm the nurse who would call back to see if Ms. So and So ate her breakfast after giving her a big wad of insulin.

    This is one tip I will surely implement.
  9. by   jenni82104
    Awesome advice TriageRn!
  10. by   muffie
    triagern you rock
  11. by   DoubleblessedRN
    I'm not a nurse (yet) but I'm a paramedic and we get a lot of the same treatment that nurses do...including from nurses because they get it from their superiors. We aren't respected or appreciated but I always bear in mind that what I do is important and it's a job that not just anybody can do. You have to learn to get appreciation from your patients. Sure, there are some people you just won't make happy no matter what, and that's ok. But there are patients out there that do appreciate you. My daughter nearly died when she was only 7 weeks old. Afterward, I made it a point to thank the nurse for caring for her the way she did. It meant so much to her. She had been a nurse for over 25 years. She said my daughter's case "really stuck out" and she wasn't sure at that time if she would make it. But this was weeks after she was discharged...NOT while she was hospitalized! (She is fine now, thank the Lord.)
  12. by   analee23
    There are a few things I do to relax. I leave work at work as triagern said, but I do call my dad sometimes on my drive home (he's a pediatrician) and discuss some more difficult cases (I work peds), he always has great advice and helps me get through some negative feelings I may have on what I wish had happened with patients.

    It's also important to have some kind of RELEASE. I have a horse that I love to ride. After rough days, I get up early the next morning and ride him for a few hours. Just being out in the fresh air and relaxing makes such a big difference. My dad (as I said, he's a pediatrician) does pottery one day a week as his release. I know other nurses who ride bikes, exercise, shop, travel, etc. etc. as their release from work. You just have to figure out what helps get all that stress out for you.

    Best of luck, hope that helped!

    Analee
  13. by   canoehead
    I have had to relearn many times over the years; if it is physically impossible to do everything you are being asked to do, guess what? it's not possible to do it all.

    More than one chest pain at a time...they have to be done one at a time
    Need to transfer out AND take a new critical patient...one or the other
    Paperwork or patient care...patient care every time

    If you knowit was impossible to do everything you should go home with a clear conscience.
  14. by   Elisheva
    Canoe and others, thanks for your replies.

    One thing I do remember is feeling OVERWHELMED when things got crazy, which made it almost impossible for me to think straight.

    One chest pain at a time. Good advice. Another poster on another thread said something like this: When I get really busy, that's my signal to slow down.

    Slowing down when rushed. Relaxing while contracting. I can do this.

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