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How do you take care of yourselves as a group? Do you even feel a need to do so? Do you get together to discuss patients, deaths, personal stress? How do you support each other in what can be described as a very emotionally charged job?
talking with fellow nurses out in the field really helps. Moving to different positions helps too (i've been in the field monday through friday for 2 years now, and have chosen to move to a weekend salaried on call position to have more time at home and to not be as involved in the day to day case management roll). I've recently had a slew of patients die and it's been hard to lose these folks.
I have "support meetings" every other month with the team. I play some calm music and we discuss difficult cases. Recently I have been doing some fun things...trivia questions, ice breaker type exercises, we even did a mini scavenger hunt...it is a nice escape from the craziness of the day to day "stuff".
Another activity to try with your group is some form of art-making. A few examples are a team art-making project based on a theme such as collage, painting self-portraits with geometric cut-outs, a writing session, focusing on creative activities enjoyed by team members, etc.
Let's take the team (or individual) collage project as an example...the theme can be "what are you passionate about?" "what floats your boat?" or any theme someone suggests. You can work on the collage project as a team or on an individual basis, or both. After the art project is finished - talk about it.
As an artist, I believe everyone is creative and that creativity is fundamental to being human. Every member of your team has some type of creative activity they enjoy, whether it's writing, crafts, gardening, beading, woodworking, playing an instrument, cooking, etc. Have team members exhibit their creative pursuit by a show and tell. For example, if someone plays an instrument or sings, encourage that person to play or sing a piece for the group on an individual or as a duet. Does someone like painting as a creative pursuit - have that person bring in paintings, etc. Have a laughter session where everyone just laughs for 10 or more minutes. You will learn more about each other and yourself while have fun doing it.
Engaging in the creative process touches the soul and spirit, and releases dopamine. I hope these suggestions help. ~marti hand
On another note, AtlantaRN, where do you work? I live in Decatur.
We talk about stuff and how we feel about our work- trivial and non trivial, important and not important - but we talk.
Personally, I don't have a problem turning it off at the end of a shift, no matter what happens, but I know there are people who are bugged for days by particular events.
We also have a member of the team who has a parent who is coming onto our unit - very ill indeed - and this is opening up uncharted waters for us emotionally and professionally and it'll be an interesting challenge to see how it goes.