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Nurses Inspiring Hope During Hard Times: 3 Helps to Share

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by jeastridge jeastridge, BSN, RN (Trusted Brand) Trusted Brand Writer Expert Nurse

jeastridge is a BSN, RN and specializes in Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

5 Followers; 115 Articles; 151,230 Profile Views; 464 Posts

How can we inspire hope during such desperate times?

Hope is necessary all the time but even more critical now during upheaval of the twin troubles of COVID-19 and racism. How can we, as professional nurses, continue to hold on to hope and inspire it in our patients.

Nurses Inspiring Hope During Hard Times: 3 Helps to Share
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“Am I going to die?”

I could hear the naked fear in Jim’s voice as he whispered his deepest concern while I sat beside him. Still in his prime at 56, pancreatic cancer had quickly robbed him of his strength, stripping off muscle-mass and leaving his body ravaged by a disease that gained too great a foothold before being detected. Barely able to sit on the side of his hospital bed, using oxygen to help him breathe, he struggled with pain that kept him from resting well. All the while, he didn’t want to burden his anxious wife and children who took turns staying beside him and tending to his increasing needs.

As a former Hospice Nurse and Faith Community Nurse (FCN), I have encountered many situations like Jim’s. They are so hard—so hard for everyone involved, and nurses are often the ones that walk beside terminal patients when their needs are most acute. Although some physicians and other members of the care team are involved at intervals, nurses tend to be the ones most present, working to provide symptom relief on a day-to-day basis.

How can we be agents of hope in these tough situations?

How can we have hope enough to share when we are struggling too?

Our patients need us to help them have hope now more than ever. Whether they are terminal, like Jim, or trying to get through difficult treatments, or going through a surgical or medical  recovery, these times add even more anxiety to an already hard time.

COVID-19, racial tension, political upheaval—through it all the important work of nursing goes on. People are still in treatment, seeking help, needing nurses to be there for them in their time of need.

Here are some ideas to keep in mind

Renew our own sources of hope

I have a friend that has a table lamp that is solar-powered. If it doesn’t get enough sunlight, it does a poor job of illuminating the darkness. Maybe we can see a connection with ourselves in that example—staying connected to our power source, our source of energy and renewal is essential if we are to keep doing our jobs well through this difficult time. If we are spiritual people, then finding scriptures, devotionals, podcasts that help us stay grounded and hope-filled. Some nurses find peace in listening to music or in meditating. Many of you are now probably laughing, thinking that this feels out of touch with your life because besides work you have kids, a family, meals, laundry, and financial concerns. Who has time to meditate? We all hear the clarion call of our busyness but we cannot afford to let our tank of hope run dry. If we do, we risk burn-out and illness from within. So putting in those earbuds on the way home, waking up 10 minutes early to take a moment of quiet—everyone has to find their own path to renewal. What do you do to stay hopeful? Maybe you can share your ideas with others.

Talk it out or work it out

Working through COVID-19 stress and continuing to function with excellence is beyond challenging—it verges on impossible. The stress can accumulate and fill up our insides in ways that are troubling: loss of good sleep, over or under-eating, substance abuse, and the list goes on. To avoid internalizing, we must find ways to talk it out. This can take a variety of forms including journaling, joining a support group, talking with a spiritual director. Getting the stress out can also mean going for a power walk or a run or a yoga class. All of these ideas can help. What do you do?

Know your anchors

All of us are going to have different coping mechanisms. As nurses and as humans, we work to be aware of the people around us that help us to be hopeful and those that take away from our stockpile of hope. Toxic people can strip away the work we do with a few words of criticism or anger. Protecting ourselves from them during this time is important. When we are feeling low on hope, we have to lean into those relationships that feed our souls and insulate ourselves from those folks that do the opposite. Of course, it is not always possible to stay away from a toxic boss or in-law, but recognizing their effect on us and being conscious of the need for self-protection is a starting point.

How have you been coping during these times of crisis?

How do you maintain boundaries?

During the dual crises of COVID-19 and our national struggle for racial equality, we can find ourselves seriously depleted in mind, body and spirit. Being attentive to our own needs can help us navigate these troubled waters, and help us be able to respond to patients like Jim by being fully present.

Joy is an FCN that enjoys writing. She has written 2 books for children. One is a free download to help kids understand COVID-19: https:/eastridges.com/covid.

5 Followers; 115 Articles; 151,230 Profile Views; 464 Posts

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simba and mufasa has 16 years experience.

2 Articles; 26 Posts; 185 Profile Views

I have managed to avoid toxic people in this pandemic. I just stopped calling them. My go to is that I am an avid runner, I run for hours in the beautiful countryside between a range of mountain and a river. I meditate, this environment is so peaceful and quiet, it feels like I am taking to God. Running makes me decompress, sweating makes me get rid of the toxins from my body. Writing on this platform makes me empty my head by sharing my stories. Yes, it is true, we need self-care so that we are rejuvenated and be able to take care of our patients. We can pray with our patients, there is nothing wrong with that. Nurses spent 60% of the time with patients than any other health-care provider. We should be the pillars of strength during sickness or death for our patients. Thank you for sharing!

Dr Madenya 

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jeastridge is a BSN, RN and specializes in Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

5 Followers; 115 Articles; 464 Posts; 151,230 Profile Views

On 7/1/2020 at 2:21 PM, munyaradzi rwakonda said:

I have managed to avoid toxic people in this pandemic. I just stopped calling them. My go to is that I am an avid runner, I run for hours in the beautiful countryside between a range of mountain and a river. I meditate, this environment is so peaceful and quiet, it feels like I am taking to God. Running makes me decompress, sweating makes me get rid of the toxins from my body. Writing on this platform makes me empty my head by sharing my stories. Yes, it is true, we need self-care so that we are rejuvenated and be able to take care of our patients. We can pray with our patients, there is nothing wrong with that. Nurses spent 60% of the time with patients than any other health-care provider. We should be the pillars of strength during sickness or death for our patients. Thank you for sharing!

Dr Madenya 

Thank you for your powerful suggestions and insights. Joy

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Kitiger has 40 years experience as a RN and specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics.

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Memorizing and meditating on God's Word is my go-to to settle down, to breathe in life. One of my favorite things is to sit & read with one or two cats on my lap.

I have a well-used exercise bike in the house. Sometimes I go out for walks, but it is not always so easy to social distance while walking, so that is done less often.

I, too, write in a journal. I don't write every day, and some days I write pages and pages. What I write could be read by anyone - no secrets - but getting it out even in general terms is so very helpful.

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jeastridge is a BSN, RN and specializes in Faith Community Nurse (FCN).

5 Followers; 115 Articles; 464 Posts; 151,230 Profile Views

2 hours ago, Kitiger said:

Memorizing and meditating on God's Word is my go-to to settle down, to breathe in life. One of my favorite things is to sit & read with one or two cats on my lap.

I have a well-used exercise bike in the house. Sometimes I go out for walks, but it is not always so easy to social distance while walking, so that is done less often.

I, too, write in a journal. I don't write every day, and some days I write pages and pages. What I write could be read by anyone - no secrets - but getting it out even in general terms is so very helpful.

Thank you for sharing your helpful ideas and strategies. Joy

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