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Study: Nurse fatigue on the rise

A new survey indicates that fatigue affects 85 percent of nurses, and more than half of nurses have experienced burnout.

The study, conducted by Kronos Incorporated, surveyed 257 nurses currently working in U.S. hospitals. Nearly all of the respondents (98%) said their work is physically and mentally demanding, and 63 percent reported that their work caused nurse burnout. 44 percent worried that their patient care would suffer because of their exhaustion, and 41 percent considered changing hospitals in the past year because of their burnout.

Nurse fatigue has a number of causes, and can occur during any shift. An excess of fatigue without proper coping mechanism can cause burnout, an exhaustion that can cause your staff feel alienated from their work and cause diminished performance.

The best way to counter burnout in your staff is to create programs that encourage self-care and raise awareness about the symptoms of nurse fatigue. For more tips about coping with burnout, check out the following articles from the Strategies for Nurse Managers’ Reading Room:

Preventing nurse fatigue
Take Five: How renewal rooms revive stressed out nurses
Don’t underestimate damage caused by burned out nurses
Stop requiring nurses to work overtime

Educating staff about compassion fatigue

While many nurses know about compassion fatigue, they might not know exactly what it is, why it happens, or how to identify it in themselves. In a recent blog post, Jennifer Lelwica Buttaccio tackled some of the most common myths associated with compassion fatigue.

Not me!
One of the most common misconceptions about compassion fatigue is that your compassion is a limited resource, and if you can still feel compassion for a patient, it must not pertain to you. More likely, you will experience symptoms in other aspects of your life, such as physical or mental exhaustion, dreading going to work, worrying and dwelling on possible errors, or becoming easily frustrated with coworkers. So even if you feel empathetic while you’re with a patient, you could still be suffering from compassion fatigue.

Work harder! Nurses tend to throw themselves into their job head-first, but that approach can be detrimental when dealing with compassion fatigue; your instinct to work harder to overcome challenges at work will not help you here. It’s important to maintain a work-life balance, and compassion fatigue is often caused by overwork and neglecting yourself.

Patients first! Nurses take great pride in the care they give to their patients, but it should not come at the cost of caring for yourself. The best way to provide consistent and outstanding patient care is to take care of yourself first, by taking time for yourself, away from alarms, patients, and colleagues. Make sure that both you and your staff take their breaks and use their time off.

Check out the articles below for more information about compassion fatigue and solutions to your health and wellness problems.
Preventing nurse fatigue
Take Five: How renewal rooms revive stressed out nurses
Worker Wellness: Fatigue and Burnout

Free Excerpt from HCPro’s new Critical Thinking book!

Avoiding Autopilot

CTB Cover

Rarely are we genuinely thoughtless—that is, without thought. But often we are not giving our thoughts much consideration. In today’s world, there is much distraction and sometimes we are guilty of distracting ourselves just to prevent our minds from focusing on the things that are most important (electronic devices proliferate and give us many opportunities to engage in mindlessness). So, to be genuinely able to think about thinking, we must avoid going onto autopilot.

Autopilot is the state of being where we are largely going through the motions, not thoughtfully engaged in the activities of life. It is when we arrive at our destination but cannot remember the traffic on our commute, or taking the last turn or even whether we stopped for the traffic signal or not—it happens to all of us, and that is autopilot. The key is in recognizing when it is happening and being willing and able to intercept your unconscious mind and instead coax it to be present in the real-life situation you’re living. It is learning to move our conscious mind from nowhere to now here—a subtle but essential difference!

Being present in the moment is the essence of mindfulness, and it is powerful! Mindfulness wakes us up to sensations we have been failing to notice. It reveals patterns in our activities that we’ve become blind to. It permits us the full engagement in the reality happening in front of us and even within us, silently, steadfastly, sacredly. Mindfulness may enable us to improve our health, connect more successfully to other people, enlarge our thinking, focus our perception, and even strengthen our intuition. Mindfulness is the polar opposite of autopilot!

To read more, visit the HCPro Marketplace

 

Tips for recommitting to nursing in the new year

The new year is often a time for retrospection and reflection, especially when it comes to your career. If you’re starting to feel burnt out on nursing but not quite ready for a career change, here is some advice to freshen things up in the new year.

  • Reflect on your past: Sometimes the best way to go forward is to look back. What drew you to nursing in the first place? Why was a career in nursing right for you? Think about the positive experiences you’ve had as a nurse that reaffirmed your career goals. Treat your next shift like it’s your first day; what excites you? What makes you nervous? Sometimes asking these questions can reinvigorate how you approach your work.
  • Connect (and disconnect): If you’re feeling down about your job, sometimes the best solution is to ask for help. Reach out to your peers and develop a support system to help yourself and others. If you think there’s something that could make you happier at work, talk to your managers about it; sometimes a small change can have a profound effect.

    It’s also important to let go sometimes. Being a caregiver, interacting with patients at some of the worst times in their lives can negatively impact your outlook and make your job even more difficult. Try to focus on the good you’ve done for patients and don’t take it personally when a patient struggles or suffers.

  • Commit to the new: Even though it doesn’t always feel like it, taking on new challenges can be a great way to energize your career. Seek out new experiences and opportunities; take the frustrations of the day and channel it toward learning a new skill or pursuing additional training options. Reflecting on your weaknesses can be difficult at first, but identifying them and working towards improvement can be satisfying and build you confidence.

    Another great way to embrace the new is working with nursing students or new nurses. They bring energy and enthusiasm to the job, and becoming a preceptor or informal mentor can be a great way to grow your own enthusiasm while furthering your career.

For more articles about avoiding burnout and developing your career, check out the Health & Wellness section of the Strategies for Nurse Managers Reading Room!

Rock Your Health: Why Am I So Sleepy?

Just back from a relaxing weekend and about ready to put your head down on the desk and take a nap? Even this morning in Jazzercise, the person next to me said she was exhausted when she thought she would return all rested and energized. Right now I feel very tired myself, so I’m going to take a closer look at why I am so sleepy. I’ve found three good reasons, so read on and find out what they are.

Blood Sugar Effects

I remember eating a lot of hot dogs with white buns, chips, ice cream – all high glycemic carbs that enter your bloodstream fast and then crash your blood sugar just as fast. (Thank goodness I don’t eat like that all the time!) That leads to a groggy crashing feeling and if you eat like that all weekend, you can bet you will feel pretty sleepy. Did you eat like this over the weekend?

Hormone Effects

Once again, those high glycemic carbs are the culprit. They activate your brain to produce serotonin, a chemical that allows for calm and pleasant moods, while making tryptophan, the chemical responsible for sleepiness, more available to your brain. This is another reason high carb meals make you sleepy, says the National Sleep Foundation. So now you get a double whammy from eating all that junk food!

Overeating Effects

Overeating is one of the most common causes of sleepiness. After eating, your body routes more blood to your digestive system. Meals excessive in size require even more blood, which causes temporary deprivation of blood and nutrients in your brain and residual grogginess.

So that’s what caused me to be sleepy all the time! What about you?

Need some support around this issue? Email me and we can talk.

Rock Your Health: Lesson Learned When I Decluttered One Shelf

It’s time to lighten your load and start living clutter free!

  • You can avoid the clutter and stress out all you want, but nothing will change until you take action.
  • You can make a commitment to another person, so you will have to keep your word.
  • You can declutter efficiently and in less time by using the timer on your cell phone to keep you moving.
  • You can add energetic music to the process so if feels like fun; if you can trick yourself into feeling like you are having fun, you’ll feel like the best organizer in the world!
  • The best thing for me is admiring my work and wanting to keep that shelf looking this way every day. And now on to the next challenge – my desk!

 

What have you learned when you cleaned your office? Want some support with this issue? I’m an expert on clutter and can coach you thru this process. Email me and let’s talk!

Rock Your Health: If it’s not one thing, it’s another! The Art of Accepting the Inevitable

What does it mean to accept the inevitable? I’ve been pondering this lately as I’m getting older, but things are changing that I have no control over. For example, I can’t jump around in Jazzercise like I used to: I have to step in place because my knees will bother me if I don’t. I find that I need a little rest time in my day so that I can keep going on into the evening with activities. I find that I’m more assertive than I used to be – yes, I’m a bit mouthy – and don’t really care about the consequences.

Things are changing, and I’m encountering some of the same issues my mother experienced. I find that I have a better understanding my mother’s aging process as I get older.

The bottom line is it’s my job to accept my age changes rather than complain and resist. It’s just the way it is.

Now I know this isn’t easy, and for sure it hasn’t been for me (or my mother). I remember when I used to run for fitness, but after several years it was causing me a lot of back pain. So I had to stop running and just do walking. And of course that made me depressed, because I thought I’ll never be as healthy as I want to be from just walking. But eventually I realized that walking is a great fitness activity for me now!

But acceptance of a change might not come right away. But if you give it some time and appreciate the fact that this may be a new normal for you, then you can finally make peace with it and accept it.

What are you going through right now that is challenging you?

Here are my tips to help you with acceptance of anything that might be changing for you that you are starting to resist.

A – Allow the change to come into being instead of fighting it.

C – Communicate your feelings with family or friends so you don’t bottle things up.

C – Create new opportunities that will achieve the same benefit you’ve been looking for differently.

E – Eliminate negative feelings that arise and focus on how can you shift and move forward with your life.

P – Pretend everything is as it should be, and relax into these changes to allow your body and mind to relax as well.

T – Train yourself to keep moving forward instead of yielding to depression, regret, and anger.

A – Allow time to accept the changes and let your mind go through the stages of grief and loss.

N – Notice when you have shifted into accepting your new reality and celebrate your progress.

C – Collaborate with others going through a similar situation and get ideas on how they’re dealing with it.

E – Enjoy the process of change as another wonderful thing about being alive!

And finally, I love this reminder from one of my support groups – “When I got busy, I got better.”

So I got busy writing this blog and now I feel better!

If you need some support around acceptance, contact me for a quick laser coaching session to give you a boost.

Rock Your Health: Stop Muttering and Start Decluttering – Try A 12 Step Approach

If you are CREATIVE like me, clutter stays cluttered and causes muttering about the clutter, but it never gets decluttered!

So what’s that all about? For me, cluttering results from being blessed – or cursed – with being a person who is VISUAL. You need to have everything in view so you can find it. OUT OF SIGHT AND OUT OF MIND is your motto. Can you relate? So how do you manage that?

Let’s apply this issue to a 12 Step Program, of which I am very familiar and has helped me greatly in the past with issues out of my control.

  1. Admit you are powerless over clutter, it has become a barrier to managing your life and business successfully and causes you a great deal of unnecessary stress.
  2. Believe that a force greater than you can bring clutter under control if you just turn it over to the clutter gods for support.
  3. Make a commitment to getting regular decluttering done by committing it to your calendar.
  4. Search within yourself to discover why cluttering is happening in the first place and address that.
  5. Admit to yourself and others that just because it appears to be a problem, it is actually related to what kind of person you are and reflects the nature of a creative mind.
  6. Be willing to admit to yourself and others that just because you have the gift of creativity doesn’t mean you can’t control the clutter in your life.
  7. Ask the clutter gods of the universe to support your efforts in managing the clutter in a positive way.
  8. Make a list of all the people and projects you have disappointed because of you were less organized and efficient due to excess clutter.
  9. Share those truths with those affected and make amends.
  10. Continue to monitor your clutter daily and course correct promptly to avoid becoming paralyzed.
  11. Set your intention daily, using visualization on what it looks and feels like to live a clutter-free lifestyle.
  12. Share the message and lessons learned with others challenged by this issue.

Now you don’t have to do all of these steps right away. This is a major lifestyle change that thrives on doing one step at a time and moving on when you start seeing and “feeling” results.

Need some coaching support around this issue? Contact me for a laser coaching session.

Rock Your Health: Network or Die!

Are you contemplating having your own business? Check this out!

Did you know that “people need people” and in some cases when people don’t have human contact they can die? Newborns denied physical contact with other humans can actually die from this lack of contact, even when provided with proper nutrition and shelter. Older people who lack social contacts may be at increased risk of death if acute symptoms develop, because there is less of a network of confidantes to prompt medical attention.

Working for yourself is certainly different than having a job working for a boss and being around lots of people all day. There are always opportunities to make connections, be seen and known, and create new opportunities. But when you work for yourself, it is up to you to make those connections happen.

I’m just giving you a reality check in case you are about to embark on starting a business of your own and want to find out how to grow your business and avoid the “kiss of death” that happens to 50% of new businesses.

NETWORKING rules as a business builder and here’s why:

N – new connections are made with new people who may need your services
E – enjoyment happens when you learn about people’s hopes and dreams
T – trust develops when you connect with people on a regular basis
W – wonderful conversations often lead to friendships
O – opportunities arise to find even more people whom you can serve
R – rewards come from being able to help someone improve their life
K – kindred spirits show up the more people you meet
I – intimate conversations can lead to deeper relationships
N – notice what happens when you give the gift of listening to another person
G – great things occur when great people get together

So if you are going into business for yourself, networking with people on a regular basis is critical – but pays off with great rewards. What are your thoughts about this issue?

Rock Your Health: How to get what you want every time you ask

I know – that doesn’t sound possible. But how would you like to raise your odds of success?

Have you ever wanted something to happen to improve your life and it just wasn’t happening? No matter how hard you tried? Maybe you were trying too hard and need to slack off a bit. Sometimes we block our desires by pushing too hard and then get frustrated thinking “Why aren’t I getting anywhere? I’m working as hard as I can and getting nowhere.”

Here’s an example. I was teaching a class for teachers on how to bring positivity into the classroom using the Law of Attraction and suddenly realized that as much as I know about all the ways in the world to attract great things to my life, I still don’t always practice them. This class became a reminder of that, so I’d like to share with you five tips to help you do less, feel better and attract more.

Here are some tips to get you started.

  • First decide what desire you want to manifest for yourself
  • Create a Vision Board that represents what your desire looks like and display it where you see it every day
  • Schedule time every day to focus on your desire in a relaxed state
  • Practice techniques you enjoy daily that relax you like meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, exercise, listening to relaxing music, etc.
  • Keep a journal of all the things you start manifesting as proof that it works

Now you will be on your way to getting what you want (almost) every time you ask. I would love to hear your comments about this.