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Self-Care 101 for Nurses

by June Marshall, RN, MS, CNAA, BC

Most of us are really good at taking care of others. We’re also great at giving advice about maintaining healthy balance in our personal and professional lives, but how good are we at walking the talk? I dare to say that as nurse leaders, most of us do not practice what we preach.

Employees look to us as role models. It’s tough to mentor nursing staff in the area of healthy work/life balance if we don’t have balance in our own lives. Have you put off exercising regularly because of an impending deadline or because you’re simply too tired after long hours at work? Do you eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily? Do you drink at least 6-8 glasses of water each day? Do you take some time each day to relax and do something you really enjoy? Do you get enough uninterrupted sleep at night? Do you often feel tired? Just think about what kind of role model you are.

How healthy are our work environments? Direct patient care is physically demanding and psychologically stressful. Do we offer adequate time for nurses to have rest periods at work? Do we provide the same healing environments for nurses that we provide for patients? How good are we at providing flexible work schedules to accommodate needs of mature nurses who have difficulty still working 12-hour shifts? How creative are we in offering employee wellness programs where direct care nurses can actually participate?

Take a few moments to assess your unit or department. Have a discussion about self care at your next staff meeting. Make self care a priority. Ask for staff input and develop an action plan. Then implement it and evaluate your progress. Make self care and the care of your staff a priority. Try a few simple actions to improve the care of your unit/department:

  • Use humor. Find something to laugh about with your staff each day.
  • Assess the mature nurses’ needs and create flexible scheduling options for them.
  • Designate a quiet place where nurses can go to relax and get away from the stresses of work for a few minutes.
  • Have a massage therapist come to the unit to give short massages once a month.
  • Limit work hours. Avoid overtime except in a crisis. Take vacation time!
  • Look for the positives each day. Recognize staff accomplishments. Focus on praise rather than problems.

And last, but certainly not least, practice what you preach!


Have you seen this?

Text-A-Nurse Cuts Time and Costs for Healthcare Staffing Professionals.

Do you think it as a realistic way for nurse managers to save some time, energy, and money?

Holiday gifts for staff

by Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN

Where does the time go?

Thanksgiving is around the corner and holiday shopping will soon be on everyone’s mind. What are you planning to do for your staff this year to show your appreciation? Some of you have a small group, while others may have more than 100 staff members, which can be very costly for the manager.

What gift ideas have worked well? And what ideas, well let’s just say, didn’t get the reception you were hoping for?

Going back to school

p>by Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN

Welcome to the Nurse Manager blog, “The Leaders’ Lounge!” I am thrilled you made time to log in and stop by to see what everyone is chatting about. I have yet to meet a nurse manager that didn’t have anything to say! But this is more than a blog; it is an opportunity to do exactly what this Web site focuses on. It’s a chance to strategize, plan, and develop an approach for your success in a nurse leadership role.

The ground rules for our blog are no different than any you would set for staff: no blaming others not here to represent themselves, take accountability for what you own, and agree it is okay to disagree. Some of the topics we’ll see will make us want to cry, and others will elevate our blood pressure to places we never thought it could go.

This blog is a sharing of all our journeys and I am here to get the proverbial ball rolling. Along the way, I’ll also be the person to laugh with, and the person to provide the rubber pad when you feel like you need to bang your head against the wall.

With all that said, let’s get started:

As I continue to work with nurse managers, charge nurses, and other healthcare leaders, I reflect on my days as a manager and realize all I continue to learn. Like many of you, I am heading back to school to obtain a degree in nursing with constant affirmation that learning is a lifelong process.

Why now, at the age of 53, am I deciding to go back to school? Two important reasons:

  • the shortage of nursing faculty to continue
  • validating my qualifications to perform in my role as a consultant

Although you may have heard me speak nationally or may be familiar with one of the several books and articles I have authored, I need a master’s level nursing degree to teach as faculty for a school of nursing. The shortage of faculty is directly impacting how many students are accepted into nursing programs.

Have you thought about going back to school? Why or why not? What factors are impacting the type of degree you select? What are you having to change and balance in your life so you can accomplish this?</p