SPONSORED CONTENT -- (StatePoint) While the worst of the pandemic is behind us, if you’re a nurse, you know its effects live on. Ongoing staffing shortages spurred by pandemic-related layoffs and resignations have created conditions in many healthcare settings that are untenable for workers, inspiring nurses in some areas of the country to go on strike.
In this climate of high stress and tension, anxiety, depression and burnout are common, but industry experts say that if you’re a nurse experiencing these mental health issues, there are steps you can take to feel better, including rethinking the way you deliver self-care and care for your patients.
“Nursing is largely about caring for others, but it’s important to take time each day to focus on your own wellness,” says Jennifer Sheets, president and chief executive officer of Interim Healthcare Inc. “While many traditional nursing jobs aren’t able to offer the amount of time and space needed to recharge with self-care, careers in the home healthcare industry offer flexibility, good work-life balance and great job satisfaction.”
In an Interim Healthcare Inc. survey, 71% of licensed medical professionals reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has led them to consider a career shift to home healthcare as a way to reconnect with why they got into healthcare in the first place. Fortunately for patients and nurses alike, the home healthcare field is growing in size and scope. Once associated primarily with senior care, it now extends to many other facets of care -- from caring for acute illnesses like COVID-19, to complex medical care for children, to specialized care for chronic diseases, dementia and hospice. In fact, much of the technology and clinical capabilities of the hospital are available at home, making home care possible for more patients, and ultimately allowing for more nurses to make the switch.
Beyond rethinking your role in the nursing industry, Sheets offers these additional mental wellness tips:
• Understand the symptoms of mental health issues, like anxiety, depression and burnout. If you are living with these issues, talk to a trusted friend or family member about what you’re experiencing and consider addressing your concerns with a mental health professional. Telehealth is making it easier to fit counseling or therapy into a weekly schedule, particularly one that changes from week to week.
• While depression and anxiety can feel lonely, know that you’re not alone. Other nurses are feeling the same way right now. Lean on colleagues for support.
• Implement activities around self-care and set aside time for yourself. Breathing exercises, meditation and yoga can be powerful stress relievers, and studies consistently show that even just a few minutes of regular moderate or vigorous exercise can reduce your risk of depression.
• Simplify daily tasks to ease mental health symptoms. Whether it’s relying on apps to help you check off items on your to-do list, or being more realistic about the social commitments you make, there are many ways to ensure your life outside of work doesn’t unduly add to your stress.
• Look for job opportunities that will make you happier. Those in home healthcare let you make your own schedule, match you with assignments that fit your needs and preferences, and offer variety, support, flexibility and better nurse-to-patient ratios. To explore these benefits, visit careers.interimhealthcare.com.
During the ongoing challenges plaguing the nursing industry, it’s important to focus on your wellness. Doing so can help you get back to focusing on making a difference in the lives of your patients.
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