Nurstress: How To Deal with Stress

stressTips on how to deal with stress for nurses

Nursing is considered as one of the most stressful professions. Studies show that numerous pressures related with nursing responsibilities and the healthcare setting contribute to significant stress levels among nurses.

Physically, this job tends to have high demands of musculo-skeletal stress. Getting a lot of admissions and discharges in a day of duty, catering patients’ needs, performance of nursing procedures and shift work, let alone endless turning and lifting of patients can be very tiring for nurses. We usually end up being exhausted and worn-out after that long duty shift.

Mentally, as nurses, we are required to do critical thinking all the time. We have to be alert during the entire shift as we are dealing with lives. A simple mistake can result to bigger consequences. Emotionally, we are to empathize with patients and are exposed to a work environment that is perceived to be full of pain and sadness. Talk about the baggage of being a nurse.

Nurses as modern-day superheroes

However tough the situation may be, nurses are seen to be flexible and are expected to be able to cope with anything that comes their way, may it be personal or work-related. With these perceptions, nurses are also expected to be able to deal with stress effectively. But the main question really is, how will we be able to do that?

Here are some pointers by which we can unleash our inner gods/goddesses and conquer stress:

  • Live a healthy lifestyle – As nurses, we are viewed by our patients as role models. We often teach them about living healthy, getting lots of sleep, eating nutritious food and avoiding toxic lifestyles. Why not benefit from what we advocate for? Let’s skip the unhealthy ones (which usually exacerbate stress response) and start a healthy living. Healthy people tend to have higher stress resistance.

  • Time and workload management – At beginning of the day, plan out your schedule. List the things that should be done and prioritize them according to urgency. With this, you can be able to avoid work overload and take control of the happenings in the workplace. Delegate activities which you are sure that your co-workers can handle.  Learning how to manage your time, tasks and activities can be a little tricky, but doing so can make your nursing life a lot easier and less stressful.

  • Think positively – they say that when you truly seek change, you begin with thy self. Shoo away all those negative vibes and embrace the positives. Give yourself a “pat in the back” from time to time. Feel inner peace as you think to yourself that you can do it. Think the best of things. Upholding a positive mind can help you become more calm and optimistic when dealing with your day-to-day endeavors.

  • Balance work and play – Yes, it is every person’s goal to reach success that is why we tend to work very hard to achieve it. But it wouldn’t hurt to have a little fun sometimes, right? Spend time on things you enjoy and love, go on vacations, attend parties, get whole body massages and reward yourself for working really hard on weekends. Use your leisure time to recharge your drained batteries. By the time you get back to work, you will feel more energized and ready to take on another round of productive duty shifts.

  • Be active – Exercise and be fit. Hit the gym regularly, go on long walks, go swimming, take your dog for a walk. Let’s burn up all the excess adrenaline and release feel good hormones in the name of endorphins. Exercises from energy-filled aerobics to simple yoga can bring a big difference when it comes to stress management. Aside from releasing endorphins, it can also distract us from our daily worries, ease up stress levels and give a sense of well-being.

  • Chill with friends – Have dinner and chill time with people you care about. Vent out what you are feeling to trusted friends. Express your hurt and frustrations as your significant others lend you a shoulder to cry on. But later on, wipe those tears and come out with a bright perspective. Talking about your concerns and what upsets you can be very therapeutic and with the help of a  sturdy support system composed of friends and loved ones you can have a buffer to reduce significant impacts brought about by stressful events.

Being a nurse means being a person who has to face numerous challenges in daily servings. Unexpected trials and demands are thrown to us from day-to-day. Expectations must be met and quality care must be rendered all in a day of duty. Being a nurse may be nerve-racking, but remember, is it something exceptional.


Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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