As a hard working nurse, you need to protect yourself from becoming overwhelmed and burnt out by the losses, hurts and fears of your patients or the job. Fortunately, there are ways you can keep going when the going gets tough.
Jude Bijou, MA, MFT, respected psychotherapist, professional educator, and author of Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life, advises nurses who “hit a wall” of frustration and anxiety to follow her 7 tips for getting unstuck at work.
- Deal with your emotions. To deal with sadness, anger and fear, take some private time to express those emotions physically and constructively. By crying to express sadness, punching or yelling into a pillow, the energy dissipates and you won't feel stuck.
- Find your purpose. Does your work feel meaningless? Do your days feel empty? If so, Bijou suggests you answer the following questions: Why am I here? What am I doing? Where am I going? What is my purpose? What do I truly want? What is important to me? Don't censor yourself, and be patient and persistent. Finding your purpose can help you feel anchored.
- Align your goals. If you’re feeling unmotivated or complacent in your job, Bijou advises getting a clear picture of your long-term work objectives for 1 year, 5 years, and even a lifetime. Write down your work goals for these time frames. Are your daily actions moving you closer to these career goals or farther away? If the latter, you need to re-align and take steps to reach your long-term goals.
- Grade your job. Can’t decide if you need to look for a new job? Make a list of at least 30 ideal job qualities. Now give each item a score: 1 = your work has that quality; 0.5 = your work has it somewhat; 0 = your work lacks the quality. Now add up your score and divide it by the number of qualities in your list to arrive at a percentage. This should objectively tell you whether you should accept where you are or move on.
- Accentuate the positive. If you dwell on what's wrong around you more than what's right, you need to realize that you have limited control over your situation or environment, but you have total control over how you perceive it. Bijou suggests you find something positive about everyone you encounter and voice an appreciation for your job at least twice a day.
- Regain your balance. If you feel taxed, bored or overwhelmed, start by sleeping, eating and exercising regularly to bring your body back into balance. Do something each day to nourish yourself. Help another nurse who's struggling to give you a sense of mastery and accomplishment.
- Accept reality. Do you resist change at work? Do you feel annoyed by people who try to get you to do more work or do it differently? Feeling intolerant can put the brakes on your career. Make a list of everyone and everything at your job you don't like. Write and then repeat 11 times, "The [fill in the blank] is the way it is, not the way I think it should be." This little exercise will move you from frustration to true acceptance.
Nursing is one of the hardest, most demanding professions. But it can also be the path to a rewarding career—if you learn how to cope with its many challenges.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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