Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

Although nurses are trained caregivers, they sometimes forget the importance of self-care. This can lead to errors on the job, fatigue, burnout, health problems and a general disdain for life, which comes at a high cost to both patients and nurses.

Self-care for nurses starts with the awareness of personal needs and then finding ways to take care of them. Both nursing students and working nurses experience many stressors that contribute to the need for self-care.Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

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The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing notes that occupational stressors include the following:

Advanced care planning.
Autonomy and informed consent to treatment.
Increased paperwork.
Protecting patients’ rights.
Reduced managerial support.
Factors based on role, such as lack of power, role ambiguity and role conflict.
Staffing patterns.
Surrogate decision-making.
Threats to career development and achievement.
Unpredictable and challenging workspaces.
Nursing students deal with academic stress like reviews, heavy workloads and study problems. They may also be dealing with other stresses, such as balancing a job and family obligations with the coursework for their nursing program.

The Cost to Patients
According to, one reason self-care for nurses is so important is that “to truly care for others, nurses must be ‘intentionally present’ to be ‘centered and able to use all senses’ at all interactions.”Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

A 2012 survey of 2,500 registered nurses in North Carolina found 71 percent of them experienced musculoskeletal pain and 18 percent experienced depression. The study found that nurses who suffered from pain and depression were less present when on the job. This was “significantly associated with a higher number of patient falls, a higher number of medication errors, and lower quality-of-care scores.”

These increased falls and medication errors cost an estimated $1,346 for each North Carolina RN and just under $2 billion in the United States each year. The article concludes that, “More attention must be paid to the health of the nursing workforce to positively influence the quality of patient care and patient safety and to control costs.”

The Cost to Nurses
While nurses often deal with musculoskeletal pain and depression, they may endure other discomforts as well. Their personal lives and relationships may suffer. They may develop other health problems, or they may burn out and leave the nursing profession.

Self-Care for Nurses
Three of the most important suggestions when it comes to self-care are eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly and practicing stress-reduction techniques.Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

Seek the help of a registered dietitian or use your own nursing knowledge to develop an eating plan appropriate for you. There is no single diet that works for everyone.

The CDC recommends a weekly exercise regimen that includes 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or some combination of the two. You also need two or more days of strength activities that work all major muscle groups.

Choose exercise activities you enjoy. Not only are you more likely to stick with them but you also avoid the negative effects of forcing yourself to do something you dislike. There are many available options, such as walking, running, swimming, cycling, dancing, yoga, Pilates, team sports, tennis and much more.Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

Stress-reduction techniques:
Breathing exercises.
Massage or spa therapies.
Mental imagery or visualization.
Pet therapy.
Tai chi or Qigong.
Writing in a journal.
If you have a family, get them involved. If you have young children, get help with child care — be it from your partner, another family member or a hired babysitter.

Other Self-Care
If you enjoy socializing, make it a regular part of your life. If you are an introvert who requires solitude, let people know. Choose activities you like, not what others think you should do.

Another practice many people find helpful is a gratitude or appreciation practice. Every day, write down a few things about your life that you appreciate. Focusing on the good things can change your perspective and create a sense of gratitude.

Self-care for nurses is not a luxury. It is a necessity for the health and well-being of both nurses and their patients.

According to a health risk appraisal from the American Nurses Association, there is “room for improvement” in nurses’ health, particularly in regard to “physical activity, nutrition, rest, safety, and quality of life.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, 68% of the nurses surveyed for the study said they put the health, safety, and wellness of their patients before their own.Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

“Now is the time to educate nurses and employers on the importance of nurse self-care,” the report states. “Nurses give the best care to patients when they are operating at their own peak wellness.”

Self-care is any deliberate activity that we do in an effort to provide for our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It is important for workers in every field, but especially for nurses, who spend their working hours caring for others. Self-care reduces stress, replenishes a nurse’s capacity to provide compassion and empathy, and improves the quality of care. It’s also recommended by the American Nurses Association in its Code of Ethics.

“Nursing can be a traumatic field to work in,” says Wendy Mason, PhD and faculty member in the School of Nursing at Purdue University Global. “Nurses are exposed to pain and suffering and trauma, and we are often traumatized and not even realize it. Self-care is actually a responsibility, as you can see in the Code of Ethics. If we aren’t caring for ourselves, we can’t care for others.”Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

This article examines why self-care is so important for nurses and how to develop a plan for self-care.

Self-Care Is Mandated by the ANA Code of Ethics
The fifth provision of the American Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics states that the moral respect that nurses extend to all human beings “extends to oneself as well: the same duties that we owe to others we owe to ourselves.” These duties include the responsibility to:

Promote health and safety
Preserve wholeness of character and integrity
Maintain competence
Continue personal and professional growth
Self-Care Is a Stress Management Tool
Self-care is a way to ameliorate the stress that comes with nursing.

“The analogy I use for my students is, think of yourself as a bank account,” Mason says. “You can keep spending, but if you don’t turn around and put something back in, you’re going to end up in a serious deficit. That leads to burnout.”Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

Self-Care Replenishes a Nurse’s Empathy and Compassion
Empathy and compassion are critical components of a nurse’s care. The more taxed a nurse is, the more likely that their capacity to provide these things will suffer.

“We keep pouring empathy and the compassion out, without replenishing them,” Mason explains. “We need to practice empathy and compassion for ourselves, as well. When you don’t have anything left to give, you’ll sometimes see symptoms of depression or anxiety. You may see strain on the nursing units or a lack of investment in the work. It can actually place patients as well as nurses at risk.”

Self-Care Promotes Safety and Higher-Quality Care
Provision 5.6 of the Code of Ethics addresses the reciprocal relationship between professional and personal growth.

“You can see why it’s so critical that we do provide care for ourselves—because we bring that into the workplace, and the quality excels,” Mason says. “It also complements others’ work and promotes a higher quality provision of care. So it’s a responsibility to ourselves as well as our patients, our colleagues, and the health care environment in general.”Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

Nursing Interventions for a Self-Care Deficit
Take the following steps to develop a plan for self-care:

Step 1
The first step to crafting a reasonable self-care plan is self-reflection and self-assessment. Where are you currently at with self-care? You may wish to assess the following areas of your life:

Step 2
Identify opportunities for growth. Mason asks pointed questions to help hone in on any shortfalls: “Do you have a spiritual deficit? Are you not attending to the essence of your being? Are you eating too much—or not enough—to fill a void?”

Step 3
Decide which interventions you need to implement. Examples include:Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

Physical. Get regular health screenings, eat clean and nutritious meals, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise.
Mental. Use relaxation and imagery techniques. Focus attention away from fear-based, negative thought patterns and become more open to life-affirming information and patterns of thought. Seek books and groups that promote joy, and pursue counseling if necessary.
Spiritual. Spiritual potential does not develop without some attention. Engage in activities that develop your higher self. This could be accomplished via a religious affiliation, but it doesn’t have to be. Practice meditation or yoga and say positive affirmations.
Relationships. Engage in truthful and caring self-reflection regarding your communication with others. Identify both the cohesiveness and the disharmony in your relationships. Strive to be aware of the effect both have on family and friends. Nurture important relationships.Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay
Economic. Live within your means. Take the steps necessary to balance your economic health. Sometimes, less is more.
Psychological. Embrace your creativity and play. Identify what stimulates your mind and invest time into these activities.
“We’ve got to be advocates not only for our patients, but for ourselves,” Mason says. “Look at the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation Grand Challenge—the American Nurses Association provides some wonderful recommendations on how nurses can practice self-care and lead a balanced life.”

The Role of a Professional Nurse
It is ten o’clock at night and you have put the children all bathed and tucked into bed. You are exhausted from working and being on your feet all day. You still have to clean the dirty dishes from dinner and get yourself ready for bed. While you begin to clean up the mess, you begin to ponder on what you are grateful for; you have a wonderful family, you have an awesome house, you have an amazing job that you love, and before you know, you have finished cleaning up the mess from dinner. Now, it is time to get you ready for bed and rest up for the next busy day. Before you go to sleep you, think to yourself, “today was a good day, but tomorrow is going to be even better!”Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay
In life, we all get so busy with our daily routines, we forget to step back and look at the little things. Something that one might seem so small another may view it as making this world a little better and easier to live in. A good example could be, many people view roles of the professional nurse as just care givers to patients in the hospital setting. This may be true, but there are also many overlooked aspects of being a professional nurse in today’s world.
Nurses can provide can perform more than one role at a time. For example, the nurse could be teaching the client ‘s about one thing while performing a physical assessment on the certain area for self care. As a nurse, we have to learn how to multitask and try to be in two places at once. A professional nurse has many roles to play other than caregivers such as; a communicator, teacher, client advocate, counselor, change agent, leader, and a manager. It all depends on the needs of the client and how dependent they are. Self-Care Education As A Duty Of A Nurse Essay

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