Nursing and working in healthcare is very stressful for many reasons. Depending on the line of work, nurses may be subject to emergency situations with patients, surgical procedures, interactions with patients, and day-to-day work that has them on shift for a few days in a row without a real break. Mental health issues are higher in the nursing profession than the general population for this reason. It impacts their physical and mental well-being, which is why they need mental health days to take time off to recover.
Nurses are responsible for other people’s well-being. It takes focus, energy, and determination to work at a job where you are responsible to take care of multiple people who are in crisis each day. Often, staff is short, long hours are required, and there may be abusive patients coming in who are addicted, in pain, or have a range of behavioral traits which make them challenging to work with. Heavy lifting, working with machines, and the toll it takes on nurses can become too much while working in a fast-paced environment that never sleeps. Depression can manifest itself in:
- Lower critical-thinking ability
- Erroneous medication decisions
- Lack of communication or poor communication
- Difficulty coming to work on time or staying focused on the job
Mental Health Break
Before something happens or depression becomes severe, it is good to assess what would be helpful for nurses who are struggling. Taking a break can help people navigate the challenges of coping with life on the job before it takes its toll. The following are some signs it may be time to take a break:
- Lack of focus: when a nurse is not focused at work, people can be harmed. This might mean giving too much or too little medication, not giving the right treatment, or just not paying attention to what they are doing and making errors. Taking a few days away every so often can help reset and recalibrate your mind to be ready again for work the next shift
- Lack of self-care: when self-care goes out the window, lots of other things tend to follow. Our minds and bodies need energy boosts. If you neglect yourself, you are likely to struggle with mental health issues sooner than someone who takes time out for themselves. Take this time to do something for yourself. Go get a massage, go shopping, visit family, and take time out to make sure you are a priority when it comes to health, both physical and mental
- Seek help: when all else fails, if you are struggling and even a mental health break of vacation or time off does not help, you may need extra support. Sometimes addiction comes into the picture when dealing with mental health issues. When this occurs, it is definitely a good idea to check out rehab and support services to help you get on your feet again
Reducing the amount of stress for nurses is not always possible because it is a high-stress job. Taking a mental health day can be beneficial to reducing some of the hazards the nurses face and giving them space to focus on themselves again.
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