We’ve all been there at one point or another. That time when you know you should and you desperately want to but you’re just plumb out of caring tickets. I’ve said it many times and I’ll say it again – Nurses are not paid to care – Patients get that for free!
So what can you do if you’re in a caring rut? Here’s a few suggestions to maybe help
- Take a step back from the coal face. Bosses may not like reading this, but sometimes taking a Mental Health Day (sickie) is imperative and will be of benefit to all. I know that from personal experience when I run out of caring tickets my overall nursing suffers. Sure I can do the technical bits and pieces fine. I’ve been doing it for so long I can robotically perform most nursing tasks without much thought. It’s the 1%ers that I don’t get done that’s the problem. Intuition goes out the door, follow up questions are not asked and critical thinking declines. This is unfair for the patient as I’m not providing the best possible nursing care I know I can. A day away to recharge can make all the difference. *
- Do something silly / have some fun. For years I was know for wearing brightly coloured socks with shorts. I’ve also been known to do an observations round wearing a Groucho Marx style rubber nose and glasses. My patients generally loved this simple fun and it often put a smile on their face and lightened the mood. Isn’t it amazing how sometimes the patient can nurse the nurse. On more then one occasion when I was struggling through a day a patient having a joke with me was all I needed to find my caring tickets. **
- He’s not heavy, he’s my brother. This Hollies song could well be the anthem for nurses everywhere. It’s amazing just how quickly caring tickets can be found when a colleague helps to lighten the load. It doesn’t have to be much – sometimes a kind word or affirmation of a job well done is enough. And the best thing of all … It’s a Win – Win for all parties involved as everyone feels good.
- Eat well, sleep well. Well Duh, we all know that but sometimes it’s easier said then done. Most nurses will have at some stage of their career worked shifts and know the effect that it can have on the body. I know from experience that fast convenient foods can slip easily into a diet and interrupted sleep can cause havoc with lifestyle and mood. If this goes on for any period of time fatigue and decreased energy levels surely follow. For me this then leads to a reduction of available caring tickets. The solution is simple and you know what you should be doing. Executing a viable plan of action to address this, well, that can be very difficult.
- Time To Get Out. What happens if the well runs completely dry and no matter what you do caring ticket just simply cannot be found, bought or stolen. None of the suggestions above have helped? As hard as it might be, extended time away from the coalface may be the only option. Perhaps in the future a return to nursing may be achievable but for the benefit of yourself and your patients leaving the profession (temporarily or forever) could be the best caring thing you can do.
* If you find yourself needing a mental health day it’s vitality important to speak with your boss when you return. Whatever the issue may be it needs to be addressed – otherwise, potentially, you risk turning into a bitter and twisted Zombie Nurse
** Look for play in your day! you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes