Recently we asked our NCF Googlegroup, “Why did you choose nursing?” NCF member Abby Nobel’s response charmed us. “Nurses are the Moms of healthcare, maybe because we really are moms, or because we’re the ones who believe so passionately that something should be done right that we do it ourselves to be sure.” Read Abby’s response (below) to the question, “How do you handle the pressures of working as a nurse?”
We tossed out these questions:
- How are you handling the pressures of work?
- What helps you find balance?
- How do your immediate experiences with nursing impact you spiritually?
- What do you tell other nurses about why you chose nursing?
The following response is from NCF member Abby Nobel:
We all remember nursing instructors enjoining us to "prioritize, be efficient and ask other staff how they save time." But as systems change, it's a constant battle to catch up. It really does seem nurses are the Moms of healthcare---maybe because we really are Moms, or because we're the ones who believe so passionately that something should be done right that we do it ourselves to be sure.
Here are some areas that I've noticed make a difference in handling the pressures of nursing:
1) Avoid interruptions. Cultivate ways to respect others and be respected by avoiding interruptions. Some of the ways you can communicate without derailing someone else's work include emails, sticky-notes or IM/texting. I've seen that patients have fewer "lights on" when nursing rounds are consistently done twice/shift. Personally, I tend to interrupt myself by noticing too much going on around me, constantly building to-do lists. Not to ignore legitimate needs, but sometimes I need to put on blinders and earplugs in order to focus exclusively on one patient. In the end, one intense session is more efficient than several interrupted ones.
2) Delegate. Actively seek to delegate tasks. It may be hard with "zero support staff" (surely a reasonable budget item for any manager to save RN hours!) but how many times are we dumped on by fellow professionals? Just because nursing has always done something doesn't mean we always should. Sometimes we need to deflect a request back to the sender....politely, of course. And no guilt! It may help to brainstorm with other staff for a new unit policy. Get your manager on your side, and start small. For example, “We will no longer be stocking Rx pads as of this date. Physicians are responsible for their own supplies.” Or do the same for lab/ RT/PT/OT supplies, or whatever slack you notice you're constantly picking up for other professionals. Isn't that part of the definition of professionalism, taking care of one's own practice? And that includes cleaning up messes after procedures. Everyone should take pride in keeping their mutual facility up to standards, and holding each other accountable promotes ownership and good professional relationships.
These little disciplines make a big difference in my nursing practice.