NEW YORK NURSE: May 2008
by Linda O'Brien, MS, RN
As registered nurses, it’s a core component of our profession to take care of others. We know that it’s important to maintain a healthy immune system.
We advise our patients’ family caregivers that stress debilitates the immune system, placing the body into a state of “dis-ease.” We tell them that they must take care of themselves or they won’t be able to care for their loved ones.
We do not always take our own advice.
During Nurses Week, it’s traditional for others to appreciate registered nurses and tell them how essential they are to the community with flowers, awards, and dinners. This year, tell yourself how important you are to those around you. Give yourself the gift of caring for yourself.
I think we all know what makes us feel relaxed and better able to cope with day-to-day challenges. Perhaps it’s a hobby like knitting, sewing, or gardening. It could be walking, running, or reading a good book while taking a warm bubble bath. Several of these things work for me.
In the work environment, I have found that getting to know my colleagues and learning how to laugh with them can reduce stress on the job. I feel personally and professionally refreshed when I take time to attend the NYSNA Convention and other networking meetings where I can interact with RNs from across the state.
Yes, most of us know what things we can do to cope with stress. But we have to make time to do them. Taking care of yourself is not selfish or neglectful of others; it’s keeping a healthy, energetic nurse in the workforce!
These are challenging times for a registered professional nurse. So make this resolution for Nurses Week and beyond: Take care of yourself.
For other stress-reducing ideas, please see the features in this Nurses Week edition of New York Nurse. And let us know how they work for you!