Nurses are responsible for their patients’ wellness and their own
A great nurse holds caring for their patients as priority number one. But according to Deborah Greenawald Ph.D., associate professor of nursing at Alvernia University in Reading, the first step in being able to care for others is being able to care for yourself.
“I feel that nurses learning to care for themselves — body, mind, and spirit — is a very important part of professional development, and this is a topic that I include in NUR210: Introduction to Professional Nursing: Roles and Responsibilities,” says Greenawald.
“The roles that professional nurses fill, while varied, are all inherently stressful, not just in terms of mental stress, but also physically, emotionally and spiritually. As I often tell students, many people may say to you “Oh, you’d be a great nurse!” or “Oh, you should go into nursing because there are so many job possibilities!” but they rarely tell you how challenging it is to be a nurse!”
Students must realize the arduous demands of nursing go beyond those of a typical 9 to 5 work environment. Nurses face long shifts and physical demands that can wreak havoc on their health and consequently the health of their patients.
“I would love it if all nurses (and all healthcare providers) were models of health and wellness, but unfortunately that is not the case. Our national nursing organizations are increasingly promoting wellness among nurses, through articles in professional publications, discounts for fitness programs, healthier options at nursing conferences.” Here are some tips for nurses to stay physically and mentally healthy amid their demanding schedules.
“Each nurse and nursing student is ultimately responsible for her/his own wellness, however. I would hope that our Alvernia students would see lots of good examples among the nurses and nursing faculty they meet during their time as undergraduates, and that they will BE good examples of wellness in the future after they graduate.”