Your job as a nurse can be demanding due to the long hours of strenuous work. According to a Chief Healthcare Executive report, most nurses feel their occupation hampers mental health. Similarly, 56% of nurses sacrifice their mental health needs for work.
As a nurse, your job is complex due to its life-or-death nature. You face immense occupational stress, leading to mental health issues.
The stress can get to you, and you can make medical mistakes. Examples include the administration of improper medication and the wrong documentation. These mistakes can cause catastrophic damage to your reputation and the patient’s life. A report suggests that nurses develop anxiety and depression 2x more than the general public. That is why you need therapy to deal with the nursing challenges.
You can either have a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner online program (PMHNP) degree, a general nursing school degree, or an oncology nursing degree.
An online PMHNP is an affordable course that helps nurse aspirants become leaders in mental health advocacy. With this course, you can choose a full-time or part-time program. Since this is done online, there is no need for physical interactions, travel, or clinical hours. This way, you can seamlessly balance your professional and personal lives.
The course is designed to help you understand psychiatric disorders and mental health issues. That means you can look for telltale signs of stress and anxiety during your residency.
On the other hand, a general nursing degree is a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Similarly, an oncology nursing degree is a specialized program for registered nurses with a BSN degree.
Irrespective of the chosen nursing field, the clinical journey will be fast-paced and demanding. You need immense focus and tremendous amounts of energy to complete your responsibilities.
According to Rockhurst University, a career in nursing will have increased opportunities, higher salaries, and a sense of personal fulfillment. However, there will be non-stop long shifts of 10 to 16 hours. It can lead to mental exhaustion and burnout.
As a mentally exhausted nurse, you will find it hard to communicate, concentrate, help patients, and manage time. Furthermore, you cannot think critically, which hampers patient care and leads to improper judgments.
Do you remember the feeling during your first IV infusion? You must have felt anxious and stressed. That feeling will return if you do not care for your mental health.
It can lead to feelings of fatigue, restlessness, and nervousness. Moreover, burnout is a common issue faced by 70% of nurses.
That is why you need to talk to someone about your stressful day. It will allow you to gain feedback on improving your emotional state. However, you might be apprehensive about therapy due to the social stigma. In some cases, patient mortality and workplace bullying can also hamper mental health.
Therapy is necessary to prevent medication errors, job fatigue, and mental stressors. You need to be in the best condition to offer proper care. That is the only way to uphold your nursing ethics and principles.
You have passed all the National Council Licensure Examinations and gotten the nursing degrees you wanted. Hence, you know how challenging and competitive this career is. As a licensed nurse, you have passed the hurdles of credit hours, taking multiple courses, and studying all night.
Now, you are ready for hands-on nursing experience to have a fulfilling career. However, countless hours of stress have made you lose focus on your life goals. In 2022, approximately 1/3 of nurses left their jobs due to burnout and stress.
You need therapy to stay motivated and navigate through this career. The benefits include the following:
1. Have a safe space to explore emotions and be able to talk about what worries you without feeling judged
2. Learn coping skills that will enable you to better deal with the daily responsibilities of nursing
3. Identify the main challenges and stressors of the profession to reduce their emotional impact
4. Enhance Emotional Intelligence, so that you are more aware of your affective state and learn to better manage the emotions of patients so that they do not overcome you
5. Practice more self-care, protecting physical and mental health through tools that allow you to recover energy and rebalance emotions, such as relaxation techniques in one minute, breathing exercises or mindfulness.
You can also take mental health days and breaks from your regular work. It would be a healthy distraction to recharge your mind.
One of the main reasons for deteriorating mental health is the improper approach taken by healthcare organizations. Along with therapy, struggling nurses need support from their peers and employers. Hence, the organization can offer services like:
- Mandatory peer support groups
- Destigmatizing psychiatric struggles
- Establishing a wellness culture for all
- Offering access to free mental health screenings
- Providing a therapy allowance to every nurse
With the help of mental health support from your employer, you will become efficient and more engaged with the patients. There will be a decrease in turnover rates and an improvement in patient satisfaction. Moreover, the healthcare institution will save money since you will take fewer days off for mental health issues.
As you can see, the phrase ‘pressure creates diamonds’ is not for the nursing profession. The industry expects nurses to work under pressure without breaking a sweat. However, no amount of training or experience can help them deal with stress, anxiety, or depression.
Some believe that expecting 16 hours of hard work from nurses is irrational and unsafe. Hence, you should take mental health seriously and seek professional help. It will be beneficial to reduce potential occupational hazards.
For instance, the medical industry can offer mental health support. Additionally, the medical community should eradicate the intimidating ‘survival culture’ of nursing.
Clanton, N. (2022) Survey: More than half of nurses sacrificing mental health for job. En: The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Davis, C. (2022) One-third of nurses plan to quit their jobs in 2022, thanks to high stress and burnout. En: Health Leaders.