Whether inpatient or outpatient care: there are few professions that are associated with so much physical and mental stress. Shift work, low salaries, a lot of bureaucracy and little appreciation to be active in nursing care requires a high degree of stress resistance and stamina.
In addition, the lack of skilled workers makes the work of carers more difficult. The consequence: Overload, psychosomatic illnesses and Burnout.
What are the first signs of burnout?
Especially professions like Care of the elderly and sickThe stress factors that require social interaction, compassion, sociability and helpfulness favour stress-related diseases such as burnout syndrome. This is because people in care professions look after others on a daily basis and pay comparatively little attention to themselves.
Own wishes and needs as well as a fulfilled private life are put aside in favour of work. Increased stress in outpatient care is then pre-programmed.
A maladministration characterised by Working environment, many overtime hours and low pay additionally increase the emotional strain. If this state lasts excessively long, exhaustion sets in, a feeling of being "burnt out" also called "burn-out". If you work in nursing, you should observe yourself. If one of the following statements is true, you should definitely change your situation and get help.
Mental signs of a burnout syndrome
- You have little energy, are emotionally exhausted and no longer enjoy your work. You are often nervous, tense and tired.
- Lately you treat your patients like objects and distance yourself from them - you don't really care about them. You've been doing "duty by the book." In the long run, stress in outpatient care as well as in hospitals and nursing homes leads to a lack of understanding for the problems of the patients and their relatives. Because you have enough on your plate yourself.
- You also have no patience with your colleagues: you are easily irritated, get angry and get angry with other employees.
- It's not just others you're quick to criticize. You are also anything but friendly to yourself: you are frustrated and feel that you are not good enough.
- When you started working as a nurse, you were much more efficient than now. You can no longer meet the expectations placed on you because you have less energy and cannot concentrate properly. Stress in outpatient care leads to strong self-doubt in the long run.
Physical signs of stress and exhaustion
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure are often a sign of stress. Unhealthy and stress-related habits such as smoking or excessive coffee drinking further aggravate the symptoms
- Gastrointestinal diseases can also be a sign of stress. Often these diseases are also due to an irregular and unhealthy diet, which one gets used to in the course of a stressful job.
Stress management for carers
To be able to work both with physical and emotional stress to better manage and avoid stress-related symptoms, you will find the best Tips for coping with stress for professionals in inpatient and outpatient care who also function in practice.
Recognizing and analyzing causes of stress in the job
Psychohygiene is a technical term from psychology. The aim is to recognise and analyse the causes of stress and to take targeted action to combat it. Mental hygiene is the first step, so to speak, when it comes to counteracting stress and preventing overload in the long term. In doing so, you concern yourself with yourself, your situation and think about what you can change about it. In five steps, you can reduce stress and be more successful in the long run:
- Perceive and accept stress: Many carers perceive stress as a necessary circumstance that arises automatically from poor working conditions. This perception is not fundamentally wrong, but it is not very helpful when it comes to reducing stress yourself and thus being more successful in the long run. Both at work and in private life. It is better to acknowledge and accept stress as a personal problem. This makes it easier to change one's own habits and thus reduce stress in the long run.
- Investigate causes: The second step to prevent stress in the long run is to observe yourself in stressful situations and to analyse your own weaknesses as well as strengths. This does not happen overnight and requires a lot of patience. A diary can help you to remember how you reacted in situation A or B and what was the reason for your stress.
- Analyse possible solutions: If you know what bothers you at your workplace, your patients or in your behaviour and why you got into a stressful situation, it is now time to find solutions to these problems. Here too, it can help you to write down possible solutions.
- Take the necessary measures: Theory is followed by practice. One after the other you try out the methods you considered in step 3, if the corresponding stress situation occurs again.
- Check and correct the result: In the meantime you have tried some of the solutions to stress. If it helped you, you have found the right method. It will help you to have less stress in the long run. If not, you should check the method again and correct it if necessary.
It is obvious that stress and time management in nursing professions is different from that in office jobs, for example. Because you work with people and always have to respond directly to the needs of the patients, you cannot freely decide how and when you want to perform additional tasks, such as managing patient records. Nor can you delegate tasks to others. Structured working is therefore particularly important in order to take good care of your patients and react quickly.
Since you have a great responsibility as a nurse and caregiver, and you cannot afford to make mistakes when caring for patients, it is important to keep a clear head. Nurses must be able to multitask. You care for the patient, communicate with him or her and at the same time you have to remember to document everything correctly.
While you are still busy with one patient, the next one is already ringing and lunch has to be distributed immediately. These and similar scenarios take place daily in the daily nursing routine and lead to decreasing concentration over time.
Even if you have little influence on the timing and nature of tasks in caring professions, a to-do list helps to clear your head.
Relaxing in everyday working life
Even if it is difficult, regular relaxation sessions are compulsory in the nursing professions. Autogenic training and meditation are particularly suitable for this. Just five minutes are enough to ensure that you are relaxed and less tired.
Nutrition against stress
After a long working day, several emergencies and stress with patients' relatives, one has little desire to worry about healthy food. Coffee and chocolate bars are needed. The wrong approach when it comes to relaxing body and mind. Although sugar and caffeine provide a short-term energy boost, this is only short-lived.
It is better to rely on healthy fats and vitamin C. If you can replace the chocolate bars with Anti-stress food, such as nuts, avocados and carrots, is not only more efficient but also rewarded with a good figure. Even the odd cup of coffee can be replaced by water with lime juice. The vitamin C provides an energy boost and also protects against stress-related infections.
Think positively, recognise and promote your own strengths
Overworked relatives, patients in a life-threatening condition, devastating diagnoses and a not always pleasant working atmosphere Nurses are exposed to many emotional stresses every day. Nurses quickly experience negative emotions, self-doubt and frustration.
Instead of indulging these feelings, it is better to think positively. Because nurses do a lot every day, contributing to the well-being of their patients and their families.
If you recall stressful situations and learn to acknowledge your strengths, you will become more resilient in the long run and radiate this positive energy to your patients.
Rewarding yourself and allowing time out
If you are aware of how much you do every day, you will realize that you, too, have a Time out and reward you deserve. This doesn't have to be a big vacation. Small excursions into nature contribute to relaxation and prevent stress in outpatient care in the long term. Relaxation units with a full bath and scented candles after a long working day also work wonders.
A new beginning: How to find the job that really fulfills you
Often it is the working environment, poor interaction between colleagues as well as between managers, which makes working in the care professions even more difficult. If this applies to your employer and there is no improvement in sight in the long term, a new start is often the only solution.
Changing jobs is not always easy, especially if you have built up a relationship with your patients and feel that you are irreplaceable in your work. But here you should not forget to think about yourself.
Also the fear of many employees that they will not find a new job and that they will be to land unemploymentis unfounded. There is a shortage of skilled workers in both inpatient and outpatient care. Particularly in large cities such as Munich, Hamburg and Berlin, nursing staff is urgently sought. In order to find a suitable job for you, it is best to look around on job exchanges or to directly knock on ambulant and stationary nursing services personally and to dare the exciting, but mostly worthwhile, new beginning.