Thursday, May 15, 2014
Avoiding Caregiver Fatigue
Sorry to be a little late with this today. We are having very high winds, temperatures and fires in So. CA so the power is wildly fluctuating. I'm trying my best to get this done quickly now. The winds and heat can be so annoying, but also play havoc with health issues. So can the extreme cold, snowy, rainy weather that most of the country has dealt with for months this year and continues long into the Spring.
We always take the time to educate our patients in how to stay warm or cool. How important fluid intake is especially with extremes in weather. That winds drive the pollen and dust and dirt and all things irritating to the lungs, the sinuses, the eyes, etc.
Do we heed these warnings ourselves? Not always. Nurses are commonly over achievers. We strive to take care of everyone else and think we are invincible. Last week was Nurses Week and I always try to have a posting about taking care of yourself in or around the celebration of nurses. We need reminders to stop and take care of ourselves and replenish our energy and passion so that we can carry on. These are not in never-ending supply. You will burnout if you don't take care of yourself.
This time, I'm hosting the Blog Carnival and other nurse bloggers have written posts on their great blogs to help us find ways to help us care for ourselves and avoid caregiver fatigue, or "burnout" as it used to be called.
Jerome Stone of Minding the Bedside Meditation Resources for Everyone, found some great statistics in a simple Google search for the keywords compassion fatigue. The number of links has doubled since he searched the term last spring. The title of his post is Compassion Fatigue in Nursing? There's No Such Thing! 5 Reminders. So you might think he's trying to debunk the idea, but it's just the opposite. Jerome's reminders are great points and he offers some guidance in meditative practices such as loving kindness. You can download this practice free from his blog and find other meditative tips as well. And find his book, Minding the Bedside: Nursing from the Heart of the Awakened Mind on Amazon Kindle.
Joan RN is completing her Master in Nursing Education to become a nurse educator. Her blog is TheNurseTeacher.com. One of the key points she makes in her entry, Avoiding Caregiver Fatigue, is that nurses need to recognize they are vulnerable. Denial is such a dangerous thing. Like the safety instruction on an airplane, in case of emergency and a drop in cabin pressure, put your oxygen mask on first! Then help others around you. We need to care for ourselves so we can continue to care for others.
Tina Lanciault's blog is Your Career Nursing, Helping Nurses Succeed. She asks the question does nursing and stress go together? In her post, 7 Tips for Stressed Out Nurses, Tina shares some of the top ideas and tips she has learned throughout her 20+ years as a nurse. They include examining what causes your stress, what foods do you eat when you're stressed, and how do you relax? She invites readers to share their experiences and ideas in comments on her blog. Then she encourages you to do something fun and get up off the couch, away from the computer, etc., and go outdoors.
Avoiding caregiver or compassion fatigue is not rocket science. But it often tends to be something nurses don't want to talk about or write about. At some point in your career you are likely to experience it. I hope these articles help you to recognize your vulnerability, the signs and symptoms and ways to treat and avoid it in the future.
This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival If you are interested in participating find out more details and sign up here.
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