Mental Health

How nurses manage their mental health and wellbeing while sharing compassion with their patients – evolving role

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Nursing is a profession that requires nurses to provide compassionate care and support to patients while managing the demands of their job. The daily stress and workload can take a significant toll on nurses’ mental health and well-being, making it essential for them to prioritize self-care.

In India, nursing is a critical profession, with nurses making up the backbone of the healthcare system. According to the Indian Nursing Council, there are approximately 27 lakh registered nurses in the country. However, despite their crucial role, nurses in India often face challenges related to workload, inadequate staffing, and limited resources.

A study conducted in 2018 by the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics found that nurses in India face high levels of stress, burnout, and depression. The study also revealed that nurses had low levels of job satisfaction, with many considering leaving the profession due to the challenges they faced.

Nurses must prioritize self-care by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly. Setting aside time to relax and engage in activities that bring joy and fulfillment outside of work is crucial. These activities can include reading, painting, listening to music, or spending time with loved ones.

Nurses need to have a strong support system to maintain their mental health and well-being. They should reach out to friends, family, and colleagues for emotional support when needed. Additionally, seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor can help them address mental health concerns, manage stress, and build resilience.

Mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises can help nurses manage stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts. Mindfulness encourages focusing on the present moment and can help nurses let go of worries about the future or regrets about the past.

  • Practice Compassion Fatigue Prevention

Compassion fatigue is a condition where nurses experience emotional exhaustion and reduced empathy toward their patients. To prevent compassion fatigue, nurses must set healthy boundaries, take breaks when needed, and practice self-compassion.

  • Engage in Continuing Education

Engaging in continuing education and training can help nurses stay up-to-date on the latest healthcare practices and technologies. Ongoing education can help nurses feel more confident in their skills and abilities, leading to increased job satisfaction and a more positive outlook.

  • Practice Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage one’s emotions and those of others. Nurses with high emotional intelligence can better manage their stress levels and respond empathetically to their patient’s needs. Emotional intelligence can help nurses build positive relationships with patients and colleagues.

Nurses can find meaning in their work by focusing on their positive impact on their patients’ lives. Engaging in patient support groups or volunteering outside of regular job duties can provide a sense of fulfillment and purpose.

  • Foster Positive Relationships

Building positive relationships with colleagues and patients can help nurses feel supported and valued. Nurses can cultivate positive relationships by practicing active listening, showing empathy, and displaying kindness.

Nurses should take regular breaks throughout the day to recharge and prevent burnout. Nurses can take a few minutes to stretch or walk around the unit, take a short nap or eat a healthy snack. They should also take time off when needed to rest and recharge.

  • Address Workplace Stressors

Workplace stressors can contribute to mental health issues. Nurses can address workplace stressors by advocating for better working conditions or seeking additional support from management. Open communication between nurses and management can lead to a more positive work environment.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of nursing in India. Nurses have been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, working long hours and risking their own health to care for patients. According to a report by the Indian Nurses Association, many nurses in India have been working in challenging conditions, with inadequate protective gear and insufficient resources.

Considering these challenges, it’s essential for nurses in India to prioritize their mental health and wellbeing. By practicing self-care, seeking support, practicing mindfulness, preventing compassion fatigue, engaging in continuing education, practicing emotional intelligence, finding meaning in their work, fostering positive relationships, taking breaks, and addressing workplace stressors, nurses can maintain their mental health and continue to provide high-quality care to their patients. Additionally, the Indian government and healthcare organizations must recognize the crucial role of nurses and work to provide them with the support and resources they need to do their job effectively while maintaining their mental health and wellbeing.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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