Anger management tips for nurses working in a frustrating environment

Nurses are facing record-high burnout and nationwide staffing shortages, making frustrations high in the workplace. Workers in a health care setting are also 16 time more likely to experience violence — be it emotional, verbal, sexual or physical — than other service workers, Health Careers reported. From the present dangers to the stress of overabundant responsibilities that modern nurses are facing, it’s enough to make one irritable.

According to Sandra Thomas, PhD, RN, FAAN, the most common triggers for anger in nurses are feeling overwhelmed, not being respected, feeling blamed by physicians, feeling powerless, feeling moral distress, not feeling supported and not feeling heard.

Alice Benjamin, MSN, told that step one of managing stress and anger at work as a nurse is to recognize your triggers.

“In a healthcare setting, there may be multiple triggers including patients, colleagues, or administrative issues,” she told “If you can identify the triggers that cause your anger, it can help you anticipate and manage your emotions before they escalate. "

Step two is to give yourself a break.

“Feeling angry can sometimes cause you to react impulsively, something that could negatively impact you at work,” Benjamin said. “When you start to feel angry, take a step away from the situation. Try to do something that can help you calm down, such as taking a big deep breath or going for a walk. This could help you gain perspective and prevent you from reacting in an unprofessional manner.”

One of the greatest thing you can do to help curb anger issues at work is to practice self care.

“As nurses, we are always taking care of others,” she said. “It’s imperative that we take the time to take care of ourselves, too. Self-care is essential for managing your emotions, and stress and maintaining your overall well-being. These can include any hobby or activity that brings you joy such as exercising, taking a bubble bath, baking cookies or practicing relaxation techniques. Prioritizing self-care can help you reduce stress and promote a more positive outlook, which can ultimately help you manage your anger more effectively.

“While managing your anger at work can be challenging, it is a crucial skill for nurses to learn. We all have emotions, we just need to be able to identify them, recognize when they’re problematic, and resolve them before they become an issue. Take note of these six tips on how to manage your anger and share it with a fellow nurse, because we all could benefit from this, especially in a world of burnout.”