Self-care for nurses starts with support of leaders

Combined ShapeCaption
7 Self-Care Tips You Should Try

Trained to care for others, nurses lose sight too easily of their own needs

Much has been written lately about self-care, especially during the pandemic. We’ve been encouraged to take time off, pamper our bodies and calm our minds. When you work 12-14 hours a day, that’s easier said than done.

“Nurses are trained to provide compassionate care for patients, yet we’re not trained in the compassion of caring for ourselves,” Pam Ressler, MS, RN, HNB-BC, and founder of StressResources.com, told nurse.com.

ExploreLocal nurses’ book champions human-centered leadership in health care

According to Ressler, nurse leaders need to be role models and provide a supportive environment for their staff. That doesn’t mean just making sure nurses take their breaks, however. Ressler teaches leaders how to cultivate “sustainable resilience.”

“One way to create more sustainable resilience is by cultivating mindful moments throughout your day,” Ressler told nurse.com. “Look for the beauty in your surroundings. One of my favorite quotes is from the late writer Lisa Bonchek Adams, who said, ‘Find a bit of beauty in the world today. If you can’t find it, create it.’”

Ressler recommends her 1-5-7 plan — choose one idea, engage in it for five minutes, seven days a week.

Nurse.com shared myriad resources to help leaders be examples for their staffs.

Explore5 signs you’re not taking care of your own health

Among them was the book “Human-Centered Leadership in Healthcare: Evolution of a Revolution,” written by Kennesaw State University faculty nurse Lucy Leclerc, Emory University senior clinical instructor Kay Kennedy, and nursing leadership consultant Susan Campis.

“Before the pandemic, in 2019, our team was concerned about the profession of nursing and particularly about the potential for burnout among health care leaders. As self-identified ‘servant’ leaders, we felt we had served ourselves into burnout,” Kennedy told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in April. “Our experience prompted us to pursue qualitative research with health care leaders to better understand how a leader can not only survive but thrive within the complexity of the health care industry while leading their teams to achieve market-leading outcomes.

“We learned that the leader must prioritize ‘care for self’ and lead with a relational approach,” she continued. “Our book describes this journey — from our research to the development of the Human-Centered Leadership in Healthcare theory, to the application of the theory in today’s health care environment. With this book, we aimed to provide leaders, from the bedside to the boardroom, with a new framework to view health care leadership, which offers a more caring, relational means to achieving the needed outcomes in health care.”

For more content like this, sign up for the Pulse newsletter here.