Patients aren’t the only ones under stress after emergency room admission: nursing staff deal with traumatic events and energy-draining long shifts. Discover four ways to handle stress in the ER and don’t let stress burn you out.
1. Know How to Identify the Signs of Stress
Traumatic life events are common in the ER, and it is rare that one will not affect the workers in its midst. Whether you witnessed a violent act unfold or a sudden death, you want to be aware when something is going wrong with you personally. Stay aware of when you are physically or mentally undergoing stress. For example, if you notice any behavioral changes, such as difficulty resting or an increase in your intake of alcohol or appetite, consider that you may be experiencing stress from critical incidents that occur at work in the ER.
2. Develop a Stress Management Plan
It’s easier to handle stressful ER related moments when you have a plan. Strategize how you would handle worst-case scenarios, such as death in the ER. For example, consider getting support from a mentor with ER experience who can provide guidance on de-stressing. Consult with your manager and co-workers in a debriefing session to share different stress management methods.
3. Create the Ideal Balance Between Work and Life
The stress that comes from witnessing critical issues can wear down your personal life. It’s key when handling stress to prevent adverse physical, emotional, and cognitive reactions, such as dizziness or irritability. You can try taking a 15-minute break when the ER room gets overwhelming, or get into a daily workout routine.
4. Try Humor Therapy
Stress can bring unnecessary sadness and anxiety, not only for patients but also for their caregivers, such as nurses. That’s why it’s important to find a healthy way of dealing with intense situations in the ER. Humor therapy can help. Humor therapy is the use of amusement, such as laughter, to alleviate discomfort or emotional or physical stress. When you practice humor therapy or therapeutic laughter, you are finding a way to laugh or smile more. According to WebMD, scientists have discovered that the chemistry of your brain can be modified when you laugh. This may even improve your immune system.
Humor can come in several forms, from a simple joke to a clown that visits patients in the hospital. Humor therapy is also safe and can be practiced with your patient.
Critical moments in the ER can impose stress on you. However, if you put these stress management tips into practice, you can simplify managing tension that you experience in the workplace.