The Mindful Nurse: The Importance of Self-Care in Healthcare

Nurses work hard in an extensive variety of capacities, and the work of nursing can be taxing – both physically and mentally. As a nurse, you have the right (some may even say the responsibility) to look after yourself and take your self-care to the next level in order to provide care for others.

Read on to see how mindfulness can positively affect how you feel and how you cope with the pressures at work, allowing you to improve your nurse-service user relationship and take better care of yourself.

Why Is Self-Care so Important?

Self-care is a primary part of any nurse’s mental wellbeing, because it sets the stage for mindfulness. However, self-care can mean very different things from individual to individual; for some nurses, some time at the church is a balm for the soul, whilst others enjoy hiking or some fresh air in the countryside.

Generally, self-care means seeing to your own needs, taking care of your issues, making sure that you’re eating properly, and so on. In other words, self-care means taking time out for yourself to make sure that you’re healthy – and it’s important because nurses must first look after themselves before they can look after others.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a way of living with greater attention and intention. Nurses can find themselves living on ‘autopilot’ mode, meaning their bodies operate in a routine pattern whilst their minds go about the job at hand. This ‘mindless’ way of living can limit how they experience life, affecting the choices they make, the chances they take, and exacerbating stress.

The mind of a nurse is busy. It’s constantly processing memories and care plans and rehashing past events. At the same time, it must also respond to all the challenges that the work environment poses – an endless stream of information that increases distraction and stress. That’s why nurses are advised to practice mindfulness to help them feel calm and clear-headed, and bring their awareness to the present.

How Can It Benefit Your Nurse-Service User Relationship?

Firstly, greater awareness and less susceptibility to distractions will improve your assessment skills and reduce the risk of errors when carrying out technical procedures. In addition, mindfulness can also enhance your communication with service users and fellow healthcare professionals by ensuring you listen and respond with greater attention.

For you to start looking after yourself as a nurse, you need to first recognise that there’s a deficit – then formulate a self-care plan, and take action in the interest of your health and wellbeing. Just don’t forget to evaluate and adjust your plan on an ongoing basis – like how you would for your service users!

A job in nursing is hard enough without a self-care deficit, so start practicing mindfulness and put your own health and wellbeing on the top of your priority list – you’ve earned it! If you need more tips on making the most of your nursing experience, take a look at these time-saving tips for nurses.

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