Self care strategies for nurses-Self-care for nurses and midwives | Nurse and Midwife Support

Self-care is any deliberate activity that we do in an effort to provide for our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It is important for workers in every field, but especially for nurses, who spend their working hours caring for others. Self-care is actually a responsibility, as you can see in the Code of Ethics. If we aren't caring for ourselves, we can't care for others. This article examines why self-care is so important for nurses and how to develop a plan for self-care.

Self care strategies for nurses

She Self care strategies for nurses her PhD from Florida Atlantic University, where caring is studied as integral to knowing self and other. While person directed stratfgies reduced burnout in the short-term, the programs with both intervention types created longer lasting positive effects. Nurture important relationships. Everyday ethics: Ethical issues and stress in nursing practice. Self-care in personal settings Effective self-care strategies used outside of the workplace settings included a range of health behaviours, meditation and spiritual practice. Wainwright W, Breiddal S. Medscape: Alleviating Job Stress in Nurses. Occupational Big boner bonus in hospice care: causes and coping strategies. A popular breathing exercise is called breathing.

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Cameron, J. Stress and health in novice and experienced nursing students. Identify one small step you can take to begin caring for yourself stratehies. Course Description and Strategies In the nursing program at Florida Atlantic University, we focus on all aspects of caring and recognize that to care for others, it is equally important to care for oneself. Thanks so much for all your hard work on this. Sponge Bob Square Pants themed? Within class discussion, Jamie name changed described herself as a hard working nurse who prided herself on excellent patient care and administrative abilities on Total free bondage special Self care strategies for nurses unit. Our creative selves need consistent honest acknowledgement, respect, and nurturing. Such strategies could guide nursing students to develop self-care activities and habitual practices aimed crae decreasing stress at an early point in their careers. Course descriptions. Wall, R. Visit www. Brief Description. If you're a nurse Self care strategies for nurses planning to be one and you don't practice good self-care for nurses, you can reach a point at which the compassion driving your skills diminishes.

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Self-care is imperative to personal health, sustenance to continue to care for others, and professional growth. This article briefly reviews stressors common to students and nurses and the importance of practicing self-care to combat stress and promote health in practice. Florida Atlantic University offers a course for all levels of undergraduate nursing students called Caring for Self.

The course, supported by principles of Adult Learning Theory , focuses on guiding the nurse to practice and model self-care.

The author describes the evolution of this self-care initiative by discussing the needs assessment, course description and strategies, examples of course activities, and an exemplar of student impact.

Citation: Blum, C. Key words: Self-care, nursing education, stressors, personal health, lifestyle, life goals, elective courses, Adult Learning Theory, nursing, journaling, creative self. It is like pouring water from a vessel: you cannot pour and pour without ever refilling it - eventually it will run dry. Lobell , para. Nurses are taught to care for others; it is ingrained in their life purpose. However, in my experience, nurses often express reluctance to take the time required to care for themselves or they have difficulty finding self-care activities that match their interests and that are easily assimilated into their lives.

The course, supported by principles of Adult Learning Theory Knowles, , focuses on guiding the nurse to practice and model self-care.

I will describe the evolution of this course by discussing the needs assessment, course description and activities, and an exemplar of student impact. The article conclusion offers discussion of lessons learned and challenges encountered by faculty and students. Jimenez, Navia-Osorio, and Diaz reported on types of nursing student stress.

They identified stressors primarily related to clinical practice that often result in psychological symptoms. Academic and external stressors also existed, but were perceived as less stressful than those encountered in clinical practice. The stressors described above have been reported informally by nursing students for many years. To address them, it may be helpful for nursing faculty to examine program curricula and implement self-care strategies in coursework if possible.

Such strategies could guide nursing students to develop self-care activities and habitual practices aimed at decreasing stress at an early point in their careers. Ulrich et al. Workplace models of self-care designed to decrease stress and incorporate self-care have been implemented and evaluated Kravits et al.

Kravits et al. After discussing the impact of stress on health, program participants developed a personalized wellness plan to incorporate these modalities into their lives. While immediate effects were found, the authors suggest that longitudinal studies are needed to determine if the interventions produced long term stress reduction. In a pilot study, Mackenzie et al. The authors found that 80 percent of the programs they reviewed led to a reduction in burnout with 68 percent of these programs being person-directed, 8 percent being organization-directed, and 24 percent being a combination of both intervention types.

While person directed interventions reduced burnout in the short-term, the programs with both intervention types created longer lasting positive effects.

Finally, it is well documented in the literature that stress contributes to disease. Nursing students and practicing nurses alike frequently deal with many of the stressors discussed above. It is hoped that by developing and practicing self-care habits, nurses may be able to decrease some of the stressors and improve their health.

The next section will briefly describe some benefits of self-care and one way to incorporate this concept into a nursing program. Common themes of self-care However, the importance of caring for self is reflected in the positive energy and vitality that can be brought to the workplace Richards, Common themes of self-care for each of these groups included proper diet, exercise, and stress-reduction techniques.

The lesser prevalence of self-care activities noted in nurses McElligott et al. The faculty moved forward with this initiative under the premise that teaching about the concept of self-care should be linked to the recipients in a manner in which they best learn, and guided by the principles of adult learning theory Knowles, Knowles proposed andragogy as the art and science of teaching adults.

Andragogy is a theory of adult learning that shifts the power relationship to learner-centered as opposed to teacher-centered. Applying adult learning theory, the teacher recognizes that adult learners use problem centered approaches in which immediate application can be made.

Using these principles, we developed the course so that the students would self-identify stressors and potential self-care practices to address them. In the nursing program at Florida Atlantic University, we focus on all aspects of caring and recognize that to care for others, it is equally important to care for oneself.

As such, we offer a three credit elective course, primarily attended by registered nurses RNs returning for a baccalaureate degree, called Caring for Self. Participants use reflective journaling to self-examine stressors. As the course progresses, guest speakers present content along with experiential opportunities that include steps to incorporate selected self-care activities e.

Students then address these concerns by creating a personal treasure map with an unfolding plan to achieve a self-selected life goal. Finally, students complete the course with an activity where they introduce fellow nurses to another modality of self-care and a written assignment to reflect upon their experiences with incorporating self-care activities into their lives. Table 1 describes the coursework which supports achievement of the course objectives and the weight given to each assignment toward the overall course grade.

To incorporate principles of Adult Learning Theory Knowles, , students actively participate in amending and revising assignments to reflect their understanding of the course content. Table 1. Examples of Caring for Self Course Assignments.

Students participate actively in this experiential course. Thoughtful and respectful comments and critiques are encouraged. Attendance is taken at each class. Students are responsible for planning a personal self-care day to share with the class on the online discussion board. Active participation with peers about this day is required. Students write reflections in journals on a weekly basis. Reflections include entries about ongoing personal growth and insight as a result of this course.

Each student identifies a single goal or objective he or she wishes to achieve and illustrates it on a poster board or diorama with steps to take to reach the intended goal.

The student should include a self picture along with positive affirmations and encouragement demonstrating success. The treasure map is shared with the class at midterm. It is expected that peers support each other in attaining the personal goal.

Students work in small groups. Groups select a health promoting complementary or alternative therapy of interest. The topic to promote personal health through self-care must be approved by faculty. The group prepares a 30 minute, interactive class presentation that includes: topic definition, scientific review of the literature, strengths and weaknesses of therapy, and a current reference list. Each student writes a 5 to 7 page, double-spaced professional paper utilizing APA format.

Students are required to include at least 3 scholarly references external to course content to support the paper narrative. Which topics may create suspicion and why? Students are also encouraged to share expectations for the course and offer suggestions for improvement. Table 2 describes the course philosophy used as a framework in the Caring for Self course to remind participants of our purpose. The Caring for Self course meets weekly. Topics vary each semester, based on available experts, and have included: Feng Shui, music therapy, massage, Tai Chi, Reiki, a labyrinth walk, Mantra, drum circles, traditional yoga, tea, herbal therapy, healing touch, and mindfulness meditation.

Table 3 briefly describes some of these self-care practices. Picture 2 shows a student excited by breaking a board in her first attempt at marital arts. Each modality listed above includes student participation to help students learn the activity and encourage them to incorporate it into their daily lives.

Picture 2. At the end of the semester, a weekend intensive is held where students present additional self-care activities and health promotion topics important to them. Past groups have shared interactive experiences including pet therapy, art therapy, guided imagery, Chakra mediation, aromatherapy, and various forms of marital arts.

Table 3. A drum circle is a gathering of people sitting in a circle, all drumming or playing some kind of percussion instrument while building community Clare, Yoga means the union of individual consciousness with the supreme consciousness leading to self-realization; a holistic way of life leading to a state of complete physical, social, mental, and spiritual well-being and harmony with nature Taneja, , p.

Aromatic herbs and flowers were planted primarily to provide a spiritual sanctuary. Persians were taught from an early age that it was the duty of each individual to conserve and honor nature as part of the divine creation, and these sacred gardens were looked upon as a means of recreating and experiencing heaven on the earth Ross, Students have indicated that they enjoyed learning about the various self-care practice activities.

The next section will describe an exemplar of a specific student name changed enrolled in the Caring for Self course, taken from classroom discussion and her personal reflection assignment. Within class discussion, Jamie name changed described herself as a hard working nurse who prided herself on excellent patient care and administrative abilities on a special procedures unit. Yet, she found that although she gave her heart and soul to her patients, she often left work feeling dissatisfied and feeling that she was not where she belonged.

From the first day of class in our weekly discussions, Jamie shared her distress and her desire to abandon her situation. She said that she feared not knowing what was next or how she would pay her bills should she leave her long term position. In the following weeks of the course, Jamie said that she found the class to be place where she could express herself openly and her peers were very supportive.

Each week, Jamie would share that her reflective journaling continued to focus on her job-related frustrations. One day, I noticed that Jamie entered the class with a beaming look on her face. She shared that a few days before she had left her distressing work situation and felt lighter, and in control. As a result of her class discussions and reflective journaling, she had decided to focus on herself, her education, and being happy with her life choices.

Soon after, Jamie took a homecare position working with an elderly gentleman whose family was out of state. Eighteen months later she is completing her baccalaureate degree in nursing and has decided to enter a nurse practitioner program this fall, where she will specialize in gerontology.

The realization that all undergraduate students Recently our college underwent a curriculum re-evaluation to assure that we were meeting a accreditation standards as defined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing using Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice and b state mandated criteria for nursing programs.

Instead, consider taking a walk out in nature; watch a great comedy movie; enjoy being with family, a friend, or pet; express your creative flair with adult coloring books, engage in hobbies; or develop new ones including cooking, photography, knitting, or reading. Check out Google Images or Youtube. How Stress Impacts Your Health. Nix the sugar; it will unplug you faster than anything else. Being fully functional and keeping your immune system in tip-top shape is non-negotiable. But, often, it's hard to make time for friends and it's easy to neglect your relationships when life gets busy. Older women nurses: Health, ageing concerns, and self-care strategies.

Self care strategies for nurses

Self care strategies for nurses

Self care strategies for nurses

Self care strategies for nurses

Self care strategies for nurses

Self care strategies for nurses. Bossy Nurse?

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Call , or request support via email. Self-care concepts — CareSearch palliative care knowledge network, and. Search Search. Email Share Print. Dianne Lee and Cassandra Jovic. As nurses and midwives, we understand the importance of supporting patients, families and colleagues, but sometimes we put our own wellbeing last. No matter what stressors we face at work and home, we need to nurture our own emotional, physical and social health.

We hear from some nurses and midwives who feel that self-care is an extravagance or something only a weak person would need, but this is not true. While self-care once seemed like a foreign concept, there is increasing understanding within the healthcare industry that not only is it beneficial for our personal heath, but by taking time for ourselves we also become better clinicians. How to get started. Self-care can be really simple. You could try: yoga a meditation app dancing cooking or baking massage reading enjoying a coffee before work at your favourite cafe.

Beyond activities. Finally, students complete the course with an activity where they introduce fellow nurses to another modality of self-care and a written assignment to reflect upon their experiences with incorporating self-care activities into their lives. Table 1 describes the coursework which supports achievement of the course objectives and the weight given to each assignment toward the overall course grade.

To incorporate principles of Adult Learning Theory Knowles, , students actively participate in amending and revising assignments to reflect their understanding of the course content. Table 1. Examples of Caring for Self Course Assignments. Students participate actively in this experiential course.

Thoughtful and respectful comments and critiques are encouraged. Attendance is taken at each class. Students are responsible for planning a personal self-care day to share with the class on the online discussion board. Active participation with peers about this day is required. Students write reflections in journals on a weekly basis. Reflections include entries about ongoing personal growth and insight as a result of this course. Each student identifies a single goal or objective he or she wishes to achieve and illustrates it on a poster board or diorama with steps to take to reach the intended goal.

The student should include a self picture along with positive affirmations and encouragement demonstrating success. The treasure map is shared with the class at midterm. It is expected that peers support each other in attaining the personal goal. Students work in small groups. Groups select a health promoting complementary or alternative therapy of interest.

The topic to promote personal health through self-care must be approved by faculty. The group prepares a 30 minute, interactive class presentation that includes: topic definition, scientific review of the literature, strengths and weaknesses of therapy, and a current reference list. Each student writes a 5 to 7 page, double-spaced professional paper utilizing APA format. Students are required to include at least 3 scholarly references external to course content to support the paper narrative.

Which topics may create suspicion and why? Students are also encouraged to share expectations for the course and offer suggestions for improvement.

Table 2 describes the course philosophy used as a framework in the Caring for Self course to remind participants of our purpose. The Caring for Self course meets weekly. Topics vary each semester, based on available experts, and have included: Feng Shui, music therapy, massage, Tai Chi, Reiki, a labyrinth walk, Mantra, drum circles, traditional yoga, tea, herbal therapy, healing touch, and mindfulness meditation.

Table 3 briefly describes some of these self-care practices. Picture 2 shows a student excited by breaking a board in her first attempt at marital arts. Each modality listed above includes student participation to help students learn the activity and encourage them to incorporate it into their daily lives.

Picture 2. At the end of the semester, a weekend intensive is held where students present additional self-care activities and health promotion topics important to them. Past groups have shared interactive experiences including pet therapy, art therapy, guided imagery, Chakra mediation, aromatherapy, and various forms of marital arts. Table 3. A drum circle is a gathering of people sitting in a circle, all drumming or playing some kind of percussion instrument while building community Clare, Yoga means the union of individual consciousness with the supreme consciousness leading to self-realization; a holistic way of life leading to a state of complete physical, social, mental, and spiritual well-being and harmony with nature Taneja, , p.

Aromatic herbs and flowers were planted primarily to provide a spiritual sanctuary. Persians were taught from an early age that it was the duty of each individual to conserve and honor nature as part of the divine creation, and these sacred gardens were looked upon as a means of recreating and experiencing heaven on the earth Ross, Students have indicated that they enjoyed learning about the various self-care practice activities.

The next section will describe an exemplar of a specific student name changed enrolled in the Caring for Self course, taken from classroom discussion and her personal reflection assignment. Within class discussion, Jamie name changed described herself as a hard working nurse who prided herself on excellent patient care and administrative abilities on a special procedures unit.

Yet, she found that although she gave her heart and soul to her patients, she often left work feeling dissatisfied and feeling that she was not where she belonged. From the first day of class in our weekly discussions, Jamie shared her distress and her desire to abandon her situation. She said that she feared not knowing what was next or how she would pay her bills should she leave her long term position. In the following weeks of the course, Jamie said that she found the class to be place where she could express herself openly and her peers were very supportive.

Each week, Jamie would share that her reflective journaling continued to focus on her job-related frustrations. One day, I noticed that Jamie entered the class with a beaming look on her face. She shared that a few days before she had left her distressing work situation and felt lighter, and in control.

As a result of her class discussions and reflective journaling, she had decided to focus on herself, her education, and being happy with her life choices. Soon after, Jamie took a homecare position working with an elderly gentleman whose family was out of state. Eighteen months later she is completing her baccalaureate degree in nursing and has decided to enter a nurse practitioner program this fall, where she will specialize in gerontology. The realization that all undergraduate students Recently our college underwent a curriculum re-evaluation to assure that we were meeting a accreditation standards as defined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing using Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice and b state mandated criteria for nursing programs.

As faculty came together to identify the presence of consistent curricular objectives within required nursing courses, the need to assure that we were teaching self-care practices became evident.

However, we were challenged by state limits on the maximum number of credit hours that our program could require in the baccalaureate nursing degree program. The realization that all undergraduate students and not just BSN completion students need content focused on self-care practices has led to incorporation of self-care activities within several required courses for pre-licensure programs and the RN-BSN programs.

The Caring for Self course remains available to all undergraduate nursing students as an elective. Students quickly learn that the academic work is intermingled with challenging activities; some of which their belief systems may not support. One only needs to look at our 93 year old chair yoga instructor to be reminded that caring for oneself has lasting effects. Paley shares how her work at the FAU College of Nursing Memory and Wellness Center keeps seniors active despite any physical limitations they may have.

In light of the benefits I have seen in the development of this academic course and the successes of my students, I challenge you to consider what you currently do to practice self-care behaviors. Are you successfully coping with your stressors, such as work, school, home, and life balance as they may apply to you?

Do you need to change your routine and invigorate your lifestyle? Consider trying something new today as you care for yourself! It is my hope that by describing the basis of this nursing program initiative to promote self-care, our work at FAU may provide the impetus for other nursing programs to discuss how to potentially include this type of content for nursing students, whether it be in a standalone course or incorporated throughout the curricula.

Caring for myself is an act of survival. Cynthia A. Blum is an Associate Professor at the Christine E. Blum is a Certified Nurse Educator since She obtained her PhD from Florida Atlantic University, where caring is studied as integral to knowing self and other.

This work emphasizes the importance of self-care as a basic premise to honoring self. American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice. Washington, D. Awa, W. Burnout prevention: A review of intervention programs. Patient Education and Counseling, 78 , — Bormann, J. Frequent, silent mantram repetition: A jacuzzi for the mind.

Topics in Emergency Medicine, 27 2 , Bost, N. The effectiveness of a 15 minute weekly massage in reducing physical and psychological stress in nurses. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 23 4 , Boykin, A.

Design and structure as an expression of caring. International Journal for Human Caring, 10 4 , Cameron, J.

Chow, J. International Journal for Human Caring, 12 3 , Clare, D. Building healthy communities through community drum circles. Canadian Nurse, 1 , Coakley, A. Creating a therapeutic and healing environment with a pet therapy program. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 15 3 , Cohen, S.

Cohen-Katz, J. The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on nurse stress and burnout, part II. Holistic Nursing Practice, 19 1 , Diaconis, L. International Journal for Human Caring, 14 3 , Eitel, E. What is Feng-Shui? The classic nineteenth-century interpretation. London: Dover Publications. Florida Atlantic University. Course descriptions. Ford-Martin, P. Guided imagery. Fundukian Ed. Detroit, MI: Gale. Gabrielle, S. Older women nurses: Health, ageing concerns, and self-care strategies.

Journal of Advanced Nursing, 61 3 , — Horowitz, S. Realizing the benefits of hypnosis. Knowles, M. The adult learner: A neglected species 4th ed.

Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing. The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development 5th ed. Kravits, K. Self-care strategies for nurses: A psycho-educational intervention for stress reduction and the prevention of burnout. Applied Nursing Research, 23, — Jimenez, C. Stress and health in novice and experienced nursing students. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 66 2 , — Lamont, S. Art psychotherapy in a consumer diagnosed with borderline personality disorder: A case study.

International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 18 , Lee, R. The influence of the metaparadigm of nursing on professional identity development among RN-BSN students.

Nursing Science Quarterly, 26 1 , Lobell, L. Self-love, Is it selfish? Retrieved from www. Lorde, A, Zami: A new spelling of my name — A biomythography. McElligott, D. Health promotion in nurses: Is there a healthy nurse in the house?

Nursing Self-Care: 3 Ways to Improve Your Well-Being

In accordance with the ethical approval for this research, the datasets generated and analysed during the current study are not publicly available. Self-care practice within the palliative care workforce is often discussed, yet seemingly under-researched. While palliative care professionals are required to implement and maintain effective self-care strategies, there appears little evidence to guide them.

This paper reports qualitative findings within the context of a broader mixed-methods study. The aim of the present study was to explore the meaning and practice of self-care as described by palliative care nurses and doctors.

A purposive sample of 24 palliative care nurses and doctors across Australia participated in semi-structured, in-depth interviews.

Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed prior to inductive qualitative content analysis, supported by QSR NVivo data management software. Three overarching themes emerged from the analysis: 1 A proactive and holistic approach to promoting personal health and wellbeing to support professional care of others ; 2 Personalised self-care strategies within professional and non-professional contexts; and 3 Barriers and enablers to self-care practice.

The findings of this study provide a detailed account of the context and complexity of effective self-care practice previously lacking in the literature. Self-care is a proactive, holistic, and personalised approach to the promotion of health and wellbeing through a variety of strategies, in both personal and professional settings, to enhance capacity for compassionate care of patients and their families.

This research adds an important qualitative perspective and serves to advance knowledge of both the context and effective practice of self-care in the palliative care workforce. The concept of relentless self-care is well known to those in the field of palliative social work [ 1 ]. Interest in self-care is growing within the nursing and medical disciplines [ 2 , 3 ], and its importance to all palliative care professionals is evident internationally through a suite of quality standards, core competencies, and practice standards in which self-care practice is mandated [ 4 — 10 ].

But what does self-care mean? Despite this health-promoting emphasis on good health and wellbeing, the palliative care literature focuses largely on coping strategies in the context of occupational stressors such as burnout or compassion fatigue [ 12 ].

Clearly, management of stress is very important; however, there are other important aspects of promoting good health and wellbeing that extend beyond the scope of coping with stress. In many cases there also appears to be conflation between the terms coping strategy and self-care strategy. Further confusion about the meaning of self-care was highlighted in an Australian survey of palliative care professionals [ 13 ]. Beyond academic definitions, there is a need to understand and articulate the meaning of self-care in a palliative care practice context.

Given that some palliative care professionals have reported low levels of self-care ability, there is also an urgent need to explore barriers and enablers to self-care, and identify examples of effective self-care strategies used in practice. In reviewing the literature [ 12 ], significant gaps are apparent in the current evidence base for self-care practice and education.

To advance knowledge in these areas, this study aimed to explore the meaning and practice of self-care as described by palliative care nurses and doctors. Specifically, the following research questions were addressed:. Given the nature of the research questions, a qualitative research design was employed [ 14 ]. The initial guide was refined in response to feedback received from a small group of palliative care professionals not involved in this study. A purposive sample was recruited into this qualitative research from a pool of palliative care nurses and doctors who had completed a self-care survey as part of a broader mixed-methods study [ 13 ].

Consistent with the purpose of obtaining relevant and rich data from an appropriate source, eligible participants were nurses and doctors practising in Australia with palliative care as their main area of practice. A total of 24 semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted over a six-month period in , with recruitment ending once data saturation was reached. That is, when the collection of additional data served only to repeat existing rather than generate new content, as identified from the use of field notes and iterative analysis.

The first author, an experienced qualitative researcher, conducted all interviews and recorded field notes to support a process of iterative analysis throughout the data collection period. Gender-appropriate pseudonyms were randomly allocated to each respondent. Interview transcripts were initially read and re-read to make note of key words and phrases before importing them into QSR NVivo 11 data management software for open coding and qualitative content analysis.

Qualitative content analysis is a widely used method for interpreting the content of textual data through a process of systematic classification, coding, and identification of patterns or themes [ 16 ]. First, it was decided that a conventional approach to content analysis would be adopted [ 16 ].

That is to say, the analysis was inductive and focused on latent content, or words and sentences that required an interpretation of underlying meaning. Finally, it was decided that these meaning units would comprise interrelated words, sentences and paragraphs from interview transcripts.

In this way, interview data were analysed inductively through the generation of codes, grouping and collapsing of codes into common categories, and subsequent abstraction to identify overall themes that represent the raw data in an aggregated form [ 18 , 19 ].

These were clinical nurse specialists, nurse educators, clinical nurse consultants, nurse practitioners, nurse unit managers, senior medical officers, consultant physicians, and heads of department. Three overarching themes emerged from the analysis in relation to the meaning and practice of self-care: 1 A proactive and holistic approach to promoting personal health and wellbeing to support professional care of others ; 2 Personalised self-care strategies within professional and non-professional contexts ; and 3 Barriers and enablers to self-care practice.

Theme 2: Personalised self-care strategies within professional and nonprofessional contexts. The meaning of self-care was described in terms of its positive relational context with self and others. Although self-care was focused primarily on individual needs, it was informed by the broader clinical context of capacity to engage in positive and therapeutic relationships to provide patient care.

Self-care meant fulfilling a fundamental part of palliative care practice, with one participant commenting that self-care is intrinsic to the work itself.

Self-care also meant balancing care for others with care for self, with the promotion of personal health and wellbeing central to its meaning.

Effective self-care practice was described as a personalised and ongoing endeavour. Participant descriptions of effective self-care practices were consistently characterised by a variety of self-care strategies that were maintained both within, and external to, workplace settings.

Effective self-care strategies used outside of the workplace settings included a range of health behaviours, meditation and spiritual practice. A healthy diet, adequate sleep, and moderation of alcohol intake were considered important. In addition to exercising for fitness, other physical activities such as yoga and massage were found to be effective self-care strategies. Rest and relaxation at home in a bath were described as effective self-care strategies when feeling overwhelmed or needing to wash away metaphorically thoughts of the workplace.

Socialising and maintaining positive relationships with friends and family was both supportive and meaningful. Meditation practice was also an effective self-care used within both personal and professional contexts. A variety of meditation practices were used by participants, including loving kindness meditation. Spiritual practice was also considered an effective self-care strategy.

Finding harmony between personal and professional roles was consistently described as an effective self-care strategy. Some described this harmony in terms of work-life balance. Interestingly, others found the concept of work-life balance to be problematic in practice. One participant explained:. Establishing and maintaining boundaries between home and the workplace was considered an effective self-care strategy.

Some boundaries involved commuting to the workplace via modes of transport that prevented over-working, while for others the commute time itself constituted a process of unwinding from work so as to separate from it when arriving home.

Boundaries were also relevant to effective self-care within the workplace. Awareness of boundaries in this context was supportive in terms of not over-working due to resource limitations, whilst also ensuring clarity of expectations for multiple stakeholders. In the words of one participant:. Self-regulation of workload was important, but often difficult to achieve.

Taking meal breaks, taking recreation leave for regular holidays, and taking personal leave during illness were also considered effective self-care strategies. For some, choosing to work part-time was an effective self-care strategy that provided ongoing regulation of workload in relation to other competing demands.

Self-regulation as a self-care strategy was often supported by other members of the team. In this way, team-care was considered an aspect of effective self-care that contributed to a healthy team. One participant described an example of team-care in terms of checking in with colleagues about how they are feeling, as a reminder and invitation to attend to self-care.

Having a cohesive team was important and this contributed to a supportive working environment. Mindfulness exercises were an effective self-care strategy in the workplace, both in individual and group contexts. A sense of allowing oneself to be human, in the context of displaying emotion in the clinical setting, was also part of effective self-care practice.

Importantly, respect and confidentiality were important components for clinical supervision to be effective. But formal supervision was not necessarily helpful for everyone, with many finding informal debriefing with peers to be effective. However, this also required trust among colleagues. While the use of informal debriefing among colleagues was considered a sign of a healthy team, formal, structured debriefing was also common in some workplaces to support self-care.

Use of humour and laughter was also an effective self-care strategy used in the workplace, with laughter often expressing a sense of acceptance, kindness and compassion for oneself rather than self-judgement during times when feelings of inadequacy arise. Participants reported accessing a variety of professional supports as part of effective self-care practice. These ranged from Employee Assistance Programs and private counsellors to psychologists, general practitioners and other medical specialists.

For doctors, it was considered especially helpful to seek objective medical advice from a general practitioner. Interestingly, choice of employer was a self-care consideration in terms of gauging organisational commitment to support staff with workplace self-care activities such as clinical supervision. Finally, effective self-care practice was described as a shared responsibility between palliative care professionals and the health services in which they practised. However, there can be a lack of clarity with regards to this shared responsibility.

Participants described the ongoing need to manage self-care barriers and enablers as part of maintaining self-care strategies in both personal and professional contexts.

Multiple impediments to self-care were identified in the workplace including busyness. For some, this workload was compounded by limited opportunity to take holidays from work. Workplace culture was also identified as problematic, where it was not conducive to self-care. In some workplace cultures there was a stigma associated with self-care, making it difficult for individuals to engage in self-care practice without feeling judged as being selfish.

Bringing work home was described as a barrier to self-care, and related to workplace culture and expectations. Self-worth was also discussed as a common concern for effective self-care, where self-criticism and a lack of self-worth undermined self-care as an important priority.

Finally, a lack of planning for self-care, or otherwise adopting a solely ad hoc approach was considered a barrier to effective self-care.

Several factors were described as facilitators of effective self-care. Recognising the importance of self-care was considered an important enabler by all.

Some became conscious of this through previous experiences of illness or being unwell after having initially neglected self-care. Prioritising self-care was an important enabler which correlated with noticeable benefits. Adopting a preventative approach to self-care was important, whilst recognising that additional strategies may need to be implemented, as required, according to context.

Positive workplace cultures supportive of self-care were described as vital to effective self-care practice. Normalisation… the reason I bang on about [self-care] is because I think, yes, you do need to normalise it. Leadership and positive role models were considered key enablers to effective self-care.

Self care strategies for nurses

Self care strategies for nurses

Self care strategies for nurses