Nurses Week runs from May 6 – May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday, every year. As such, it would be prudent to dedicate our first Mental Health Month post to our men and women in the nursing field, and their relationship with their own mental health.
One of the main dangers to a nurse’s mental health is stress, which is seemingly obvious. However, with a projected shortage of about 203,700 nurses in order to meet the growing needs of an aging Baby Boomer population coupled with rising numbers of nurses retiring, the amount of stress a nurse will shoulder grows exponentially.
This also leads into another imminent threat to a nurse’s mental health, anxiety. From the intense academic training, to the incredible hours required for a nurse to work per week, anxiety levels can skyrocket as nurses hold the lives of their patients in their hands time and time again.
There is sometimes a stigma among nurses, as with everyone, that acknowledging mental health limitations and taking time for oneself is a sign of weakness. nurses often feel they need to “soldier on” in the face of adversity, and strive towards the ideal Hero Nurse that they will hold themselves accountable to if they cannot reach.
However, acknowledging one’s own mental health needs does not make one weak. In fact, tending to one’s mental health ensures that a nurse can be that more available to those that need them. Ignoring one’s mental health, per the World Health Organization, can lead to
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
- Gastronomical problems
- Premature death
So please, if you are a nurse and are reading this blog entry, consider your own mental health status (especially with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis). Do you need a rest, if only for a day? Do you need to speak to someone?
At Optimae, we ask three questions:
- How are you doing today?
- What is one thing I can do to help you today?
- How can we work together to get that “one extra thing” done for this customer or this colleague, and how can we celebrate when we do?
If you need someone to assist you during this rough patch, please contact Optimae Life Services and tell us how we can help.
Take care of yourselves, then you can take care of everyone else.