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The importance of self-care

The Next Shift is a new series of stories written by experienced RNs to provide advice that can help guide the next generation of nurses. The series is presented by The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future.

As a nurse for the past 20 years, I’ve gone through many transitions from a fast-paced life in busy trauma center ORs on the East Coast and in cold northern states to serving as an open heart surgery nurse, a hospital private scrub nurse and an office nurse in OB/GYN and family medicine.

All the orders, emails, documentations, bells, alarms and cell phone calls barrage you all day, keeping you in constant motion. At the end of your work day, you often are emotionally drained. Away from work, you go through many life changes – getting married, raising children and caring for aging parents.

Olivia Cummings, RN

When you are away from your job, my advice is to turn all of it off and listen to the world around you. Give those who mean the most to you your undivided attention without the diversion of daytime bells and whistles. Make sure to take time for yourself by finding a hobby and doing something physically healthy every day.

Whether it be a craft or athletic adventure, a hobby can carry you throughout your life, giving you something worthwhile to pursue and enjoy besides your job. I took piano lessons as a child and also learned to play the violin. Recently, my husband purchased a fantastic violin for me and I have challenged myself to improve my playing. The connection with my violin strings and the sounds I want to produce take me to a place all my own.

I also love walking with my dogs down a river walkway near where I live. My mind only hears the water and the tree leaves filled with wind bursts. Perhaps you can take a day trip or a weekend vacation and lose yourself in the enjoyment of the place and people around you. Pursue walking, running, swimming, playing with your dog. Walk around the mall indoors during cold weather, take the stairs instead of the elevator – these are good for mental and physical release. Find something like this you can do every day, and you will strengthen your heart and mind, returning to work to face the next challenge.

By | 2021-05-07T16:12:46-04:00 February 10th, 2015|Categories: Nurses Stories|0 Comments

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