There are some things that everyone knows about nurses. One is that they work long hours. Another is that they have to contend with shifts – sometimes at night, sometimes over the weekend. Plus, they have to do a lot of physical work; lifting patients isn’t easy (even when done the right way), for example, and because they have to help a lot of people, there is a lot of moving around. Breaks can be difficult to come by.
Yet despite all of this, those who do become nurses find they are working in the most rewarding job they can find. They are helping people all day, every day, and they are truly making a difference in their patients’ lives, and perhaps in the lives of their colleagues too. However, someone they will usually forget to take care of is themselves. When you are working as a nurse, self-care is crucial but usually neglected. So with that in mind, here are some of the best ways to practice self-care as a nurse in Missouri. Missouri is a state with 35,735 registered nurses as of 2021, and each of them needs to take care of themselves. Read on to find out more.
Understand Your Role And Take Ownership
As a nurse in Missouri, you’ll find that there is a shortage of nurses in the state. Around thirty-one percent of nurses in Missouri are over the age of 54, meaning that they will be retiring sooner rather than later. Since not enough nurses are coming through to replace them, this will make the current nursing shortage even worse. Therefore, the nurses who are working will often have to work overtime or extra shifts to make up for the shortfall. This makes self-care for nurses in Missouri even more important.
When you think of self-care, you probably think of different ways to relax and look after yourself, and we will certainly come to that, but there are other ways to practice self-care, and one of these is to be better at your job. The more you can do, the more satisfied you will be, and the less stressed, and this will lead to you being able to take better care of your body and mind. If you’re considering becoming a registered nurse in Missouri, you must understand that you can’t go into the profession unless you are one hundred percent committed – at least not if you want to make the most of your career and take care of yourself at the same time. You do need to love your job, so if you have any doubts, it’s best to consider things carefully before you make any kind of application.
If you can enjoy your work, put your entire self into it, and if you can understand exactly what’s required of you, you will automatically be practicing one form of self-care. There are many others, though, so it’s important to know what they are all are.
As a nurse in Missouri, you are sure to put your patients first. This is a trait of all nurses, but in Missouri, when the nurse to patient ratio is 1:68 in urban areas and 1:91 in more rural ones, it’s clear that there is a lot of work to do – each nurse has a lot of patients to take care of, and if you are always putting your patients first, this is going to take a toll.
There are a variety of measures to combat this issue and make it easier for the nurse to take care of themselves. However, one idea is to ensure you take career progression when you can. Again, this might seem like a strange way to practice self-care, but for some, it’s actually the ideal thing to do.
When you enjoy career progression and move forward as much as possible, you are helping yourself. Not only will you be paid more, but you’ll feel more satisfied with the work you’re doing, and you can look back with pride regarding how hard you have studied and how much experience you have gained. On top of this, career progression for nurses helps patients too. When you are higher up in your career, you’ll have more knowledge and experience, and this will clearly mean you can treat people better.
Even if you want to remain as an RN until the day you retire, that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from some areas of career progression. You might not want the qualifications or the different jobs, but you can still do the learning. You can still read the journals and the blogs and keep up with all the changes in the healthcare field – of which there will be many. So it’s crucial that you continue to learn both in terms of your self-care and in terms of how well you can take care of your patients.
We’ve already mentioned how being a nurse is physically demanding, so it makes sense that, in order to practice self-care, you will need to stay as healthy as possible. Not only do you need to be fit and active, but you also need to have a robust immune system; just think of all the sicknesses and various conditions you will be coming across every day. If you were to have a poor immune system, you would catch a lot of them and be sick much of the time. This is not good for you or anyone around you. Therefore, it pays to stay healthy if you want to enjoy your job and take care of yourself as much as possible.
Exercise is a good place to start. Ideally, you will do around thirty minutes of exercise every day, and that doesn’t have to be something formal such as a class or heading to the gym. In Missouri, there are plenty of trails to walk and cycle, for example, particularly in the south of the state where you have the Ozark Plateau. If you prefer to stay indoors, Missouri has its own state exercise video channel, and if you don’t enjoy what that one is showing you, there are many more you can access entirely for free. Even walking further from your car to the entrance of the hospital you work in and taking the stairs rather than the elevator will help.
As well as exercising, you need to eat well. Of course, this is usually easier said than done, especially when temptation is all around, thanks to the many great restaurants in Missouri. However, if you plan ahead and only go to these restaurants as a treat, you will be fine. Taking your own food to work for lunch is one of the best places to start; it means you’ll be healthier and you’ll save money. Planning out your evening meals in advance and only buying what you need will also help, and ensuring you have breakfast every day is crucial; even if you only have time for a piece of fruit, it’s better than nothing. You need that initial burst of energy to start your shift off well.
Sleep is the final part of the staying healthy aspect of self-care. Unless you get enough sleep every night, you’ll find that you are still not performing at your best, even if you are eating properly and exercising enough. Most adults need around eight hours of sleep a night, so work out when you need to get up for your next shift and then go backward to determine when you need to be getting into bed. Try to have a good bedtime routine as this will alert your body that it’s time to go to sleep, and if you truly have issues getting to sleep – or staying asleep – it’s a good idea to speak to a professional about getting some help.
Invest In Comfortable Shoes And Clothing
You can wear whatever you want to on your days off, and if that means shoes with heels or shorts or a summer dress, then go ahead – your style is your own, and you need to be happy with it. However, wearing these items in the hospital for your nursing shift is not going to contribute to any form of self-care. Firstly, it is likely there will be a uniform that nurses need to wear, and by choosing to wear something else, you are going against the rules of your job – this will only cause stress and not be conducive to a calm working environment. Secondly, wearing anything that might be nice for a night out or a day at the beach (for example) is just not going to be comfortable, and when you’re not comfortable, you can’t concentrate on your job. Your patients may suffer, and as a result, so will your self-confidence.
Most of the time, nurses will want to wear their uniform as it is a mark of pride that they are doing a job that helps so many people. However, when it comes to your shoes, it’s crucial that you choose carefully and find a pair that will help you stay on your feet for many hours at a time. If you’re in comfortable shoes, it will make all the difference, even if it seems like a small thing to do.
Make The Most Of Missouri
If you are a nurse in Missouri, you can make the most of what this beautiful state has to offer when you need to practice some self-care. There are so many things to do in Missouri that you are sure to find something that appeals. For example, you might choose to start a new hobby, and there is highly likely to be a class or meet-up close to you to allow you to do that, whether you’re interested in art, dance, collecting something, chess, or anything else. There is always something to do; Missouri isn’t called the show me state for no reason.
If you like to enjoy days out on your days off and find that this would be a great way to practice self-care, then you’re in luck in Missouri. You might visit the Gateway Arch in St Louis, or perhaps you like the idea of sailing on an old paddleboat steamer or visiting a civil war battlefield. If you love animals, there is the St Louis Zoo, and if you love literature and history, you can see Mark Twain’s childhood home. There is a never-ending supply of things to do in Missouri, and if you are looking for a way to practice self-care as a nurse, making the most of them is crucial. Enjoying fun days out will allow your mind and body to ‘reset’ so that when you go back for your next shift, you’ll be fresh and invigorated and able to help as many people as possible.
Don’t Take Bad Days To Heart
When you are a nurse, whether you’re in Missouri or elsewhere, there will be bad days. This is just something that is inevitable. Everyone has bad days. Of course, when you’re a nurse, a bad day might mean that a patient has died or that a patient’s family member has become angry about something, but even if it’s a much smaller issue, it’s important to be aware that no matter how much you enjoy your job in general, there will be days that aren’t so good.
It’s vital that you don’t take these bad days to heart if you want to practice self-care. This won’t be easy, of course, since you are working in a high-pressure situation, and the bad times will be amplified. However, if you let this get to you, you will become very stressed and anxious, and you may not be able to do your job very well.
At the end of each shift, no matter how difficult it might have been, take a moment to think of all the positives and to remember the good things that happened. These are the things you need to keep in your mind, not the negatives. In this way, you’ll be able to come back for your next shift in a much better frame of mind, which will help you, your patients, and your colleagues.