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Use National Nurses Month to Take Care of Yourself

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May is National Nurses Month, dedicated to the life, work, sacrifice and traditions of nursing. Nurses have had a rough time recently, like many in the medical community. In fact, there are estimates that as high as one third of nurses plan to quit their jobs in 2022. Leading causes why? Burnout and stress.

So, let’s talk about how nurses can take care of themselves. There’s no better time than during the month set aside to recognize the service they provide to patients and their community.

Take Care of Yourself

In its celebration of National Nurses Month, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has dedicated a week to the practice of self-care. With long shifts, mandated overtime and day-to-day job demands, burnout is real. Aside from working out, eating right and getting enough sleep, how can nurses stay happy and healthy at work?

Getting a massage is a top of the list. From deep stretching and releasing muscles, to soothing and relaxing strokes, regular massages are a great way to stay physically and mentally prepared for the stress that comes with being a nurse. Schedule yourself for a massage this month, and then try and go regularly (once or twice monthly) to truly experience the benefits of this well-deserved hour “off the floor.”

Nurses can also find comfort in talking to a professional about their stress at work. The pandemic spurred many workplaces to provide extended use and scope of telehealth visits. The demand for mental health treatment has also increased dramatically. Virtual counseling appointments are often covered by most major insurances. Your primary health provider can also help you find a licensed counselor to engage in meaningful, needed and often overlooked healthcare.

Take Care of Your Career

The ANA has also assigned half of the month to recognition and development. As a student at American College of Education, I recognize and tout the need for continued education. If an advanced degree is not what you seek today, you can still gain valuable skills within subspecialty certifications such as wound care.

Take Care of Each Other

We often wait for our bosses to recognize the work we do. During this month, expect this to be shown in tangibles such as gift certificates, parties and trinkets. However, let’s also use this month to recognize each other and strengthen the bonds we have in and out of work.

When was the last time you gave a fellow nurse a thank you card for helping you out or an official “great job” for they way they handled a challenging patient? Nominate a co-worker for employee of the month! We don’t need our managers to tell us how great we are. Use this month to get in the habit of congratulating each other. You could start today by nominating an ACE nursing student or faculty member for a DAISY Award.

Regardless of how you plan to recognize National Nurses Month, the most important thing you could do is take care of yourself, whether that’s physically or mentally. We appreciate you, nurses!

American College of Education is proud to support the career advancement of nurses and nurse educators with our fully online, high-quality and affordable nursing degrees and certificates.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.

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