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Combating Stress

Stress amongst nurses is one of the most underappreciated yet impactful issues nurses face. It surfaces in so many aspects of a nurse’s work and personal life. The emotional demands are boundless and the physical demands/fatigue can be burdensome. The ethical/moral stresses of the job are always in the back of nurses’ minds as well. And that’s not even taking into account how nurses try to “turn it all off” when they are home with families and friends. This stress often affects the health of nurses and sometimes even the outcomes of patients and patient care. Furthermore, it undermines nurse retention rates and can even hurt the financial well-being of healthcare organizations. But there are ways for nurses to cope with that stress – and ANA provides many services to help nurses do so.



Living & Working Mindfully:  Exploring Mindfulness Techniques for Self-Care, Leadership & Nursing Practice 

Dealing with Fatigue: Strategies for Nurse Leaders
The ANA Leadership Institute™ webinar "Dealing with Fatigue: Strategies for Nurse Leaders" is intended to help nurse leaders like you enable their staff to better handle physical and emotional fatigue by helping them identify the issues and then giving them the best practices and techniques to resolve the issues.


Self-Care and You: Caring for the Caregiver 
Nurses are the consummate caregivers, often sacrificing their own health and wellness while taking care of others. Self-care means choosing behaviors to counter emotional and physical stress, from exercise and nutritious eating to practicing self-centering activities. Given the emotional stress and strains inherent in your profession, it is important that you make self-care a priority. It is vital to your well-being and enables you to effectively continue your day-to-day practice of healing and caring for others. . Self-Care and You applies an integrated approach to the practice of self-care. This handy guide is organized in six self-care pathways and loaded with detailed examples, guidelines, tips, techniques, and insights about each pathway to help you assess and guide your lifelong journey to self-care!

Information Overload: Framework, Tips, and Tools to Manage in Complex Healthcare Environments 
This book has been recognized by the American Journal of Nursing as one of the best nursing and health care publications of 2015. "Information Overload" earned first place in the 2015 AJN Book of the Year Award category of information technology/social media. The AJN Book of the Year program is a prestigious competition that garners the attention of the nursing community and supporting health care publishers. According to AJN Editor-in-Chief Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, FAAN, "AJN's Book of the Year awards is our opportunity to acknowledge high-quality publications and to share that with the health care community."

Errors of Omission:  How Missed Nursing Care Imperils Patients
This book, relying on over ten years of intensive research, shows the links between missed nursing care, decreased patient outcomes, and poor nursing retention.  Author Beatrice Kalisch, PhD, RN, FAAN, deftly provides actions to assist you in your practice to prevent missed nursing care.


Empowerment Reduces First-Line Managers' Stress
First-line nursing managers who have been structural empowerment experience less stress, according to a study in Applied Nursing Research.

Eating Better to Help Manage Chronic Stress 
Building a nutrient-rich lifestyle can help you ward off the effects of stress.

Code of Ethics for Nurse Monthly Tip
Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements

The nature of nursing practice and the involvement of nurses in sometimes highly stressful life events and critical decision-making can be challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance.   Interpretive Statement 5.3 of the Code states that "Nurses have both personal and professional identities that are integrated and that embrace the values of the profession."  In order to maintain a healthy balance, nurses must maintain personal integrity and wholeness of character.  This is a self-regarding duty in difficult situations when nurses may face a threat to his or her integrity.  Preservation of integrity can be difficult to achieve in stressful situations but is more likely to be accomplished where there is a safe environment of mutual respect. 

Additional Resources

Collaborative Partners

American Holistic Nurses Association

The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) is a specialty nursing association that supports nursing practice focused on caring for the whole person, their mind, body, and spirit, to lead them to a healthier state of being.

AHNA Stress Management Toolkit for Nurses
Many studies show that nurses are less healthy than average adults in their communities. When nurses ignore the stress that comes from caring for others and stop giving equal care to themselves, they experience physical and/or psychological damage over time. The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) has created an online Stress Management Toolkit for nurses. Get up-to-date on the causes of stress in your life, the physical and psychological effects of stress, and 14 powerful evidence-based Stress Management Tools, including How to Meditate in a Moment.

NIHD - Nursing Institute for Healthcare Design

The mission of NIHD is to "engage and integrate clinical expertise into the planning and design of healthcare environments". We are a non-profit organization made up of mainly RNs, many of whom have dual degrees in architecture, interior design, business, education and administration. Focusing on the patient and staff, we strive to create spaces that enhance health and well-being through the built environment.

Is your break room giving you the break you need? 
Some of the most stressful work environments are in hospitals where 8-hour shifts are rough and 12-hour shifts are downright tough. To deal with the stressors that come with long and hectic workdays, nurses need dedicated space to enjoy some well-deserved downtime – even if it is just for a few minutes! Breaks are important not only for the nurse's physical well-being but for the integrity of the nurse-patient and nurse-coworker relationships.

Having a space to get away from the constant stimulation of alarms, monitors and call lights is necessary so nurses can take a break and refresh themselves. Sometimes renewal comes if the form of talking with a co-worker about patient issues so privacy is a significant consideration (Nejati, Shepley, Rodiek, Lee, & Varni, 2016). The opportunity to step away from the chaos alone or with a co-worker helps to mitigate the burnout that often plagues the nursing profession.

Nurses don't want to be too far away though. Proximity to patient care areas is important to nurses for two reasons: 1) although nurses want to enjoy a break, it is important for them to know they can respond to a crisis if needed and 2) if the breakroom is too far away, the nurses won't use it (Nejati, Shepley, Rodiek, Lee, & Varni, 2016).    

The National Association of School Nurses

The National Association of School Nurses is a non-profit specialty nursing organization, organized in 1968 and incorporated in 1977, representing school nurses exclusively. NASN has more than 16,000 members and 50 affiliates including the District of Columbia and overseas. The mission of NASN is to optimize student health and learning by advancing the practice of school nursing.

National Association of School Nursing defines School Nursing as a specialized practice of nursing, which protects and promotes student health, facilitates optimal development, and advances academic success. School nurses, grounded in ethical and evidence-based practice, are the leaders who bridge health care and education, provide care coordination, advocate for quality student-centered care, and collaborate to design systems that allow individuals and communities to develop their full potential.

Please see some of NASN's nutrition-related resources below:

  • Diabetes in Childhood -This webpage provides an authoritative listing of resources for managing childhood diabetes at school.

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