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Self Care

Take time to celebrate yourself as a healthcare provider

Nurse giving two thumbs up

By Holly Carlson MS, RN, CCRN

We are entering the time of year where we celebrate people who work in healthcare. It is a good time of year to refocus and check resiliency. This past year we have been asked to be the heroes saving every day. We have been asked to:

  • Perform successfully in the scary unknown.
  • Work extra hours when co-workers are sick.
  • Reuse protective equipment, at the risk of our and our family’s health.
  • Integrate labor intensive processes while providing care that is already really hard in order to protect the people we care for.

While the tendency to want to save the day is common among people who work in healthcare, we have been pushed hard this past year.

Re-evaluate your Roles

When we are pushed, our resiliency weakens and our emotional balance becomes unbalanced. It is a good time to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is my role at work and at home?
  • Am I making sacrifices I will regret?
  • Do I need to save the day?

When we lose perspective in the roles we play in life, we put ourselves at risk of making sacrifices we will later regret. Our priorities become ruled by external forces. External forces are often not our first choice. They are often the loudest call for our attention and are usually unrewarding.

Can you save the Day?

Perspective is lost when we feel like we can save the day. The question really should be- “should I save the day?” There is not a person who works in healthcare who can’t save the day in one way or another, every single day. What we should do before we try to save the day is ask ourselves:

  • What expectations do I have for myself?
  • What expectations do others who are important to me have for me?
  • How full is my “cup”?
  • Is my need to be needed out of balance?

All of these questions help to identify areas in our personal life that may be straining our personal resilience through an imbalance of priorities. Stop and ask yourself what you expect from yourself. Expectations are usually generated by responsibilities. Start by examining what you are responsible for? Is fulfilling your responsibilities without extra expectations enough? Understand what is enough for you.

How full or empty is your cup?

If your responsibilities and expectations do not leave room for anything extra, you have set yourself up for the empty search of fulfillment. The empty search of fulfillment happens when you look outside of yourself for validation and acknowledgement. All our daily decisions and actions can be influenced by needing “to be needed.” This can result in waning resiliency. Having a little room to chose to do something extra is empowering. It doesn’t mean you have to, it just means you can if you want to.

Healthcare workers rate in the top trusted professions each year. It is a noble calling, one we can invest our total selves into. We have been asked to cross protective boundaries, adapt to new rules and regulations, and continue to provide the best care we can in high-risk care environments. Its time to refocus and rebalance, take charge of your resiliency. Thank you for all that you do.

Holly Carlson registered nurseHolly Carlson MS, RN, CCRN is a freelance writer and owner of HDC Consulting.  Holly is a registered nurse with 25 years of healthcare experience in both acute and post-acute healthcare environments. Her experience includes direct care, organizational leadership, facility management, and organization culture development.

Phone: (541)419-4036