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Managing Stress and a Balance Lifestyle within the Profession of Nursing

The power to make a difference was the strategy campaign utilized by a recruitment organization to promote awareness and spark of interest in nursing careers among youth.Research demonstrates today’s youth enter nursing for the same reason nurses in the past have chosen nursing: which is to help people or make a difference in people’s lives (Bevill).

Presently, nursing practice is considerably the largest healthcare profession globally.Private homes, schools, long term care facility, hospitals, community facilities, industry, physician’s offices, military and civil service arenas is the range of  work settings that the said medical profession  may be administered.

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Nurses act in alliance with social workers, physicians, nurse practitioners, physical therapists and other health professionals in providing care delivery. In functioning as front line members of the health care delivery team, patient advocacy is one of most significant responsibility bestowed upon nurses.

Acting as care provider is the profession’s chief duty along with other challenging roles which comprises of being patient educator, researcher and counselor. This profession includes providing emotional and physical care, comfort, health monitoring of patients, health education and crisis intervention, tasks directed by physicians, discharge planning, and empowering patients toward healthy behavior.

Though highly honored and considered prized associates of the medical team, crises among nurses are tremendously increasing. Health problems, physical and emotional stress, sexual harassment and staffing shortages are the major reasons that concern nurse retention. The profession’s work conditions contribute mainly to shortage.

“Nurses eat their young” is the famous lines in a 1976 movie classic and the vilest statement coming from new nurses. It is called horizontal hostility, which is aggressive behavior such as bullying, verbal abuse, and violence directed at co-workers who are on the same power level. And it is born out of a sense of powerlessness (Bartholomew). It is the most frequent issue among newly graduates given that many have observed that older or senior nurses tend to become unhelpful, unaccommodating, and fault-finding in terms of their dealings with new nurses. They are seemingly called the “workplace bullies”, they take pleasure in looking at new nurses muddle up with performing their assigned tasks instead of helping their work buddies and acting as caring and supportive mentor.

According to a Peter D. Hart Research Associates study (April 2001), the top reason why nurses leave patient care, besides retirement, is to see a job that is less stressful and less physically demanding (56%).When asked what the biggest problem with nursing is, respondents who were in active nursing practice cited understaffing (39%) and the stress and physical demands of the job (Aiken 12). Restructuring programs done by most hospitals only brought further burden to nurses since it affected workload, roles and authority.

These programs include cutting back of auxiliary staffs which suggested that nurses do the lifting and turning of patients and getting more patients to care for means increase in mistakes and stress.  These are the working conditions that cause anxiety and stress to nurses. Exposure to risks such as physical stress and health problems like back pain and chronic fatigue due to obese patients that were lifted by the nurses which supposedly be the duty of auxiliary staffs. Nurses work overtime, research shows high divorce rate among health care professionals. They work more than 16 hours sometimes double shift instead of 8-12 hours normal work schedule. This includes going to work on holidays when their entire family is at home while they look after patients.

Another example of occupational hazard among nurses is sexual harassment. Nurses are the targets of sexual assaults may it be offensive jokes, unwanted winks, and touching. Tension among nurses happens since they have to maintain a wall between self-protection and professional responsibility.

Nurses came to feel that they would meet a wall of physician resistance to their own care goals unless they subtly manipulated the physicians, whose fragile egos seemed to require that significant care be all their idea. Gordon argues that nurses even developed their own obfuscatory language to ensure that they were not perceived as “diagnosing,” “treating” or “curing” patients, which could mean encroaching on “medical” turf. Poor communication between the professions is common, and bad relations with physicians are a major factor in nurse burnout (Gordon). This kind of incidence in the workplace brings dilemma and stress to nurses. Most nurses try to behave professionally by still remaining courteous to physicians and reluctant to speak up.

In relation to nurse behavior, according to American Nurses Association survey found that 55 percent of nurses disheartened by their experience in the profession would not recommend a nursing career to their children and friends. And one study has shown that if a hospital’s nurses are unhappy, chances are that their patients are unhappy as well (Aiken 20).

According to researchers, nurses who are the target of bullying are prone to developing psychological side effects including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression or insomnia, all of which can lead to poor work performance. In the report, Health Care at the Crossroads: Strategies for Addressing the Evolving Nursing Crisis, the Joint Commission suggests facilities that find bullying and intimidation to be a problem should adopt a zero-tolerance policy to enforce proper behavior in the workplace. The report also calls for the hospital to be held accountable for educational initiatives so all staff members understand what is considered inappropriate behavior (Sounart).

Works Cited

  1. Aiken, Linda. “Health Care at the Crossroads: Strategies for Addressing the Evolving Nursing Crisis.” JointCommission. 23 February 2007. Joint Commission on Accreditation of  Healthcare Organizations. 2 May 2008. ; http://www.jointcommission.org/NR/rdonlyres/5C138711-ED76-4D6F-909F-B06E0309F36D/0/health_care_at_the_crossroads.pdf;.
  2. Bartholomew, Kathleen. “Why Nurses Eat Their Young… A look at nurse-to-nurse hostility and why it occurs.” RealityRN. 4 March 2008. New Nurses Real Conversation. 2 May 2008. http://www.realityrn.com/more-articles/power-authority/why-nurses-eat-their-young%E2%80%A6/542/.
  3. Bevill, Billy. “Nursing: The Power to Make a Difference Campaign.” NC.  1 March 2001. NC Center for Nursing. 2 May 2008. ; http://www.ga.unc.edu/NCCN/recruitmentandretention/youth/resourcescampaign.htm;.
  4. Gordon, Suzanne. “Nursing Against the Odds: How Health Care Cost-Cutting, Media Stereotypes, and Medical Hubris Undermine Nursing and Patient Care.” Nursing Advocacy. 19 July 2005. Cornell University Press. 2 May 2008. ;http://www.nursingadvocacy.org/media/books/nursing_against_odds.html;.
  5. Sounart, Amanda. “Many Nurses Report Abusive Treatment at Work.” Travel Nursing. 2008. AMN Healthcare, Inc. 2 May 2008. ;http://www.travelnursing.com/News.aspx?ArticleID=17746;.

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