Tools for Healthcare Workers to Manage Physical and Mental Health

By using the right tools, healthcare workers are well-equipped to stay healthy

Today’s healthcare workers face unprecedented physical and mental health challenges. They must account for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and ensure they are administering care per proper health and safety protocols. In addition, many healthcare workers are forced to deal with bed shortages and limited access to critical supplies. At the same time, they are coping with patients who may be politically charged, leading to tense and stressful interactions. Healthcare personnel are also prone to working long hours, which can result in exhaustion and burnout.

Healthcare workers should not expect the aforementioned challenges to disappear on their own. If left unaddressed, these issues can have far-flung effects on these workers’ physical and mental wellbeing. Fortunately, tools are available to help healthcare workers take care of their health. By utilizing these tools, healthcare personnel can establish and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Now, let’s look at three tools that can help healthcare workers manage their physical and mental health.

1. Education

In a recent survey of 1,119 healthcare workers, 93% said they experience stress. Although stress is normal, it can become too much to handle at times. And those who cannot manage their stress levels may experience myriad physical and mental health problems.

 Stress can cause body aches and pains, headaches, high blood pressure, and other physical symptoms. Meanwhile, it can contribute to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

 Ultimately, stress management is paramount. Thanks to stress management training, healthcare workers can learn safe and effective ways to manage their stress levels.

 Healthcare workers can access online stress management training tools. Furthermore, they can enroll in web-based stress management training courses. These tutorials can teach healthcare workers how to identify stressors and minimize their impact.

2. Technology

Stress management technology is expanding. Healthcare workers can leverage this technology to reduce on-the-job stress. Plus, the technology can help healthcare personnel become more productive and efficient.

 For instance, many healthcare providers are implementing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Healthcare workers can use these technologies to eliminate repetitive tasks and the stress associated with them.

 Expect stress management technology to continue to evolve. The technology will keep getting better, and healthcare providers may become increasingly inclined to implement it. As a result, healthcare workers can leverage state-of-the-art stress management technologies to assist in the long game of physical and mental health.

 Let’s not forget about the use of fitness trackers in healthcare, either. Healthcare personnel can wear a fitness tracker to monitor their pulse and other health metrics. They can gain insights into their sleep patterns and other factors that can impact their physical and mental health. Then, healthcare personnel can use these insights to determine the best ways to manage their physical and mental wellbeing.

3. Lifestyle Changes

Healthcare workers can make lifestyle changes to enhance their physical and mental health and increase their energy for their days. For instance, healthcare personnel can choose nutrient-rich foods over fatty ones. By establishing a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and other healthy foods, healthcare workers can guard against obesity and related physical and mental health issues.

 Moreover, healthcare workers can incorporate exercise into their daily routine. They can go for walks, practice yoga, or perform other activities to stay active. These activities can help healthcare workers remain physically and mentally fit.

 Healthcare providers can help their workers establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle, too. For instance, they can offer free gym memberships and other incentives to encourage healthcare workers to take care of their health. Healthcare providers can also provide their workers with sufficient time off, so these employees have plenty of time to break away from the hustle and bustle of their jobs.

 Lastly, healthcare providers must do everything in their power to support their personnel. They should encourage healthcare workers to come forward to discuss any physical or mental health issues. In doing so, healthcare providers can ensure their workers get the support they need at all times. They can even partner with other healthcare providersto verify all healthcare personnel can get the help they need to optimize their physical and mental health.

Healthcare Workers Must Prioritize Their Physical and Mental Health

The aforementioned tools can help healthcare workers manage their physical and mental health. However, it is important to note that they do not offer a one-size-fits-all solution for all physical and mental health problems.

 Physical and mental health problems can affect any healthcare worker, at any time. Many healthcare workers try to “tough it out” in the hopes that their physical and mental health issues will eventually subside. But the longer these problems linger, the worse they can become. The issues can reach a point where they impact a healthcare worker both on the job and outside of it.

 Healthcare workers should not let physical and mental health issues develop and persist. At the first sign of physical or mental health problems, healthcare workers should consult with a doctor. From here, they can identify the root cause of any health issues and take appropriate steps to manage them.

      Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, activism-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter. 


Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

5 Ways to Prioritize Your Mental Health

Healthcare is rife with people who care for others, but often neglect themselves. Try these five ways to better prioritize your mental health.

Oftentimes, those who work in healthcare, spending their days caring for others, do not extend the same level of care to themselves. Maybe it’s because you’re too tired to do so at the end of the day, or perhaps, you just plain don’t know how to practice good self care. Whatever the reason, you really should take better care of yourself—particularly, your mental health.

In an industry rife with a burnout problem, on the heels of the most devastating health crisis in modern history, during Mental Health Awareness Month, if you have not been making your mental health a priority, now is certainly a good time to start.

Try these five ways to better prioritize your mental health starting now.

Start Saying No

Many who go into healthcare do so because they are drawn to serving others, they want to help. Boundaries, however, are important to set for the sake of your mental health. The word “no” (and learning to use it) has power, and it can positively impact your mental health to say no to things you do not want to or cannot do, be it because they would overwhelm you, disinterest you, or for any other reason. Saying no is not selfish, does not need to be justified, and it is something you should do regularly as part of having healthy boundaries.

Take Breaks

In the same vein as saying no, you should take time for yourself more often. Just because you can do something, or have the time in your schedule, that does not mean you need to. Slow down, rest, relax, and recharge—whatever that looks like for you, be it actually taking a lunch break or taking an entire vacation. Listen to your body and mind and give it what it needs. Everything else can wait.

Stay Active

Studies show that regular exercise can have a positive impact on depression and anxiety, and can also relieve stress, improve memory, help you sleep better, and boost your overall mood. Though you may not have time for a trip to the gym seven days a week, make time to move for at least ten to fifteen minutes every day. Take a short walk, jog with your dog, go for a swim, practice some yoga—anything that gets your heart rate up and causes you to breathe a little heavier than normal counts.

Get Some Sleep

Without good sleep, our mental health can suffer. However, mental health disorders may make it harder to sleep, causing even greater problems. Some helpful ways to get meaningful rest might include hanging blackout curtains, wearing an eye mask, taking melatonin before bed, or setting your thermostat to 65 degrees Fahrenheit for the most comfortable sleep, according to the Sleep Foundation.

Talk to Someone

Sometimes, the best way to care for yourself is to ask others for help. If you are struggling, please know you are not alone. You are just a call or text away from reaching professionals who can help you to process what you are experiencing. If you need support, reach out to them at:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline: Call 1-800-662-HELP
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK
  • The Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Our Nation’s Healthcare Workers Are Not Okay

According to the results of our recent survey on mental health, simply put, our nation’s healthcare workers are not okay. See the responses here.

Ten months ago, as COVID-19 raged through our nation, we surveyed healthcare professionals on the state of their mental health, and the responses we received painted a stark picture of what they were being asked to endure as “healthcare’s heroes”.

Now, more than a year after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March of 2020, we’ve again asked healthcare professionals about their mental state, and the results are grim, to say the least.

Despite COVID-19 vaccinations ramping up across the country, and cases of the virus continuing to trend downward, according to the responses shared with us, our nation’s healthcare workers are, simply put, not okay.

The survey, which saw responses from registered nurses, advanced practitioners, respiratory therapists, and more, asked healthcare professionals to rate their current mental health, as well as their mental health prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. On average, prior to the pandemic, respondents ranked their mental health as an 8.23 out of 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent. 4.06 out of 10 is how the same respondents ranked their current mental health a year into the pandemic, down from an average of 5.44 out of 10 when we posed the same question in May of 2020.

Respondents also clearly expressed just how much they feel the pandemic has worsened their mental health (9/10) and, though vaccinations provide a promising outlook for a return to some semblance of normalcy, when asked how much they feel the approval and administration of COVID-19 vaccines has improved their mental health, the average response was a dismal 5.69 out of 10.

The average results were as follows, including selected quotes from respondents.

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how would you rate your mental health prior to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Average Answer: 8.21/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how would you rate your current mental health?
Average Answer: 4.06/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very low and 10 being very high, how would you rate your level of work-related stress prior to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Average Answer: 6.03/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very low and 10 being very high, how would you rate your current level of work-related stress?
Average Answer: 8.09/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how well do you believe you are coping with your work-related stress?
Average Answer: 4.81/10

Most Commonly Used Coping Mechanisms:
1. Talking to Family/Friends
2. Humor
3. Physical Activity
4. Tie: Prescription Medication & Other
5. Avoidance
6. Yoga/Meditation
7. Alcohol
8. Therapy
9. Recreational Drugs

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how much do you feel your job negatively impacts your mental health?
Average Answer: 7.59/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how much do you feel the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened your mental health?
Average Answer: 9.00/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how important do you feel your mental health is to your employer?
Average Answer: 4.81/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being not very often and 10 being very often, how often have you considered quitting your job in the past year?
Average Answer: 7.06/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how much do you feel the approval and administration of COVID-19 vaccines has improved your mental health?
Average Answer: 5.69/10

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

“I’m really sick of all this. Management has the expectation that we keep giving and giving with no end in sight.”

“Nurses and other healthcare workers should be acknowledged with better pay and benefits (especially mental health). It will be interesting to see how many workers are diagnosed with PTSD in the coming months and years.”

“I actually did step out of the nursing field for now due to the impact on my mental health and am seeking professional help/intervention.”

“I think overall the entire pandemic situation has been terribly managed on both a federal and corporate levels. I would go in to more detail but I can already feel my blood pressure going up! But thanks for asking!”

“The lack of support from management, working short staffed every day, wearing PPE that is not for medical use, the lack of transparency, the overall mental health of patients, increase in meth, alcohol, and heroin use, the constant mental abuse from patients has made me consider selling my house, changing my lifestyle, and getting rid of my car so I can leave my career behind before it takes every last bit of my sanity and potentially my life.”

“Half of our staff has left to do travel nursing for 3X what they were making. These are seasoned nurses with years of experience. These nurses are not being replaced, we have 3 travelers to replace the 22 that have left since December. We are working extremely, dangerously short staffed with nurses who have NO ICU experience & management does not offer a plan. I know more will be leaving.”

“Each time I hear the government tell people not to wear masks I get stressed worrying about more deaths from COVID. The public trying to promote COVID as a government conspiracy. Most of the people who are recovering from COVID do not return to the normal life they had before COVID. ”

“I DID quit. I retired a year earlier than I had planned just to get away from the stress. I have been doing temporary gig work and LOVE it. Get to do the job and go home.”

“I feel management and the organization is doing very little to help the bedside nurse feel better during this pandemic. They are almost trying to make things worse.”

“If I were home all the time and not working with the kids and other staff, I would be much worse.”

Prior to the pandemic, multiple occupations within the field were already considered high stress and the suicide risk was identified as being higher among nurses than any other profession, making the findings especially alarming. With experts predicting an escalating mental health crisis for Americans as a whole, it is especially important for healthcare professionals to be aware of their mental health, and to seek help as needed.

If you are struggling with your mental health, we urge you to ask for help. You are just a call or text away from reaching professionals who can assist you in processing what you are experiencing. Reach out to them, if you need support at:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • The Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Survey: A Year into the Pandemic, How Is Your Mental Health?

One year after being declared a pandemic, COVID-19 is still here. As someone who works in healthcare, how is your mental health now? Tell us here.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Since that time, more than 28 million Americans have contracted the virus, with over 500,000 of them, sadly, succumbing to it, and healthcare’s heroes, as you have often been called, have seen it all.

And we see you.

Working in healthcare can be incredibly draining—mentally, physically, and emotionally. Especially when you take into account the fact that many positions within the field are considered high-stress occupations, and that the suicide risk among nurses is higher than any other profession. Add in a full year of an unprecedented pandemic, and that can be a lot for anyone to handle, hero or otherwise.

So, a year on, we wanted to check in on you, gather your thoughts, share them with your peers. How is your mental health? How are you coping, or not coping, right now? Have you considered leaving your job? Did the approval of multiple COVID-19 vaccines help your mental health?

Tell us in the survey below, and then be sure to read our tips on how to care for yourself while treating COVID-19 patients by clicking here.

Name:*
Email Address:*
Title:*
Specialty:*
Are you working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in any capacity?*
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how would you rate your mental health prior to the COVID-19 pandemic?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how would you rate your current mental health?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very low and 10 being very high, how would you rate your level of work-related stress prior to the COVID-19 pandemic?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very low and 10 being very high, how would you rate your current level of work-related stress?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how well do you believe you are coping with your work-related stress?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
What coping mechanisms are you currently relying on to help you deal with work-related stress?*
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how much do you feel your job negatively impacts your mental health?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how much do you feel the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened your mental health?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how important do you feel your mental health is to your employer?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being not very often and 10 being very often, how often have you considered quitting your job in the past year?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how much do you feel the approval and administration of COVID-19 vaccines has improved your mental health?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

By submitting this form, you are giving your permission to HealthJobsNationwide.com to republish any responses included on this form in future content that may be used on our website or social media accounts.

Verify You're a Human:

If you are struggling with your mental health, we urge you to ask for help. You are just a call or text away from reaching professionals who can assist you in processing what you are experiencing. Reach out to them, if you need support at:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • The Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Mental Health of Healthcare Workers Has Tanked Amid Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is clearly taking a toll on the mental health of our nation’s healthcare workers, according to the findings of our recent survey.

The COVID-19 pandemic is clearly taking a toll on the mental health of our nation’s healthcare workers, according to the findings of our survey on mental health on the frontlines.

The results, which appear to echo findings regarding the mental health of medical personnel on China’s frontlines, show a sharp decline in perceived mental health, as well as a sizable uptick in perceived work-related stress, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey, which saw responses from physicians, registered nurses, advanced practitioners, respiratory therapists, and more, asked healthcare professionals on the frontlines to rate their current mental health, as well as their mental health prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. On average, prior to the pandemic, respondents ranked their mental health as a 7.88 out of 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent. 5.44 out of 10 is how the same respondents rank their current mental health.

Respondents also expressed a negative view of their employers, with the average response mostly unfavorable (4.42/10) when asked how important they feel their mental health is to their employers.

The results were as follows, including select quotes from respondents.

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how would you rate your mental health prior to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Average Answer: 7.88/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how would you rate your current mental health?
Average Answer: 5.44/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very low and 10 being very high, how would you rate your level of work-related stress prior to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Average Answer: 6.08/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very low and 10 being very high, how would you rate your current level of work-related stress?
Average Answer: 8.15/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how well do you believe you are coping with your work-related stress?
Average Answer: 6.17/10

Most Commonly Used Coping Mechanisms:
1. Physical Activity
2. Humor
2. Talking to Family/Friends
3. Avoidance
4. Prescription Medication
5. Other
6. Yoga/Meditation
7. Alcohol
8. Therapy
9. Recreational Drugs

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how much do you feel your job negatively impacts your mental health?
Average Answer: 7.6/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how much do you feel the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened your mental health?
Average Answer: 7.4/10

On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how important do you feel your mental health is to your employer?
Average Answer: 4.42/10

Is there anything else you would like to tell us regarding mental health and frontline medical workers?

“We need help. We aren’t getting it. I feel hopeless and like death is around every corner.”

“It is very stressful and depressing to work for months wearing masks, gowns and gloves and still try to deliver compassionate, effective, efficient, and personable care. No one cares about the staff’s mental health at all.”

“It’s fear of the unknown. There’s so much we don’t know about this virus—that’s frightening at times.”

“As a parent of three children dealing with the stress of bringing home COVID to my family and having no time to myself, having to do home schooling on my days off, has definitely made it exhausting and extremely high stress.”

“Essential or sacrificial?”

“You must to take care of yourself first in order to take care of anyone else, which includes your mental health. I really never understood this until the pandemic started to take its toll.”

“We mostly hear about doctors and nurses in the hospital, but therapists/dietitians/CNAs/dietary/housekeeping are also hit hard, ESPECIALLY in nursing homes because these residents are like family. Watching dozens of your “family members” die in a month is traumatizing. The first few you sob and sob, then you become numb to it, because it’s all you can do to keep going. If you cry over every death, there’ll be nothing left of you. But we don’t get the support we need to keep going. We’re treated like machines, expected to keep going, spend more and more hours and work to make sure we’re ready for a state infection control survey. We’re tired. I’m tired. I can’t handle a second wave.”

Prior to the pandemic, multiple occupations within the field were already considered high stress and the suicide risk was identified as being higher among nurses than any other profession, making the findings especially alarming. With experts predicting an escalating mental health crisis for Americans as a whole, it is especially important for healthcare professionals to be aware of their mental health, and to seek help as needed.

If you are struggling with your mental health, we urge you to ask for help. You are just a call or text away from reaching professionals who can assist you in processing what you are experiencing. Reach out to them, if you need support at:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • The Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Survey: Mental Health on the Front Lines

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, as well as the fifth straight month those on the frontlines have been treating COVID-19. How are you doing? Tell us here.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

May is also the fifth straight month frontline medical workers have been tasked with treating patients who are battling COVID-19 in the United States, losing more than 90,000 of them along the way. That certainly takes a toll, and it appears to be causing, at least in part, some of those on the front lines to take their own lives, as well.

Two medical workers in one of the nation’s hardest hit areas, New York, died by suicide in the last month—Dr. Lorna Breen, the medical director of the emergency department at NewYork-Presbyterian Allen Hospital, and John Mondello, an emergency medical technician.

Working in healthcare can be incredibly draining—mentally, physically, and emotionally—with multiple occupations within the field being considered high stress and the suicide risk higher among nurses than any other profession. Add in a pandemic and it is more than understandable to be feeling less than your best, even if you are not working in a COVID unit.

So, how are you feeling? How is your mental health? How are you coping, or not coping, right now? We want to know.

Tell us in the survey below, and then be sure to read our tips on how to care for yourself while treating COVID-19 patients by clicking here.

Name:*
Email Address:*
Title:*
Specialty:*
Are you working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in any capacity?*
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how would you rate your mental health prior to the COVID-19 pandemic?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how would you rate your current mental health?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very low and 10 being very high, how would you rate your level of work-related stress prior to the COVID-19 pandemic?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very low and 10 being very high, how would you rate your current level of work-related stress?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent, how well do you believe you are coping with your work-related stress?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
What coping mechanisms are you currently relying on to help you deal with work-related stress?*
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how much do you feel your job negatively impacts your mental health?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how much do you feel the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened your mental health?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being very little and 10 being very much, how important do you feel your mental health is to your employer?*
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Is there anything else you would like to tell us regarding mental health and frontline medical workers?

By submitting this form, you are giving your permission to HealthJobsNationwide.com to republish any responses included on this form in future content that may be used on our website or social media accounts.

Verify You're a Human:

If you are struggling with your mental health, we urge you to ask for help. You are just a call or text away from reaching professionals who can assist you in processing what you are experiencing. Reach out to them, if you need support at:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Disaster Distress Hotline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
  • The Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Is The Nurse’s Glass Half Full?

Can the power of positivity really help nurses, when there is still so much wrong in both the world of nursing and healthcare as a whole?

From Nurse Keith’s Digital Doorway

It’s no secret that there’s a multitude of unhappy nurses out there in the world. From mandatory overtime to unhealthy nurse-patient ratios, I admit there are very valid reasons for this seeming epidemic of discontent. So, is the nursing glass half-full or half-empty? I guess it depends on who you’re drinking with (and perhaps what you’re drinking).

Reasons To Be Cheerful—Or Not

This blog post isn’t really about the aforementioned multitude of reasons that explain nurses’ rampant unhappiness. A new study mentioned recently on Twitter states that a full one-third of nurses are unhappy with either their jobs or their careers. I get it.

There are also nurses who say, “I love my work, but I hate my job“. I get that too.

Sadly, it’s a given that too many nurses work in environments that are unhealthy, unsupportive, demanding and back-breaking, and that’s indeed a sad state of affairs.

It’s Who You Talk To

Taking into consideration the relative level of discontent in the nursing profession, your worldview can be significantly influenced by who you talk to and who you spend time with. The tenor of the conversation amongst your nursing colleagues will, of course, influence your perspective, so think about who your conversational partners are—and who they could be.

If your Thursday morning coffee klatch is regularly attended by jaded nurses who spend the hour railing against the hospital and gossiping about doctors and interns (and one another), there’s a definite downside to the time you spend at that particular table.

And if your idea of a good time is focusing on what’s wrong rather than what’s right (or how to fix what’s wrong), then there are plenty of nurses who’ll eagerly buy you another round in order to keep you waxing negative, thus justifying and solidifying their own negative bias.

Bartender, another round of ‘Negatinis‘, please.

Let’s Be Realistic

Like I said towards the beginning of this post, I get it. There’s a lot that’s wrong with the picture in both nursing and the wider world of healthcare. That’s a given. At the same time, there are nurses, doctors, administrators and theorists who really want to make it right. Fighting the good fight to make things better is a noble cause, and many are called to engage in that particular battle. Kudos to them.

Simultaneously, there are nurses who, tired of the mainstream game, have dipped their toes into entrepreneurship, carving out satisfying careers that defy the very notion of what it even means to be a nurse. Kudos to them, too.

Meanwhile, some nurses are creating new opportunities for themselves within the mainstream healthcare system, leveraging their skills as coaches, consultants, IT gurus and all manner of novel yet robust professional roles. Kudos all around.

There’s a place for everyone at the table. In fact, you can even build your own table if the current ones don’t quite match your vision of what your career could be.

Nurse’s Choice

So, you can talk to the jaded, cynical and burnt out nurses who just want to see the glass as perpetually half empty, or you can interact with the nurses who are the positive role models and forward thinkers of the profession who definitely view the glass as perpetually half full.

It’s tiring to hang out with the jaded and cynical complainers, but it can be energizing (and fun!) to hang out with the optimistic nurses who are actively making their careers the best that they can be.

Who are you talking to and spending time with? Are you drinking the bitter and cynical dregs of nursing station coffee? Are you pounding down “Negatinis” with unhappy abandon? Or are you drinking from the cup of optimism, sharing with your colleagues a vision of what’s possible, even as you acknowledge the stark realities of 21st-century healthcare?

The choice is yours, my friends, and I invite you to my table, where we serve Positive Punch and Optimism Smoothies.

Thirsty?


Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known nursing blog, Digital Doorway. Please visit his online platforms and reach out for his support when you need it most.

Keith is the host of The Nurse Keith Show, his solo podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast.

A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century and Aspire to be Inspired: Creating a Nursing Career That Matters. He has contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession. Keith has written for Nurse.com, Nurse.org, MultiBriefs News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline, StaffGarden, AUSMed, American Sentinel University, Black Doctor, Diabetes Lifestyle, the ANA blog, NursingCE.com, American Nurse Today, Working Nurse Magazine, and other online and print publications.

Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, keynote speaker, online nurse personality, social media influencer, podcaster, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives, and his adorable and remarkably intelligent cat, George.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Suicide Risk Among Nurses Higher than Non-Nurses

Nurses are at a higher risk of suicide than the general population according to the findings of the first national investigation into nurse suicide in over twenty years.

Nurses are at a higher risk of suicide than the general population according to the findings of the first national investigation into nurse suicide in more than two decades.

The study, which was published in Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, found that suicide incidence was 11.97 per 100,000 female nurses and even higher among male nurses, with suicide claiming 39.8 per 100,000. Both figures are significantly higher than that of the general population, which is 7.58 per 100,000 women and 28.2 per 100,000 men. Overall, the suicide rate was 13.9 per 100,000 nurses versus 17.7 per 100,000 for the general population.

In all, over 400 nurses per year die by suicide, and according to the study, nurse anesthetists and retired nurses were at the highest risk.

“We are overworked and stressed, and on the edge of the breaking point at any given moment,” said Ariel Begun, BSN, RN, who was willing to speak with us regarding the alarming rate of nurse suicides. “In the last 10 years I have seen the expectations of nurses increase and the staffing and quality of supplies decrease. Nurses have been told they need to do more with less for years and it keeps getting worse.”

When asked how the healthcare industry and its employers can better support the mental health of nurses, Begun had a lot to offer.

“First, fix the systemic problems in healthcare. Starting with patient to nurse ratios being lowered, and increased staffing for support of the department and to ensure someone is available to help in emergencies. We should not consider barebones staffing to be the norm. We also need to provide better resources for nurses to care for patients without having to use the cheapest thing on the market. Additionally, we need better hours and shift options. We should not need to work to the point of jet lag mental conditions, where our basic thought capacity is diminished to the point where we have trouble remembering to care for ourselves.

“Guilt is also a driving factor for nurses. We don’t call out when we are sick because we know the department will be hurt by us not being there. We don’t get decent breaks and we work to the point of dehydration and kidney failure potential. Toss in Neurogenic Nurse Bladder, a condition that develops because of the nurse’s lack of bathroom break time. Can’t pee, I might miss a call from the doc, or my patient might code while I am away.

“In regards to mental health specifically, it would be nice to have group support sessions where nurses can get together and talk about the issues they have. Resources for home-work balance need to be available, too. I always thought that a group yoga session would be a nice thing to have as a way to get your day started in a healthy manner. The first lesson I learned in nursing school was, now is not the time to try to quit any vices you have, in fact you might as well double down on them, because they are going to be what helps you get through your day. Nurses are taught to do the things that we then need to teach our patients not to do. Nurses are not taught coping strategies for how to handle their stress. They are only taught that it is a thing and you can’t escape it.”

If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or others, we encourage you to seek help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or by texting 741741 to have a conversation with a trained crisis counselor via the Crisis Text Line.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

Physicians and Suicidality: Identifying Risks and How to Help

Despite often being known as the healers, those who aim to save lives, it is estimated that as many as 400 physicians die by suicide in the U.S. each year.

Our physicians are unwell. Despite often being known as the healers, those who aim to save lives, it is estimated that as many as 400 physicians die by suicide in the U.S. each year. The profession has the highest suicide rate of any job, and one that is reportedly 1.4 to 2.3 times higher than the suicide rate of the general population—a rate that is, itself, up 33% since 1999.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that physicians are less likely to seek help due to several barriers, including time constraints, not wanting to draw attention to self-perceived weakness, and fears regarding their reputation and confidentiality.

Knowing the risks and warning signs associated with suicide can help physicians identify colleagues who may need help, but are not asking for it.

A recent systemic review found that physicians whose career is in transition, such as having recently completed medical school or residency, or those who are approaching retirement, are often the most vulnerable, and that anesthesiologists and psychiatrists are at a higher risk of attempting suicide. Other identified factors of risk include being female, identifying as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, or those who have a prior history of mental illness or substance abuse.

Warning signs to look for include:

If a person talks about:

  • Killing themselves
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Having no reason to live
  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Unbearable pain

Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss, or change:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression
  • Fatigue

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of interest
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation/Shame
  • Agitation/Anger
  • Relief/Sudden Improvement

Suicide is preventable. Help is possible. We encourage any physician that may be struggling with their mental health to seek help.

If you are in crisis, or want to speak to someone regarding a colleague who may be exhibiting signs of suicidality, we urge you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.

How Healthcare Professionals Can Make a Change When You’re on the Road to Career Burnout

by Julie Morris

Everyone has their own reasons for entering healthcare, but one common purpose we all share is the desire to help others. The problem is that in doing so, we sometimes put our own needs last, which can lead to career burnout. However, even when you’re busy, there are simple ways you can turn the tables and feel more satisfied in your career and life in general.

Are You Ready for a Change?

 Maybe you started your career filled with excitement, but you no longer have that job satisfaction. Maybe you’re bored at work or mentally exhausted. If the stress of work is taking a toll on you, you may want to look into a career that will be more fulfilling. There are lots of options for people who enjoy caring for others, like becoming a social worker, counselor, teacher, or a speech pathologist. Switching careers may be easier than you think. For example, many speech pathologists get their degrees from a fully accredited online program.

Are You Overcommitted?

 Sometimes, burnout happens because we don’t have a healthy work-life balance. If you work long hours and then commit to doing too much outside of work, you probably wonder where all your time goes. Being able to say “no” on occasion is necessary to stop overcommitment. This may mean saying no to extra hours at work or saying “no” to requests from friends and family. Saying no can help you prioritize what’s most important at work, and it leaves you with the time you need for yourself at home.

Are You Managing Stress?

Some stress in life is unavoidable, which is why we all need tools for managing it. If stress and anxiety are a problem, you may want to explore the benefits of CBD oil. According to Collective Evolution, research has shown that CBD oil can give you relief from stress, anxiety, and mood disorders like depression. It also helps you sleep better and can help your body better regulate itself overall. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before taking any new supplements. If you’re new to CBD, you may want to try CBD-infused gummies. Gummies make the delivery process simple, so they’re ideal for anyone who is trying it for the first time.

While supplements like CBD can help reduce stress on an ongoing basis, you also need tools that you can use right when stress starts to feel overwhelming. Many healthcare workers benefit from learning controlled breathing techniques to relieve acute anxiety. American Nurse Today recommends using a meditation app on your phone to make this even easier.

Are You Caring for Yourself?

When you stay busy with work, it’s easy to slip into a routine where your own health isn’t your top priority. As simple as it may sound, basic self-care like eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising plays a major role in your stress and overall happiness. You may just need some creative ways to make self-care easier. If you’re always on the go, plan some healthy meals you can bring to work. Or, maybe you can grab a few co-workers and take lunchtime walks. The key is to decide that your own health has to come first and commit to squeezing healthy habits into your busy schedule.

Caring for yourself also means making time for fun. We all need a getaway from time to time, but don’t wait until vacation to do things you enjoy. Schedule coffee with a friend, or have a date night with your partner. Even just goofing off with co-workers will relieve tension.

Everyone seems to talk about work-life balance these days, but in the healthcare profession, this isn’t just a nice idea — it’s essential to avoiding burnout. Some people don’t even realize they’re on the road to burnout until they stop to think about it. Asking yourself these questions, and answering them honestly, is the first step toward making a change for the better.

Image by Pixabay


Julie Morris is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health is a life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling) career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had become her prison.

Today, she is fulfilled by helping busy professionals like her past self get the clarity they need in order to live inspired lives that fill more than just their bank accounts. When Julie isn’t working with clients, she enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book.

Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.