Known as compassion fatigue, the emotional and mental exhaustion from taking care of others is especially prevalent in the nursing community. Those who work in emergency rooms, pediatrics, and hospice care are arguably the most susceptible. Whether your status as a pediatric nurse is relatively new or you have years of experience, help yourself stay clear-headed and focused by knowing how to manage emotional exhaustion.
How to Manage Compassion Fatigue as a Pediatric Nurse
1. Learn About the Symptoms
Familiarize yourself with the signs of compassion fatigue so you can stay mindful of your symptoms and prevent burnout. Typical signs include the inability to fall or stay asleep, feelings of restlessness and anxiety, thinking about your patients or work tasks constantly instead of what you need to do at home, and using alcohol, tobacco, and assorted drugs as coping mechanisms.
2. Stay Diligent About Your Physical Health
Maintain your physical health, as emotional exhaustion comes on much quicker when you are already tired, malnourished, and dehydrated. Irritation and problems concentrating also become more frequent when you ignore your physical health. It is perfectly acceptable to put yourself first so you can take the best care of your patients — aim for seven to eight hours of sleep a night in addition to making healthy food choices and drinking at least a gallon of water every day. Find exercises you love to further beat stress and promote restful sleep.
3. Take Breaks
Designate a place at your job where you can take quick mental breaks. A quiet outdoor area or even a low-traffic stairwell are among the spaces you can use to take a few minutes for yourself before you return to pediatric nurse duties. If it helps, use the time to watch funny videos on your phone or read for a few minutes. Another idea is to use the time to speak with a trusted friend or mentor, as “venting” always helps release stress.
4. Practice Deep Breathing & Meditation
Start practicing deep breathing and consider meditation to clear and calm your mind. Breathe from your diaphragm to gain the most benefits and try to practice for at least 10 minutes a day to stabilize your blood pressure, lower your heart rate, and simply feel good. Consider starting a deep breathing group with your fellow pediatric nurses so you all do better each day.
Whether you are looking for your first job as a pediatric nurse or wish to switch hospitals, the rewarding career you desire is at J&D Ultracare in Suffern, NY. Serving The Bronx, Hudson Valley, White Plains, and Westchester, Monroe, and Orange counties, the home health care and nursing staff agency specializes in pediatric home care. Call (845) 357-4500 today for more about pediatric nurse careers. Like the Facebook page for additional tips regarding physical, emotional, and mental health.