As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time to start turning your attention to 2020. It’s not only the end of the year but also the end of the decade, the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button. Nursing can be a tough line of work. You’re constantly on the go, working long hours, and dealing with all kinds of stressful situations. If you’re having trouble keeping up with the demands of the job, setting the right New Year’s resolutions can help you reach your goals at work and in your personal life. Keep these resolutions in mind as we get closer to 2020.
Making Time for Self-Care
According to a recent study published in Nursing Research and Practice, around 92% of registered nurses experience moderate to high levels of stress at work. This can lead to excess drinking, substance abuse, poor diet, less exercise, and less sleep. Working as a nurse can have an effect on your overall health and mood.
- 78% of respondents got less than eight hours of sleep each night.
- 69% of respondents reported no regular exercise.
- 22% of respondents were considered binge drinkers.
- 70% of respondents said they “sometimes” to “every time” eat more junk food than usual to deal with workplace stress.
- 63% said they “sometimes” to “every time” eat more food than usual as a coping mechanism.
If the pressures of the job are wearing you down, start 2020 off on the right foot. Do your best to get eight hours of sleep a night. Turn off the TV and put away your phone to improve the quality of your sleep. Drinking too much alcohol can also reduce the quality of your sleep. While alcohol and junk food may help you feel better in the short-term, it can impair your ability to deal with stress over the long-term. Find other ways to deal with your stress, such as taking a walk, talking to friends and family, or reading a great book.
You should never stop learning as a nurse. Even if you’re one of the most senior members of your team, there’s always more to learn when it comes to healthcare and taking care of patients. As the nature of healthcare continues to evolve, you can further your knowledge by asking the right questions on the floor.
If you would like more information about a certain procedure or condition, don’t be afraid to ask the doctor or one of your colleagues. It’s easy to get complacent as a nurse, especially if you’ve been working at the same facility for years on end. But furthering your knowledge will help you better serve your patients and the rest of your team.
Making Better Use of Your Time
As a nurse, you have plenty of distractions to deal with. Whether it’s one of your colleagues that likes to talk too much, an especially needy patient, or administrative tasks that take too much time out of your day, being a great nurse means making the most of your time.
As we head into 2020, think about how you tend to spend your time on the floor. Try avoiding those colleagues that like to talk your ear off. Be firm with patients if you feel they’re taking up too much of your time. When you’re in the middle of a 12-hour shift, you need to be proactive with your time, so you don’t end up wasting large portions of your day.
Speaking of time management, delegating certain tasks to some of your colleagues can help you get more done with less effort. If you’re just starting out in the field, you may be hesitant to tell some of your colleagues what to do, but delegating is an important part of any profession. If you need help on the floor, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Tell your colleagues what you need, so you don’t have to do everything yourself, especially if some of your teammates have time to spare. Taking care of patients should be a group effort. You can return the favor by helping out your colleagues when needed.
Nursing can be stressful but so can paying off your student loans. According to the annual Student Debt Report from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, around 76% of nurses have undergraduate loans. Even if you feel comfortable in your new role as a nurse, all that debt may linger in the back of your mind as you try to get things done on the floor. Taking control of your finances can help relieve some of your workplace stress. You won’t feel as much pressure to pick up extra shifts to make ends meet, so you can spend more time taking care of yourself and give your body a rest.
Spend your money on things that matter instead of blowing it on drinks at the bar, junk food, and other items that encourage bad habits. Come up with a monthly budget and track how and where you spend your money. Throwing some extra money at your student loans every month will help you pay them off faster, so you don’t get stuck with more interest down the line. Consider talking to a financial analyst or lowering your monthly student loan payment if you can’t afford the full fee. You can also apply for nurse student loan forgiveness programs if you apply.
Nursing doesn’t have to wear you down. Make 2020 your healthiest year yet. You’ll feel better at work, improve your finances, and be the best nurse you can be. Celebrate the New Year by sticking to your resolutions.