Confronting Stress

Hospital work often requires coping with some of the most stressful situations found in any workplace. On a daily basis, you must deal with life-threatening illnesses and injuries, tight schedules, paperwork, intricate equipment, demanding patients and death. Taking steps to relieve job-related stress is important to protect your mental and physical health as well as to ensure success on the job.

Know When You’re Stressed

Look out for early symptoms of stress and take steps to relieve them quickly. If you let them go unchecked, these symptoms can develop into more serious health complications such as heart problems, depression and anxiety. Be wary of the following stress symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Short temper
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Sore back
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased errors

Combating Stress on the Job

Staying stress-free may not be easy, but it isn’t overly difficult, either.

  • Prioritize. When you begin your shift, decide which are your most important tasks, and begin with those. Concentrate on other tasks only when you have finished.
  • Make sure you are clear about the definition of your role and responsibilities. Ask your supervisor if you have any doubt.
  • Stay organized.
  • If you are troubled by your exposure to death and chronic disease, seek counseling. Talking about it with a nonjudgmental person can be very relieving.

Combating Stress off the Job

A successful health care employee is able to balance his or her work with a personal life.

  • Make time for friends and family, as spending time with those you love will help you unwind.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, eat well and sleep at least eight hours a night.
  • Spend time on outside hobbies, interests or passions. This will help you detach from the work environment and reduce your stress.

Perspective

Reassess your working environment. If the stressors of your current position are too much for you, consider transferring to another department of the facility. Talk to your supervisor to discuss ways  can help you combat stressors in your specific situation.

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