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Looking after ourselves

This section suggests ways to promote your own wellbeing. Self-care is vital for all health professionals and carers. Supporting others is a privilege and a pleasure but it is also a responsibility, and it can be physically and emotionally challenging.

At work: Healthy workplace

  • The RCN has a range of resources to support you in your professional and clinical practice, from campaigning for safe staffing to addressing bullying, harassment and stress.
  • Take your breaks. Your break is a necessity not a luxury. An RCN survey found that nearly 60% of respondents did not get a sufficient break on their last shift. Please take your breaks and encourage others to do the same.
  • This case study shows Alex Scott using the healthy workplace toolkit to transform what had previously been a poor workplace culture, there’s one for agency working too.
  • If you are an RCN member and studying you can get help through the RCN but also through your institution, the students union there and via Student Minds (who offer support to you, on behalf of friends and for parents).
  • The Laura Hyde Foundation is committed to providing all medical and emergency services with bespoke and relevant mental health support, see: What we do.

At home: Healthy you

As nursing staff we can get used to putting other people first, but we all need to balance that with protecting our own health. The RCN publication Working towards a healthy you is one of a range of resources to support you to balance the challenges of your work with being happy at home and being able to deliver safe and compassionate care at work.

Time and space

These six mindfulness-based videos made for nursing staff each cover a different stage of the day, from starting your day to arriving home and provides practical techniques to help you to recognise and process the everyday emotional labour of nursing. See: Time and space. Mindfulness based videos for nursing staff

The RCN's Healthy you self-assessment worksheet will help you to assess your current level of self-care, and if you are concerned please let someone you trust know and consult your GP. You can also set up an appointment with the RCN’s counselling service if you are a member.