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So many hats

 Hannah Andrews 2 Mar 2016

When life is chaotic, it’s important to remember that self-care can take many forms, writes Hannah.

When life is chaotic, it’s important to remember that self-care can take many forms, writes Hannah.

I wear many hats. I’m a wife, daughter and proud mother. I’m also a mental health nurse, a nurse mentor and I have worked in health care for more than 21 years.

I love my job and I’m very proud to support my patients in any way I can, but sometimes the divide between my personal and my professional life is not as clear as I would like it to be and I can feel very stretched.

I know that to be able to provide the very best care to my patients, whenever they need it, I need to look after myself.

So the Royal College of Nursing’s new Healthy Workplace, Healthy You campaign has got me thinking: how do busy nursing staff find time, either at home or at work, to pause and consider their own wellbeing?

The response I often get to this question is: ‘there is no time!’ or ‘there is too much to do!’. I have asked myself the same questions many times.

While it’s true nursing staff are under pressure from long hours, short staffing and rising targets – it’s important to remember that self-care can take many forms.

It might be a simple thing like finding the time to have a cup of tea, going to the loo when you need to, or taking 10 seconds to stop, take stock and breathe.

Self-care can take more complex forms too, like learning to manage your emotions around stress, illness, personal issues or traumatic experiences.

As members of the nursing team we face a huge range of emotions every day – from colleagues we work alongside to the people we care for. So it makes sense that we take time to consider our own wellbeing and understand that ignoring this may have serious consequences.

As nursing staff we pride ourselves on providing the best possible care, and as nursing staff we owe it to ourselves to make changes which allow us to do this by looking after ourselves.

So remember – you are important, you deserve to be cared for and the RCN is there to support you to make that change.

Healthy workplace, healthy you

Our Healthy workplace, healthy you campaign has resources to help you with work-life balance including advice for carers and resources for employers on the benefits of flexible working arrangements.

Page last updated - 05/09/2018