Your web browser is outdated and may be insecure

The RCN recommends using an updated browser such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome

Looking after yourselves while you care for others

Teresa Budrey 5 Feb 2021 Eastern

There is no doubt that the last few months have been among the most challenging times that health services have ever seen. 

You will have experienced pressures that have rivalled even those seen at the start of the pandemic almost a year ago. Yet I know from my conversations with your nursing leaders that nursing staff have risen admirably to the challenge, working harder than ever before to help your patients, often in new teams and even when you are caring for more patients than would normally be expected of you.

While you put so much into caring for others, we want you to consider yourselves. As we emerge from this difficult time there is much focus on the wellbeing of staff and we believe that there needs to be a period of rest before you are back into catching up with services which have been put on hold to tackle the pandemic. Right now, amid this busy period, we urge you to do what you can to protect both your physical and mental wellbeing. Check out our mindfulness resources here.

Taking regular breaks during your shift is important, especially during long shifts. Where staff are working long hours, employers should be providing you with appropriate facilities such as rest areas, accommodation and access to food and drink to enable you to provide safe and effective services. Infection control is important in patient-facing areas and while you take your breaks, travel to from work and when at work with colleagues. These are all times for you to take care of yourself by making sure you are following infection control guidance, including social distancing, wherever you are during work hours.

The RCN website includes a wide range of advice which will help you during this time and I urge you to check out our FAQs for more information about what you should expect in terms of length of shifts and days off. If you believe your employer isn’t following the guidance, you should speak to your manger in the first instance. For further support, call RCN Direct on 0345 7726 100 or check out the website for other ways to get in touch.

Some of your learning has been changed during the pandemic and the ways we connect virtually have grown. Your RCN branches are continuing to hold events online which we hope means more of you will be able to take part. Please look out for information about these in your emails and on our events page. We also hope you’ll be able to join us at one of our region-wide campaign events. These are a good opportunity for you to tell us what is happening for you at the moment, the pressures you are facing and how you think we should be campaigning on the issues that matter to you, such as your pay and staffing. We’ve really appreciated the involvement of all the members who have taken part so far. We hope to speak to even more of you soon.

Photo of Teresa Budrey,  Regional Director, Eastern Region

Teresa Budrey

Regional Director, Eastern region

Teresa joined the RCN in 2003 as an officer in the Eastern region, following 20 years working in NHS learning disabilities nursing services. Teresa went on to become a senior officer in the RCN’s South East office before returning to the Eastern office in 2016 as operational manager.  She was appointed as Eastern Regional Director in February 2017.

Page last updated - 05/02/2021