Being a nurse is one of the most social jobs possible. Nurse anxiety can stem from fear of harming a patient, not doing enough, or not being as good at your job as your colleagues. It can become debilitating, especially if you already struggle with anxiety outside of the workplace. Anxiety happens to anyone, and it affects millions of people each year. There is no age limit, so whether you’re new to nursing or have been working for years, your symptoms are valid. Shaking hands, heart palpitations and a constant sense of fear and dread distract you from your vital work. This guide will help you find some relief so you can get back to doing what you love.
There are several treatment options for anxiety, but you will first have to speak with your doctor or licensed mental health professional. You can find therapists online who offer virtual counseling, or you can check your insurance network to find one near you. If your coverage isn’t sufficient, you can pay out-of-pocket or look for a therapist who offers a sliding scale of payment.
Therapy helps you address the underlying mental components of your anxiety. This could be high stress levels, insecurity, fear, trauma, and a number of other factors. You learn to recognize, cope with and change your thoughts in a way that works for you. But the physical symptoms can often be some of the most distressing because you feel like you aren’t in control of your own body. Obtaining a prescription for 10 mg propranolol can help your anxiety. Beta-blockers help professionals overcome all the telltale signs of nerves and worry. It’s much easier to stay focused and conquer your thoughts when you aren’t dealing with a pounding heart and shaking hands.
You have to recognize your limits and accept the fact that all you can do is your best. To make that possible, you have to first take care of yourself. This means taking breaks when you can, staying hydrated and learning not to take things so personally. Everyone is dealing with high stress, including your patients. As hard as it can be to let things go, you have to stay focused on what really matters. Self-care also extends to your mental health. Anxiety can arise when you aren’t meeting your own needs. Fear of failure can stem from a lack of appreciation. Unfortunately, nursing is often a thankless profession. You have to make time to value yourself and give yourself the credit you deserve.
Nursing burnout can drain all your energy and make it impossible to recoup between shifts. As a medical professional, your downtime is invaluable. It gives you precious hours to connect with loved ones, pursue hobbies and build a meaningful life outside of work. It’s okay to turn down extra hours, and you shouldn’t push yourself to take on more than you can really handle. No one benefits from a burnout nurse, not your patients and definitely not you.
In most hospital settings, new nurses are able to join a mentor program. This helps them adjust to the work environment more easily by having a veteran to turn to. Whenever they’re overwhelmed, too stressed or experience bullying, they can look to their mentor. Sometimes, just talking to the more experienced nurses on staff can be helpful. You can also look for nurse support groups online to connect with others. This can help you feel less alone and get advice from an experienced RN. Although mentors and support groups are amazing resources, they are not substitutes for therapists. It’s important to recognize when your symptoms are no longer manageable. This is the only way you can seek treatment and find the right therapy for you.
There is no right or wrong way to ask for help. You may tell your partner that you’re struggling and need them to help out more around the house. You might decide to tell some of your most trusted colleagues that you’re working on your mental health and may need some assistance from time to time. You have to build a network of support however you can. One caveat is telling everyone and anyone about your problems.
While there is no shame in struggling, people may form negative assumptions about you if you’re constantly telling them how worried or stressed you are. Remember that nursing is a high-stress profession, and everyone struggles to some extent. If you aren’t mindful of others, they could feel like you don’t care about their feelings or are not fit for the job. This doesn’t mean you have to bottle everything up, but you do have to use discretion before you confide in someone.