Monday, December 22, 2008

Nursing Stress: Are You Willing To Try Something New?

I use the same system for dealing with life stresses as I do to deal with nursing stress. And the other day I had a wonderful experience with my daughter.

She had a pretty difficult project to complete for physics class. So off we went to Michael's craft store on Wednesday night to buy the necessary supplies to create an "NRG car" for her class. It was really dark and rainy on Wednesday night and I have to admit I was exhausted by the time we got home from the store. But the work was just beginning.

We worked on the car until 11:30pm that night. After working with a faulty design for what seemed like forever, we finally had a breakthrough. We redesigned the car for the better...but time ran out...we had to go to bed.

The next day (Thursday) the pressure was on because it was our last day to work on the design. Friday morning was the deadline. She would have to demonstrate to the teacher that the car could move on 1 Joule of energy for a minimum of 16 feet (5 meters). After the breakthrough from the day before, she decided to completely start from scratch and do it right this time. All we salvaged from the previous car was the wheels. The rest was all new.

I'd like to share with you about my attitude during this project. It could have been bad. It could have been REAL BAD. I could have gotten very negative and resentful at the idea that we even had to do this project right before Christmas break. After all, aren't there enough things to worry about during this time of year? I could have "character assassinated" the teacher for being such a jerk for having assigned such a difficult project. But I didn't! Oh I had one or two tiny, itsy bitsy "slips" of negativity but that was all. I consciously decided to stay positive and to ask for the help I wanted and needed from the universe instead.

So before getting down to business on Thursday night to create an all new version of the physics car, I wrote some things down on my list:

*We have all the supplies we need for our NRG car.
*We have divine inspiration and creativity to create this car.
*We remain positive.
*We are grateful.
*We work together well.
*We are here to learn whatever lessons we need to learn during this project.
*We are easily successful at this project.
*We have fun during this project.
*We create the NRG car that is right for us.
*We feel protection and God's help along the way.

GUESS WHAT?! Long story...I won't go into all the wonderful details...but the result was success! Sweet success! Her car went well over 16 feet (it went 6.8 meters to be exact) and it was fun doing it. She got all the help she needed during the demonstration too (in fact 2 crucial things happened right before it was her turn)!

It was glorious! It was tremendous! It was a God centered project and it felt great!

I don't take credit for the system but I do take credit for my willingness to work it. If what you're doing in your life to combat stress isn't working, you may want to try something different.

God Bless,
Theresa

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nursing Stress: Flush Out Exactly What You Want!

One of the most powerful tools I use to combat the stress of nursing or the stress of life is to write a letter to God. This is NOT a thank you letter to God. This is not a sweet letter stating how I know God is taking care of me. This is actually the opposite. This is questioning what the heck God is doing! This is hashing out the problem with God. This is an emotional plea about what to do next. And this is a very power tool!

The God letter is a very powerful tool because it leads me to flush out exactly what I need help with. Once I see the areas that I need help in, I can ask God to PROVIDE me with the help I need.

If I'm struggling with stress at work, I'll make requests such as:
I am peaceful at work.
I am calm at work.
I am focused at work.
I separate myself from stress at work.
I practice good self care at work.
I have all the resources I need to take care of my patients at work.
I leave work on time.
I have all the skills I need to take good care of my patients.
I have all the help I need at work to take care of my patient.
I have a highly qualified support team always available to help me take care of my patients.

I don't know about you but those are just some of the things that I worry about and that cause me stress in nursing. The thought of having to do it all alone is terrifying. The thought that I won't have enough help to take good care of my patients is frustrating. The thought that I may be able to "do it all" but it will cost me some overtime is infuriating. The thought that I get to go home (late) and wake up early and do it all over again is sometimes just too much to handle.

All those fearful thoughts can lead to depression and anxiety. It's living in the future and the future is not good. It's living in the future and I'm all alone. It's living in the future and there's just not enough of anything. Not a good thinking pattern to get into.

But when I take those specific fears and ask for God (or the universe, or Higher Power, or whoever) to provide for me, I instantly feel a sense of relief. That somehow, some way I'm NOT alone and that there is enough for me. And furthermore, figuring out how God is going to fix the problem or how he's going to provide what I'm asking for is NONE of my business. I don't have to know how he's gonna do it all. I just have to ask. Remembering to put my requests in the present tense (as if they have already happened) is key. It's a powerful form of prayer and it changes things.

In fact the situation may not change right away, but somehow, some way I change. I start relying on infinite God rather than my finite self. I'm not alone and I don't have to make everything happen on my own. I have a provider and a protector. It's all gonna be okay. The nursing stress eases up a little and that's the whole point.

Here's some examples of how God has provided for me recently:
**For months, my schedule requests have all been honored.
**The E.T. nurse showed up at just the right time to do a major dressing change for me.
**Some very difficult supplies (only used in the ICU) were made available to my VIP med/surg patient and brought to his bedside by the ICU nurse educator.
**I got a 4.7% pay raise (annual review).
**I had a bright student nurse intern for several weeks who lightened my workload.
**I haven't missed a break in months.
**Overtime, if any, is minimal (a few minutes, as opposed to hours).
**The pharmacy is my buddy. It recently took less than 3 minutes to receive the med I was requesting.

Are they all coincidences? I choose not to believe so AND my stress level has gone down incredibly because of my belief...and that's the whole point. The mere act of asking for help from an infinite source of supply has filled me with hope. And as far as I'm concerned, the internal and the external results speak for themselves.

Can you imagine if all nurses starting asking for help from their spiritual supplier? The patients would benefit. The nurses would benefit. Everybody wins!

I learned how to ask here.

God bless,
Theresa

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nursing Stress: Use The Golden Key To Fight Negativity

One of the most important tools that I use to fight nursing stress and just regular "day-to-day stress" is called the Golden Key. I learned about it in a small 6-page booklet with a bright golden yellow cover written by Emmet Fox. Fox suggests that stopping a negative thinking pattern and switching to a positive (God centered) thinking pattern instead is the key to real serenity and peace.

Now, I firmly believe that although I may not be able to control the first thought that comes into my head, I CAN control my second thought and my third thought, and so on. In other words, I can control whether or not I keep thinking those negative thoughts or not.

And here's how I practice the Golden Key. When I find myself worrying about a subject (usually my kids, or the future, or a goal that I want to achieve but just seem to fall short of, or some other thing that I think I (alone) need to make happen), I stop myself. I then switch my thoughts to a phrase involving the power of my God. My favorite phrase at the moment is, "All things are possible with God." But you can think of any comforting, God-centered thought that you wish. Some other nice Golden Key thoughts might be, "God is with me" or "God is my source for ______" (just fill in the blank).

I say it over and over until I get some peace, some relief from the fear and anxiety that I'm experiencing. And that's the point! Instead of worrying in a fearful state about the welfare of my son (for example) the Golden Key allows me to interrupt that negative thought pattern and concentrate on a powerful God-centered positive thought instead. We all know that if you feed it it will grow, and if you don't feed it, it won't grow!

Me projecting fear onto my son's life cannot be a good thing. It can't be good for him and it can't be good for me. Me believing that all things are possible with God is my answer to this. It's simple, it's effective and it's completely free.

Whereas my negative fear-based thinking is a vicious cycle that benefits no one, my choice to stop feeding it absolutely benefits everyone. When I use the Golden Key, I stop for a moment and recognize that I have an all powerful source available to me and that all things are possible through this source. Within moments the negative cycle is broken and God's grace enters my mind. I am granted peace from the negativity. My bond with God (my source) is strengthened and I become hopeful once again.

And Hopeful energy is very powerful energy!

God bless,
Theresa

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Beat Nursing Stress - Have A Party

I recently had a Christmas party at my house for my co-workers. It was lovely! Just what I asked for. Talk about a wonderful solution to beating nursing stress. What a treat to be able to relate with each other woman to woman and friend to friend.

It was so fun greeting people at the door, all of us dressed in cute NON-SCRUBS clothing. The attendance was over double of what we had last year. The music was wonderful, the food was great and the ornaments were sooooo cute. We had lots of laughs. My home felt warm and cozy.

I'm so blessed. I work with really hard working, conscientious, talented nurses. We are a good team and we're good nurses.

Some of the parameters that I've written for my job are: I build teamwork at work. I enjoy my co-workers. I am safe and protected at my work. I have all the help I need every day. I practice good self care during my work day. I am efficient. I am effective. I have a manageable pace to my workday. I have all the resources I need to take care of my patients safely. I am well respected by my co-workers. I am well respected by my patients. I leave work on time regularly.

Now, remember, these parameters don't have to be currently TRUE. They are my desires. This is how I want to live my life. And, furthermore, I don't have to look to history to dictate my future. In other words, just because life happened a certain way in the past, doesn't mean it has to be my only option for the future. This process is about starting fresh and new possibilities. As I become clearer and clearer about the life that I desire, so does my focus.

By the way, over the last month I've had the most incredible workdays. I've caught myself more than once looking over med sheets again in the afternoon just to see if I missed something because things have gone sooooooo smoothly. Talk about a manageable pace and not missing breaks. It's been Fantastic!

I have to admit that in the past, I spent a lot of time wracking my brain as to WHY my work was so grueling and difficult. Not the best focus to work with. I spent a lot of time feeling frustrated and looking outside myself for the answer to my work difficulties. But what I've found is that the answer is inside me. If you don't feed it, it won't grow. And if you do feed it (give life to your desires), it will grow. I hold the key.

Can you imagine the power of this concept. If all nurses took the time to write positive parameters for their lives, I believe that the quality of patient care would really, really rise. Perhaps we'd attract more support and resources into the hospitals. Patient safety would be at an all time high. It's a win-win proposition people!

Nurses, learn more about attracting what you want into your life. There are some really, really effective yet simple tools available to everyone. Take a peek.

God bless,
Theresa

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sooth Nursing Stress - Ask! There Are Only 3 Possible Replies

One of the ways I lower the stress levels of my every day life as well as the nursing stress that I feel at work is to ask for what I want. I put my desires, wants and needs down on paper in a present tense statement. I think of it as a form of prayer...A prayer to my God, my Creator, my Higher Power. The name of the Source is not important, just as long as you ask!

Now I'm not doing this for God's benefit. It could probably be argued that God already knows everything. Therefore, he already knows my heart's desires. So I'm not writing my desires down to "enlighten" God. I'm writing them down to give them life. I'm writing them down to infuse them with energy. I'm writing them down to take them from a "wish" state to an actual parameter of my life.

And God always answers my prayers in 3 ways:
1. "Yes."
2. "Not yet."
3. "I have something better in mind."

In the past, my biggest problem was #2..."Not yet". I'm like everyone else. I want what I want when I want it. So the idea of God saying "Not yet" to me is a little hard to swallow. Besides if I think that my God is playing tricks on me and withholding things from me to "teach me a lesson" then I don't want to trust him.

But I don't believe my God plays tricks on me. My God is perfect love. So I choose to believe that when God says "Not yet" to me it is out of perfect love and infinite wisdom. Because it's actually not God saying "Not yet" to me , but instead it is me saying it to myself. There must be some kind of emotional, spiritual or physical work that I still need to do to make myself ready to receive.

Making myself ready to receive is different from being deserving. I believe we are all born deserving of God's bounty. Making myself ready to receive is also different from having to earn God's bounty. I don't have to earn it. It's my birthright. It's your birthright too. We just have to allow it.

So I've come to believe that it is me who is saying "Not yet" to myself. I remind myself that God's not a puppet master. I have free will and choices. If I'm asking for a certain thing but continuing to do old behavior that actually blocks the object of my desire from me, then I'm the one withholding it from myself. Maybe I have some growing up to do in a certain area. Maybe I have some maturing to do. Maybe I have more practice to do in a certain area of my life. Maybe I have an amends to make. Maybe I'm holding on too tightly. Maybe I'm not having fun regularly enough. Maybe I'm having too much fun. Maybe I thought about asking but didn't really take the time to actually write it down on paper...Hmmm

Because ultimately it is me that allows God's abundance into my life. And when it all comes together it is truly, truly glorious! He's the source. I hold the key of willingness.

Take care,
Theresa

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nursing Stress? - I Prefer Plan B Please

I go to God with all the desires of my heart including answers to my nursing stress. Although I suppose it could be argued that God already knows every desire of my heart. But that's not the point. The real reason I do this is so that I become aware of my every desire.

It's important to be clear about what you want. If you're not clear about how you want your life to look like, that's what you'll get...an unclear, willy-nilly life that someone else (your job, your family, society) is defining for you. Yes, God already knows my every desire. But until I write it down (pen to paper) I'm not always aware. And mark my words, asking God for my heart's desires via PEN TO PAPER is very, very powerful. Remember: Seek and yee shall find. Seeking is asking.

Now, do I pout if I don't get that brand new perfect home filing system the very next day after asking for it? Or do I pout if the relationship with my anxiety-ridden mother doesn't improve over night? Or what if the new wardrobe I asked for seems to allude me for a while? Do I worry and fret over it? No.

Because I am in 100% acceptance of God's wisdom and generosity and timing. His Plan B or his "longer than I expected" version of my Plan A is always, always okay with me. In fact, I trust God's Plan B for me over my own Plan A. Ultimately, I guess you could say that I trust infinite God rather than my finite self. It's called faith. It's acquired by including God in everything you do. Asking him to fulfill your heart's desires (small and big) is the best way to build a strong relationship with him. And, by the way, that's the best gift I can ever pass on to another human being...the certainty that my God loves me and wants me happy.

A couple months ago, I wrote down that my husband gives me gifts at the most unexpected times. He's always been a wonderful partner but since then he's been even more so. The other morning, he made me a killer breakfast burrito AND paid to have new gears put on my bike (loaded and unloaded my bike into the car), along with being Mr. Fix-it around the house. I won't even mention the wonderful massage he gave me. Lovely. :)

Less than a month ago, I wrote down that I get out on time and that I'm always able to complete my charting on time just to name a few items. (there were more!) The next week, I went into work and a new feature had been added to our charting system. An "Auto Enter" button had been added. In other words, if data is exactly the same (and in many cases it is from one shift to another), we can now hit the auto enter button to copy it over. No more individual clicking in certain areas! Quicker charting means better chance of getting out on time. Hooray! An answer to my nursing stress...coincidence? I think not!

These are just a few examples. I've got more. I ask. Learn to ask too.

Take good care,
Theresa
P.S. Now that I think of it, I did get a wonderful filing system and 2 free hours of help setting it up; I recently had fun picking out three really cute tops at a great discount; and I've gotten a lot of insight into my mom lately...no need to pout.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Nursing Stress - Her Lesson And My Lesson

Nursing stress can add up quickly. Between the cell phone and the pager, the demands seem to come all at once at times. And sometimes just projecting on the fact that I know I'm going to be "pulled in multiple directions at once" can bring the most nursing stress of all. However, my patient taught me a lesson the other day...and I'd like to think that I did the same for her.

My day started off like any other day. Unpredictable. No sooner did I get my pager and my phone handed to me then off it went with a message stating "room #-- wants to discharge." I dropped what I was doing and went straight to my patient's room to give her a time frame for her discharge. On my way, I stopped my nurse assistant to see what the patient's morning vitals were. "Hmmm, heart rate is 130, but no fever? All other vitals within normal limits. Interesting," I thought.

She was anxious, speaking very quickly and had a very concerned look on her face. "Am I going to discharge? Can I have a pain pill? What's the plan?" she blurted out as soon as I introduced myself. I explained that I would discharge her a.s.a.p. and I brought her a pain pill. After all, according to her chart, the doctor had discharged her two days previous. Each day, however, the discharge got cancelled due to various reasons.

Ten minutes later, I get another page for the same patient. This page says, "room #-- throwing up." I drew up an IV anti-anxiety med. (with anti-emetic properties) and an IV antacid med. When I returned to her room, she had just thrown up about 300 ml's of green liquid and was sitting on the toilet with the trashcan between her knees. I soon learned that I could definitely rule out bowel obstruction.

She was a mess. She just kept repeating over and over, "How can I go home if I'm throwing up? I want to go home, but I'm afraid." I told her that I had brought the medication but that I wanted to talk to her about something. I wanted to talk to her about her anxiety.

I told her that I knew about anxiety from first-hand experience and I've had to learn to cope with anxiety in healthy ways. I told her that she needed to learn to recognize whenever she felt herself "working herself into a lather" and getting anxious (HR raising). I explained that it appeared that she had just had an anxiety attack. Anxiety starts in the mind. In this case, her body had joined her mind in "living in the future". I told her that the bottom line was that whenever a person is experiencing anxiety, they are living a month from now, a year from now, a day from now, etc. They are mentally living in the future and projecting the worst.

It was as if I turned on a light. She began quickly speaking about how anxious she was about going home and what the future held (chemo). She had never had to deal with this type of thing before. Basically, she spilled her guts and cried with relief as she acknowledged her anxious state. Her husband also readily admitted to having depression and anxiety issues.

We talked about how acknowledging her anxiety could be a tremendous gift. She was going to get to learn other ways of coping. They both were. We talked about how she and her husband could embrace the journey into healthy coping techniques or they could continue to fight it. They both acknowledged what I was saying as being true for them and vowed to learn better coping.

The rest of the day got progressively better. By the end of the shift, she had kept down two small meals (lunch and dinner) and hadn't thrown up again. She even waved to me in the hallway as her and her husband walked by.

Her lesson: Anxiety is living in the future, projecting the worst. Living in tomorrow and being sure that tomorrow is going to be horrible.

My lesson: Once again, the power of the present moment is everything. I choose to believe that my God exists in the now, the present moment. He's not off in the future somewhere. He's right in the now with me. The future hasn't happened yet. And I'm not a puppet being controlled by God. He gave me free will. I get choices. No matter what I choose, he knows how to help me through it and support me. That's his job. He does all the heavy lifting. In fact, he wants me to get in touch with my heart's desires so that I can experience true joy and happiness in this life. It's my job to ask my Creator to fulfill my heart's desires...yes, it's my job to do that...because that's how I can build my faith and trust in him. That's how I can experience his love for me.

Projecting into the future about nursing stress is a surefire way to bring more of it into your life. On the other hand, living in the now, asking for what you want and appreciating what you already have is part of a powerful solution.

If you'd like to know more about living in the now, staying ahead of nursing stress, and how to ask for your heart's desires, visit this link. Read the e-book, "I'm Rich Beyond My Wildest Dreams. I am. I am. I am." The book contains a straight forward system for asking and receiving. Plus, you may learn some new reasons that confirm why it's so important to live positively in the now.

Take good care,
Theresa

Monday, November 24, 2008

Nursing Stress - Unintentional Human Error

Wow yesterday was a good day at work - free of the nursing stress that I heard the other nurses complaining about. The pace, the patients, the amount of help I had...everything was great. And it's exactly what I've been asking the universe for. I'm actually in shock. I can't believe it.

And I don't have to believe it. That's the cool part. All I have to do is get clear about what I want my life to look like and then be willing to put pen to paper and ask for it.

Now, as I said, it was a fantastic day at work yesterday...Right up until the end of the shift. The pharmacy lost the TPN they had prepared for my patient. So their solution to that problem was to send an actual pharmacist to come to our floor and physically look in my patients' rooms to see what was hanging on their IV poles??? Wow! I took that so personally. I was highly offended that they were insisting that somehow I had hung it and didn't remember or that I had hung it incorrectly or whatever??? My pride was hurt. My ego was hurt. I felt my reputation was being challenged. I was pissed off.

My actions and words were gracious though. I conducted myself with respect and that's the most important thing. However, after the pharmacist left, it hit me. I began bubbling inside. PISSED OFF! They were accusing me of negligence in some form and I was irate. However, something new and interesting happened as well. I became aware of the destructive power of the negative energy that I was bathing myself in and I made a conscious decision. I simply got out of the bath. I admitted my feelings to myself and a couple nearby co-workers and then I dropped it. Patient safety is first. This was not a personal vendetta against me. I'd like to think they would have done the same with any nurse in this scenario. Done. A check and balance system at work. Not personal. I'm a grown woman, not a little girl. My internal serenity is worth more to me than "justifying my resentment" towards our top notch pharmacy.

A short while later, a pharmacy runner came with the bag of TPN. He had put it on a different floor, different building! Ooooooops! Unintentional human error. Forgiven. Done.

To me, the ability to drop a resentment, to get perspective, to be a grown up, to not bath myself in negative emotions...that's how it feels in the life of MY dreams. That's how it feels.

Moral of the story? If we feed "it", it will grow. If we don't feed "it", it won't grow. So important. The importance of that moral is taking on a whole new meaning in my life nowadays and I'm reaping the rewards big time. The solutions to my nursing stress are inside of me, not outside.

I'm learning about abundance with a little help from: this link

Take care,
Theresa

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nursing Stress - Moving Past My Filter Into Abundance

Intellectually, I know there are MORE than two types of people in the world...but there are times when it sure does seem like the world is divided into just two groups. The two groups are the talkers and the listeners.

I've always fallen into the listener category myself. It's not that I can't talk or anything, it's just that I tend to be a, well, a listener...at least in a large group of people that is. :)

Now, I've given this topic a lot of thought --- surprise, surprise --- and I've gotten some insight recently on it. I realize that being a listener has two sides. In other words, listening is a gift! It's a wonderful quality to possess. It's a blessing. Except when it feels like it is squelching you and suppressing your growth. In that case, something has to change.

Recently someone was describing themselves by saying, "I'm such a big mouth. I just don't have a filter when it comes to speaking my mind. I always seem to talk too much." This struck me hard. And I realized that I am just the opposite.

What I realized is this. Part of my default mode is to have TOO MUCH filter. I shut myself down before I ever get started. I press my "mute" button. I second guess myself. I get confused. I get scattered and I lose my concentration. And then I get intimidated. And It's not because someone else is being too vocal. It's because I stubbornly filter myself and back down from participating in the discussion.

A very dear friend of mine has an expression. She can also relate to the "filter" dilemma from first hand experience. As she says, "I won't say shit if I have a mouthful." (pardon the expression) Not a good place to be, believe me.

Well, I know for a fact that I have the power within me to create the life of my dreams. And that goes for my internal (emotional) life as well as my external (abundant) life. In fact, I've believed that for a long time...I just didn't exactly know how to go about doing it. But now I do. There are zillions of tools available for anyone who wants to create a rich life. Click on this link and start by reading the book, "I'm Rich Beyond My Wildest Dreams. I am, I am, I am." It will change your life! It is mine!

Take good care,
Theresa

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nursing Stress - Emotional Coward

Just the other day, I heard a man say, "I used to be an emotional coward when it came to relationships..." I was floored. First of all, that it came from a MAN! Second of all, I had never heard those two words put together. But that phrase, "emotional coward" struck a cord in me big time. I've been working with my mentor (this really neat lady that I trust deeply) about "clearing out" some internal stuff in me that I've been carrying around for a while. And I've had a huge revelation. Would you like to hear it? Here goes. I am very, very childlike in certain areas of my life. Surprise!

Now, on the other hand, (and this is the confusing part and why I haven't been able to see it for what it is) I am extremely responsible. I've been a mortgage holder since age 21. Never missed a payment. I've been married for 20 years. I have 3 great teenage kids, one of which we just sent off to college. I'm a nurse for goodness sake. I dispense morphine. I've worked at the same job, same employer for 5 years. Sometimes doctors ask me what to do with their patients, and I make suggestions that move the patient's progress along for the better (in other words, sometimes I tell doctors what to do and they listen)! I am an enthusiastic patient advocate. I precept student nurses and I'm good at it. I am a responsible person!

And I always thought that being responsible meant that I was automatically emotionally mature. Or that, at least, that I wasn't emotionally immature! But what I'm learning about myself is that I've been blessed with certain aspects to my personality that I've mistaken for emotional maturity. For example, I've been blessed with a kind heart towards my fellow man. I'm usually pretty calm. I am smart (or shall we say, I have good common sense). And I can be extremely patient, giving, compassionate and tolerant. These are gifts from my creator, and I am truly grateful for them.

All that being said, those traits do NOT automatically equal emotional maturity. And in certain areas of my life, I have been emotionally immature. I've been childlike. But I can't just call myself childlike and stop digging. I'm a 41 y/o woman! I want to grow up for goodness' sake! So what's behind this childlike feeling that takes over me in certain situations. All of the sudden I feel very small (emotionally). I feel inadequate. I get intimidated. I feel less than. It's fear! And one of the biggest fears I have is that "you" (whoever you are) aren't going to like me. (see...childlike)

Now we're getting somewhere. If I worry about what you think of me more than my own emotional serenity, I'm screwed! All the wonderful assets that are part of me that I listed above (patient, loving, kind, tolerant) get tangled up within me when I feel childlike. And I become an emotional coward. Usually this takes the form of not speaking. I've even named that behavior. I call it turning my "mute" button on.

But there's hope! There's hope, there's hope, there's hope! At least I can see it now. Those childlike feelings are fear. The fear is masking my pride and ego (remember "what will they think of me?"). And sometimes it's my pride and ego IN REVERSE ("I'm no good. I'll never measure up to them.") And somehow, I've gone into competition with YOU (whoever "you" are at the time). So when my childlike feelings kick in, I am going to call them what they really are. Pride and Ego and Competition with my fellow man!

And then guess what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna stop fighting. I surrender. There's no competition here. I refuse to fight with you. I'm a grown woman. I'm a spiritually centered, grown woman. No less than, no better than, not even equal to. I'm me. I'm uniquely me. There is no competition with you. I'm on my own journey with my creator. Unique. I'm me. No competition. Blessed.

Learn more about the link between "Growing up emotionally" and abundance. It's making all the difference for me.

God bless,

Theresa

Monday, August 4, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Revelation...I've Got Choices!

Along my quest to create the life of my dreams, I consult with people I trust to help me reach clarity on different issues in my life.

Here is what I'm clear on:
- I don't like dwelling on my problems.
- I like living in the solution to my problems.
- I believe our thoughts are things. Any thoughts we continually think, which are attached to strong emotion, have a great chance of materializing in our life.

Good News For Some Is Bad News For Others

Here is what I've just started to learn at a DEEPER level than ever before.
- If "I'm" not the problem, there is NO solution.

In other words, have you ever heard of the spiritual axiom that goes like this:
"Whatever is bothering me (about a person or a situation), there is something in me that I need to take a look at or change."

In other words, the answers are ALWAYS inside me. The answers are never going to be found outside of me.

Even if I'm dealing with a person or situation that is "broken"!

What Is Victim Mode?

I know this sounds like a heck of a lot to "take in" but just be open minded for a moment. Think of the alternative. If my answers are dependent on someone or something else changing, then that puts me in the dependent mode. My happiness is going to depend on "you or it" changing. You could even go so far as to say that waiting for someone else to change is a victim mode. Do I want to be there? No. For me to have some power in the situation, the answers must come from me.

The Key Is Within Me

I was just sharing with my spiritual advisor that I am frustrated with nursing because I constantly have situations THRUST upon me that I am forced to deal with and it leaves me feeling put upon. I feel like I have no choices...I literally feel like a victim sometimes. She had the nerve to say, "The answers to that problem are in you, not outside of you." Then she went on to ask me a list of questions that began to show me that the answers really are in me.

-What can you change in your life?
-How can you change your thinking?
-What steps are you taking to create the life of your dreams?
-Are you too tolerant?
-Are you too intolerant?
-Are you too judgmental or negative?
-Are you too sensitive? Do you take things too personally?
-How can you take better care of yourself in your life? (emotionally, physically, mentally & spiritually)
-Do you speak up for yourself? (verbally/e-mail/chain of command)
-Do you set boundaries? Do you know how to set boundaries?
-Are you over extending yourself on your work days? Are you taking your breaks?
-Are you over extending yourself on your days off?
-Are your expectations of yourself at work too high? Isn't it a "24/7" job?
-Are you passing things on to the next shift that can be passed on? (WITHOUT guilt!)
-Do you feel overly responsible for your patients' pain or nausea?
-Do you feel overly responsible for people's happiness in your life?
-What messages are you giving yourself while at work (during stress)? What is your self-talk like? Is it all negative and defeatist?

Remember, (in life in general) if you don't have anything positive to say, it's better to say nothing at all than to start in with negativity such as "Darn it, I never have enough help!" or "I hate this job!" or "This place is killing me!" Negative statements FILLED with emotion can come true just as much as positive statements filled with emotion. They are both affirmations!

Needless to say, the questions go on and on.

Only 1 in 20 Are Willing

Asking yourself how can you change your actions, choices, thoughts, perceptions and words to deal with the stress of nursing is a crucial step in taking back the power in your life. Taking responsibility for our lives is always the right answer. Actually doing the actions to create change is an ongoing daily responsibility.

Remember, "Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do, and that often means living outside the limits of one's comfort zone." Only about 1 in 20 people are willing to do this...live a life of self responsibility.

Paying For Comfort

In the end, however, the majority of people who weren't willing to ask themselves important questions earlier in their lives (to challenge their comfort zone) find they pay for it with their finances, health, relationships and successes. The good news is that the people on the success curve live much more comfortably later on because their finances, health, relationships and successes are intact!

Question: In what way are you willing to challenge your comfort zone today? (Answer by posting a comment below)

Take Care Of Yourselves Nurses!
Theresa Waller, RN
714 293 5398 Call Anytime

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Forgiveness Eases Stress And Speeds Healing

Have you ever contemplated how forgiveness can be used to ease stress in your life?

They say that setting yourself free requires setting others free first. Resentment is really a form of attachment! There is truth in the idea that it takes two to make a prisoner (the prisoner and the jailer). The theory is that the jailer is as much a prisoner as his captor.

When you hold resentment against anyone, you are bound to that person by a mental chain. That means we are tied to the very thing that we hate. Think about it. The very person we dislike the most in the world is who we are attaching ourselves to by a hook stronger than steel. Is this how we want to live?

If we persist in linking ourselves to the people we resent, we are inviting further stress and frustration into our lives. Can anyone afford such a thing?

Surely, you've heard the saying, "Forgiveness will set you free." Well, I believe it's true. A clear act of forgiveness is an instrument of healing. I once bought a meditation CD on the subject of physical healing because I was going to have a surgery and I wanted to prepare mentally for it. To my surprise, the (very famous narrator) lead a meditation in FORGIVENESS. She forever linked the two ideas in my mind. So now in my mind practicing forgiveness in my life is linked to my physical health and well being.

Forgiveness is an act of love. Because the law of love works for everyone, you will be helping to heal the other person too.

Sometimes forgiveness isn't so easy. One of the things you can do to forgive others is to remember that they were once a very, very small child (as we all were). In your mind's eye, picture that person as an innocent child of 2 or 3 years old. Perhaps they've been hurt and they're reaching out to you for some comfort. At that moment, you can consciously choose to hold them and hug them and forgive that innocent little child. When I do that, I can actually feel the resentment chain loosen and my heart opens up.

It's recommended that you practice this meditation until you are able to picture them as an adult without becoming angry at them anymore. At the very least, you will be able to have more compassion for them (by remembering their innocent little child within). You will have more tolerance for the adult that they have become. After all, you don't know what it's been like to live their life and carry their burdens. You've never walked in their shoes.

The goal is to allow them to have their limitations WITHOUT carrying a resentment toward them.

Ultimately, many of us are interested in healing. Many of us are interested in mental, emotional, spiritual and physical good health. Therefore, becoming willing to do the internal work of forgiveness becomes crucial.

Questions: Is forgiveness important? Do you believe there is a link between forgiveness and healing? Post your answer as a "Comment" below.

Take Care Of Yourselves Nurses!
Theresa Waller, RN
714 293 5398
Call Anytime!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Compounded Solutions to Nursing Stress

Remember Nurses: The effects of nursing stress, compounded over time, can kill you! Applying the solutions to nursing stress, compounded over time, can save your life!

video

To learn more about applying YOUR OWN ANSWERS for nursing stress to your daily life, read the book, "The Slight Edge" by Jeff Olson. Then you'll understand the importance of your choice to break negative cycles in your life or not to!

Questions: Do you have any negative cycles in your life that you'd like to break? What's your plan?

Take Care Of Yourselves Nurses!
Theresa Waller, RN
(714) 293-5398
Call Anytime!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Own Your Life Nurses!

I recently shared on a nurse forum about how frustrated I was about a patient scenario that had occurred at my work. It's a long story but the gist of it is that my 74-year-old female patient admitted for a small bowel obstruction was in desperate need of an NG (nasogastric) tube. I knew it the first moment I laid eyes on her due to her extremely distended abdomen and the green (nauseated) look on her face when I first made rounds in the morning.

However, before I could insert her NG tube, I had to:
1. First see ALL of my patients and medicate them (hunting down meds from the pharmacy in the process).
2. Field several phone calls from doctors, family members and pharmacy.
3. Medicate several patients for pain who had previously denied any pain.
4. Hunt down all the NG tube parts and pieces to hang the wall suction.
5. Orient, educate and monitor the student nurse that I had assigned to me for the day (always a pleasure. I love working with students!)
6. Hang a unit of blood on one of my patients per urgent orders
7. Discharge a patient who could NOT be postponed because their ride had to get to work

Needless to say, when I finally inserted the NG tube, it immediately gave 2000 ml of green, foul smelling liquid output. What a relief to her. What a relief to me.

But the thing that bothered me the most is that there had been an order on the chart FOR TWO DAYS to insert an NG tube in this lady if she continued to have nausea and vomiting. However, all of the previous nurses had kept her nausea at bay by medicating her (each time apparently ignoring her physical assessment). She suffered for two days!

Do You Want To Stop Playing The Game?

Question for you nurses: Do you have dreams of owning your own life? Do your dreams of owning your own life include no longer having to participate in the crazy game of nursing that I like to call "I was way too busy putting out fires all shift to do what I should have done, so YOU will have to do it for me!"

Over the last year my desire to own my own life has been steadily growing each day. You probably remember from nursing school that the best way to tackle a seemingly insurmountable task is to break it down into steps...in my case "baby" steps.

We Are Not Alone

I know that I'm not alone in my desire to create the life of my dreams...I hear it every day from the nurses I work with. You can hear it in their frustrated voices when they are trying to interpret the "chicken scratch" orders left by a doctor on their patient's chart. You can hear it in their voices when they complain about being paged for the third time in a row within 15 minutes by the same patient regarding the same subject that the nurse still doesn't have an answer for.

You've probably experienced withdrawing meds from the Pyxis machine with a nurse on either side of you...and both are doing the "potty dance" as they wait their turn to withdraw medications for just one more patient before they take their break. The obvious goal is to quiet everyone down so that the nurse doesn't get paged during her break. The not so obvious goal is an attempt on the nurse's part to take control of her life, her environment, her mental space...even just for 5 uninterrupted minutes while at her highly stressful and unpredictable job.

What Do Your Dreams Look Like?

Do you want to create a life where your outsides match your internal desires? Where what you do for a living does not involve a series of emergent stressful situations, one after another, being thrust upon you?

Instead, you'd probably like to be selectively surrounding yourself with like minded people who also want to own their own lives. Your environment would be rich with service to others both on a professional basis and a personal basis. If you owned your own life, you'd finally have the time and energy to devote to strengthening all of your relationships.

If you have dreams, like I have dreams, take baby steps each day to achieve those dreams!

Question: Do you think it's possible to achieve really big dreams through the right daily actions? Post your answers as a "Comment" below.

Take Care Of Yourselves Nurses!
Theresa Waller, RN
(714) 293-5398
Call Anytime

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nurses: Fill Your Business Life With Like-Minded People!

Don't you love it when you get a strong feeling of validation from a book you are reading? It's that feeling you get when you read a book and every word seems to reverberate with you. You are connecting with the message of the book to such an extent that you have to keep checking who the author is because you seriously think that YOU could have written the book in your sleep or something!

Well, if I had to choose a book to recommend to anyone interested in business or career success, it would have to be, "The Go-Giver" by Bob Burg and John David Mann. I personally believe that most RN's have all the tools inside them to have brilliant careers in business. To coin a phrase from the book, "The Go-Giver," they are already pointed in the right direction. It comes naturally to them.

If you are the kind of person who doesn't have to think twice about providing excellent customer service to anyone you are serving, then you need to treat yourself to this book. If providing for your clients' needs has always been like second nature to you, then you have to read this book. If you get the fact that your giving nature, that for you feels like breathing, can some day be intertwined with your business and career success, then you have to study this book.

See if you can relate to this story:

The other day at work, I was listening to the distraught wife of my patient as she described the mental decline he's developed over the last couple of years. My patient, a 74-yr-old male, was a retired M.D. In recent years he had developed dementia, loss of hearing, glaucoma, and heart/valve problems. His wife, a former RN herself, was also in her 70's and at the end of her rope.

The night shift had tried to warn me about this woman. They said, "The wife is a real pain in the neck. She'll drive you crazy. Watch out. She was a nurse and she never lets you forget it."

After two phone calls to the floor, she finally came in to the hospital to check on her husband. After meeting her, I saw right through her within minutes. She wasn't there to "throw her weight around" to intimidate me, she was there to try to connect with me and the be HEARD.

The list of worries and concerns that she listed about this man went on and on. You could see the desperation in her eyes as she spoke about how they had been turned down by the insurance for caregiver assistance. In other words, all the burdens all fell on her.

It was an UNUSUALLY quiet day on my floor so I was able to take the time to listen to her, just the way I like it. I listened to her every word. I really listened. By the end of our conversation, she knew that she had been heard. She never said a gruff or demanding word to me the rest of the shift. Just a note: For whatever reason, it wasn't that busy that day. But even if it had been busier with more interruptions, I still would have made it a priority for her to feel heard...even though it may have taken several conversations to accomplish the same goal, it would have happened!

Later she sheepishly asked me to bring her husband an afternoon snack if it was convenient. Without hesitation, I brought HER and her husband a little ice cream cup and some Graham Crackers. This took no extra time and cost only pennies.

She was flabbergasted. I had brought her a treat too! She went on and on to her husband about how she got a treat too. And then the two of them sat in peace and ate their ice cream and cookies almost like two little kids.

She got more than she had asked for. I was more than happy to do that for her and him. That's how I conduct myself as a nurse and that's how I do business. Now, please understand, I'm NOT plugging myself, I'm plugging the concept of giving.

Can you relate to that story? Do you have to be told to go the extra mile...Or is that something that's already a part of you?

Do you you have any aspirations of going into business for yourself? Do you ever see yourself helping people in a different way other than bedside nursing? Perhaps you have an invention you've been thinking of that would benefit patients or nurses. I want to officially encourage you to follow your dreams and realize that you can intertwine your giving nature with business success.

According to the book, "The Go-Giver" to be successful in business you must understand that "Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment."

Nurses have everything it takes to be successful in business. We're already givers!

As I said before, if you want success in business, read the book, "The Go-Giver". If there is something passionate inside you calling out to create or do something totally new and different in your life, follow it. You'll be amazed at the people you meet along the way. Surround yourself with these like-minded people. And then just be "YOU". YOU + Baby steps (towards any goal) = Success.

Question: Do you think channeling a "strong giving nature" into business success is possible? Post your answer as a "Comment" below.

Take Care of Yourselves Nurses!
Theresa Waller,RN
Call Anytime 714 293 5398

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Using The "Power of Now" To Center Yourself

Do you have an activity or practice that is especially effective at helping to "center" youself? This can be something like yoga or walking or biking? Or perhaps it is a particular type of meditation. Just sitting in your church or place of worship (alone) can be quite powerful and centering.

The reason an activity that centers you is so important and so useful is that it helps you slow your mind down long enough to enjoy the "Power of Now"...the present moment.

When I think of the power of now, I think of it as a "coping" tool, a really powerful coping tool. I think of the power of now as a spiritual tool almost. As a tool to use hand-in-hand with gratitude...As a concept to remind myself to slow down long enough to quiet my mind and just appreciate and experience the present moment.

To be in a place where you are NOT projecting into the future is a very powerful mental place to be in. The goal of the centering activity is to simplify your focus down to what you're doing/experiencing/being at that very moment (the here and now). In a sense it is taking time to realize that at that very moment, all your needs are being taken care of...at that moment you are safe...at that moment you are at peace. By taking the time to do this, you are affirming peace and safety into your life.

That's one of the reasons I love hiking so much. When I'm hiking up a challenging hill, my mind really slows down and the only thing I'm thinking about is my next step. In fact, I'm not really thinking. I'm in the NOW.

I would describe it to you by saying, "That hill really got my attention." (It got my complete attention). As I hike up challenging hills, I usually say a positive affirmation as kind of a mantra...Something really, really simple like, "I am surrounded by love." or "All is well." I'll say it over and over like a mantra because the hiking allows me to block out everything else.

Obviously as a nurse, it is part of your job to project into the future for your patients and to anticipate certain outcomes if you see a particular TREND starting. But that's while you're at work. It's because you are required to do so much of that at work that centering yourself and concentrating positively on the present moment (in your own life) is sooooo important. When you're off duty...you're off duty. It's your time and you have choices as to how you will spend it.

The power of now is a wonderful tool. It is possible to get VERY proficient at using this tool to really slow the mind down and concentrate on what is right in your life. Being in the moment in a concentrated/focused state of positive thought is an effective way to use the power of now.

Question: Do you use the power of "Now" to focus on what is right in your life? Post your answer as a "Comment" below.

Take care of yourselves Nurses!
Theresa Waller, RN
714 293 5398
Call Anytime!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Affirmations To Empower Nurses

The value of keeping to a routine during your workdays cannot be underestimated! Hopefully, if you're a new grad nurse, your preceptor has emphasized this to you. If you're a more experienced nurse, you already know that routine is vital to your productivity as a nurse.

However, way before my workday begins, I utilize the power of routine. Part of my morning routine on workdays includes affirming an empowering mindset and taking a moment to connect with my spiritual source.

Meditating On These Affirmations:

I take a moment and meditate on these affirmations (by Louise L. Hay) prior to leaving for work: (in no particular order)

*I have the strength to remain calm in the face of change.
*I move through life knowing that I am safe - Divinely protected and guided.
*I am a clear thinker and I express myself with ease.
*I now do work I love, and I am well paid for it.
*My heart is the center of my power. I follow my heart.
*I release all resistance to money, and I now allow it to flow joyously into my life.
*I have a wonderful relationship with my friends, family members and co-workers. I am appreciated.
*I get the help I need, when I need it, from various sources. My support system is strong and loving.
*It is safe for me to speak up for myself.
*I am a radiant being, enjoying life to the fullest.
*I choose healthy stimulation. During breaks at work, I speak positively with others and listen with compassion.
*I handle authority with ease, and I am always respected in return.
*When I encounter problems on the job, I am willing to ask for help.
*My happy thoughts help create my healthy body.
*I am surrounded by love. All is well.
*Everyone I encounter at work today has my best interests at heart.
*I am grateful for my healthy body. I love life.
*Life supports me in every possible way.
*I let go of all negativity that rests in my body and mind.
*I love myself exactly as I am. I no longer wait to be perfect in order to love myself.
*I am a magnet for money. Prosperity of every kind is drawn to me.

Because nurses are in such high stress environments, morale can get low. Setting your mindset to cooperate with the abundance of the universe is a helpful habit that can help nurses cope. Even though there are times when I don't fully believe the affirmation, I try it on anyway...just like trying on a beautiful dress...and sometimes I'm so surprised at how it makes me feel that I leave it on the whole day! (In many cases it's much better than what I had planned to "wear" in the first place.)

Questions: Do you use affirmations in your life? Post your answer as a "Comment" below.

Take Care Of Yourselves Nurses!
Theresa Waller, RN
714 293 5398 Call Anytime

Monday, March 31, 2008

Let Your Creativity Serve You While You Serve Others!

Expressing your creativity is a surefire way to relieve stress.

Have you asked yourself lately, "How am I expressing my creative self?" Do you have people in your life that are encouraging and supporting your creativity? Have you actually made the connection that using your creative side is an excellent way to battle nursing stress?

For me, adding Creativity to my "How to cope with nursing stress" toolbox has been a very effective weapon.

One of the things you can do to express yourself creatively is blogging. If you love to write and it feels therapeutic to you to get your thoughts out, then you should try it. Ultimately, one of your goals in expressing yourself creatively is to attract like-minded people who "get you" and who value creativity in their lives too!

However, writing is not the only form of creative expression. Of course, there are all the art forms including dancing and singing which are fantastic forms of creativity. There is the whole idea of expressing yourself creatively through your clothing style or with your home decor. Of course, personal style and home decor are ways of communicating your creativity to the world that are quite fulfilling (but sometimes a little expensive)!

Unfortunately, nurses are in danger of shutting off their creative sides because they so often find themselves in survival mode.

If you are a nurse on nights, you probably work three in a row. How creative can you be when you're either working or sleeping for 72 hours straight? If you're on days, you may not be working three in a row but the days in between shifts are filled with hours of "just jelling" in that recovery shutdown state where you're really not doing much of anything. That's not great for creativity either!

One of the gadgets you can use to enhance your creativity is a voice recorder. These can be purchased at any office supply store and are smaller than a cell phone. They're pretty inexpensive and are simple to use.

As I said, I love to write. However, I'm not always able to hop on the computer or jot things down so I have ideas swirling around in my mind. So I simply record them on my handheld recorder. That way I record the thoughts and can act on them at some other time. PRESTO! My creativity is PRESERVED!

Most nurses are born nurturers. Nurturers like to create and grow things. Nurses are not only creative, they usually have great people skills, they're independent, they're smart and they're perceptive.

I find it extremely fulfilling to express myself creatively. All the while, I am truly taking steps to relieve myself of harmful stress and reach for freedom in my life.

In other words, when I'm at work caring for my patients, my creativity is hard at work for me even if it's just to keep me in touch with my dreams. I highly recommend pursuing ANY creative hobby, project or business as a way of taking back control in your life and honoring your creative side.

I support all nurses who have a creative side longing to be expressed!

Question: How do you preserve YOUR creativity? Post your answer as a "Comment" below.

Take Care Of Yourselves Nurses,
Theresa Waller, RN
(714) 293 5398
Call Anytime!

Friday, March 28, 2008

One Of Those Patients...

Have you ever had one of those patients that you just couldn't help falling in love with?

Some Patients Capture Your Heart More Than Others

Perhaps it is the tragedy of their diagnosis...so young, so grim a prognosis. Or perhaps it is how their disease is manifesting itself by resulting in more and more hospital admissions, more and more tests, procedures and surgeries and more and more pain each time. Or perhaps it is their attitude throughout it all...they never lose their sense of humor. They always make the staff laugh and you find yourself genuinely feeling that taking care of them is a labor of love, not a chore.

Even Though They Are A "Total Care"...

They are what we nurses consider to be a "total care patient" due to the amount of care they require (weak, non-ambulatory, high risk for skin breakdown). But although they are one of the highest acuity patients on the floor, somehow you don't see it that way.

They are the kind of patient that you catch yourself thinking about often on your days off and they are the first patient you inquire about when you return to work. Their pain and suffering is inconceivable yet they are not ready to give up, not ready for hospice.

They've got diversions for bowel (colostomy) and bladder (ileoconduit) and fistulas (radiology drains). The amount of IV and oral pain medication they're on would normally kill a horse but it leaves them with just barely adequate pain control. You are not surprised to see that their latest PCA order includes quadruple strength Dilaudid with a strong basal rate. They are literally prescribed such massive amounts of pain pills (Oxycontin, Methadone, Neurontin) that they they can no longer keep up with them, sometimes having to refuse doses. Yet they remember you by name and give a big smile when you greet them in the morning.

It Makes No Sense

I recently took care of one of my favorite patients. It had been a heartbreaking day. I think for the first time, the full gravity of her condition was very evident to the patient, myself and my nurse assistant. There weren't as many jokes that day. None of us talked about the reality of her situation but it seems things have truly taken a turn for the worse.

Later that night, a noise woke me up out of a deep sleep. I immediately started thinking about her and the tears started flowing. So sad. Makes no sense. Why her? Why anyone? Poor, poor lady. God bless her. I became overwhelmingly grateful for that present moment and thanked (my) God for all the blessings in my life. It took a while to get back to sleep.

Compassion Is A Gift

The experts talk about compassion fatigue and burnout but you see it differently. You see it as having been given the gift of TRUE compassion for another human being, while at the same time having been given extremely stressful circumstances in which to experience it. Not enough resources, not enough certified staff, too many orders to process and too many stat tasks all combining and colliding at the same time with your love for humanity and your true desire to help and heal others. This is why nursing stress is so unique.

Nurses are gifted but they must fortify themselves emotionally, spiritually, physically and nutritionally. It is simply imperative that nurses take care of themselves because there will always be special patients counting on them!

Question: What is it about some patients that makes them so special? Post your answer as a "Comment" below.

Take Care of Yourself Nurses!
Theresa Waller, RN
714 293 5398

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ultimately, Fighting Stress Is Up To Us!

Have you ever questioned whether or not your employer really cares?

Recently, on my floor we learned of heartbreaking news. They announced that an RN had died. The circumstances surrounding her passing remain a mystery.

Beepers and Cell Phones at a Memorial?

Although the Department Director provided a "Tea Time for the Soul" ceremony for the day shift staff, it was scheduled during our working hours. On my med/surg floor, we carry cell phones and pagers so we can be located at all times due to the large size of our floor (three nurses stations, hundreds of feet apart). In other words, because the ceremony was taking place during our shift, we all had our beepers and cell phones on.

Many of us begrudgingly carved out some time to attend the ceremony. Once there, we noted there was calming music playing. Refreshments had been provided. There were two chaplains in attendance. The chaplains were initiating a discussion with the staff. The stage was set for a potentially very healing atmosphere.

I have to admit that for a brief moment, I got lulled into a sense of serenity. However, approximately three minutes into it, I got beeped and had to leave to go urgently medicate someone. I never did make it back due to other pages and phone calls and urgent issues.

Have you ever felt foolish for trusting that management really cared about you? I remember thinking, "This isn't right. I just sat down."

Nursing Stress: "The Elephant in the Living Room"

Thoughtfully, the chaplains had provided some brochures. One brochure was entitled "Compassion Fatigue" and the other was called "What Grieving Does to the Body." There was also a "Mood Card" which allowed the attendees to check their stress level. According to the card, the colder the hand, the more tense and stressful the person was.

These handouts were much appreciated. However, the topics they addressed, although fantastically appropriate for the nursing staff, seemed to represent "The elephant in the living room." There it was in black and white. The brochures were talking about nursing stress. But no one said a word. We all sat silent as our pagers and phones went off one by one.

All A Big Tease

Have you ever caught yourself wondering if the management at your facility does things just for show? Because none of us got to really take any of it in, it was as if the chaplain, the kind words, the pertinent brochures and the refreshments were all a BIG TEASE. After all, the ceremony was taking place during our very busy work day! How could we really acknowledge the loss of our co-worker, when taking the time to attend her memorial was seen as a burden that was pulling us off schedule?

My co-worker said something very profound. She said, "It would have been nice if we actually got a chance to participate in the memorial ceremony. It would have been better if they would have scheduled it after our shift was over. I know many of us would have gladly stayed after we were "clocked out" just to pay our respects and de-stress together. What a shame, all that effort for nothing."

Arm Yourself Against Stress

Today, Nurses work under extremely stressful conditions. It would be wise to come to the conclusion that it is up to YOU to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and nutritionally. It is my passion to encourage nurses to take care of themselves and fight back against their daily work stress.

As nurses, we must not assume that management has our best interests at heart all the time. We must make choices that are going to benefit us. We must be ever vigilant against stress, compassion fatigue, burnout and grief. Ultimately, our well being is our responsibility!

Question: Why do you think nurses "burn out"? Post your answer as a "Comment" at the bottom of this post!

Take care of yourselves Nurses!
Theresa Waller, RN
714 293 5398 Call anytime

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Perfectionism Is A Trap!

One of the biggest issues I have had to deal with is being a perfectionist. The need to be perfect all the time is a trap. It can prevent you from growing because it prevents you from letting people see the real "imperfect" you.

But in Nursing School...

It's tricky. In nursing school, we were taught that certain procedures have to be performed perfectly, like passing medications for example. It could be argued that if there ever was a time that being perfect is appropriate, passing medications would be one of them.

However, it could also be argued that if a medication error was committed, perhaps there is more to learn about making the system better. What were the factors involved in the medication error. Was pharmacy involved? Did they fill the medication incorrectly and increase the chances of our eyes playing tricks on us? Was the patient load too heavy that day? Was the nurse pulled in too many directions at once? Did the constant scramble for help and resources force an error that otherwise would not have taken place? Did the fact that she missed out on her favorite snack, because her break was cut short, finally catch up to her?

Perfectionism Acts Like A Mute Button

But the need or tendency to be perfect in the nursing world, can hinder our ability to take care of ourselves in the outside world. For example, even when you do decide to attend a group and get emotional support to help you better cope with life's stresses, you find you're not able to open up in front of the group. The need to appear perfect is too strong. It's like a powerful mute button that keeps you silent.

You tell yourself, I'm just content listening. Sharing should be reserved for only those people in the group who can really be profound and who really have answers. Meanwhile, you stop yourself from contributing to the group because you feel you're not perfect enough. You don't get to grow and benefit from taking the risk of exposing yourself, warts and all.

In the past, the need to be perfect has blocked me from taking some positive risks. I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired! The beginning of change started when I admitted that my way wasn't working.

Question: Have you ever struggled with Perfectionism? Has it limited you? In what ways? To answer, simply hit "Comments" at the bottom of this blog post and type away!

Wishing you good health,
Theresa Waller, RN
714 293 5398
rnstresssolutions@gmail.com
Take Care of Yourself Nurses!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Getting Creative to Relieve Nurse Stress

Do you remember learning about the aging process in 3rd or 4th semester of nursing school? Little did you know when you took your geriatric nursing courses in nursing school that so many of your patients were actually going to be so old. It goes without saying but the higher the age, the higher the acuity!

How about the number of diabetic patients these days? It seems that routinely 3 out of 5 patients require accuchecks and insulin coverage. In many cases, the nurse assistant is not certified to do accuchecks so the responsibility falls on the nurse.

Have you ever experienced being told that you were going to get a new patient and one minute later the phone rings and it's someone wanting to give you report...and you're thinking, "But I just discharged my other patient less than five minutes ago...I haven't finished my charting...I'm not ready for another patient yet!"

Limited Choices Increase Nurse Stress

These examples fall under the category of what I like to refer to as "Lack of Choice Increases Nurse Stress." Going back to the geriatric nursing courses we all took. Do you remember learning the concept that it is a MYTH to think that getting older is less stressful? The idea that as you get older, you enter the "golden years" and life is grand is a MYTH. In fact, in many cases getting older begins to limit our freedoms and our choices. In many cases getting older is a more stressful time because your choices become more narrow!

Whenever choices are limited or taken away, the stress level will increase. Therefore, when a nurse has no choice as to the age, diagnosis, diabetic status, isolation status or timing of her patients, her stress can increase. There are many other circumstances that the nurse can't control during her work day and this can increase her stress also. If she does choose to not accept a certain patient, then she may feel that she is burdening one of her co-workers who will have to take the patient instead. It sometimes feels like a lose/lose situation.

Taking Care of Yourself is Not Optional!

That is why it is absolutely imperative that nurses take care of themselves. Get good nutrition. Get rest! Lay off the sugar. Feed your soul. Speak up!!! Get creative and think of solutions on your floor that will benefit you and your co-workers.

My co-worker and I organized a potluck at my house in January. We called it, "Nurturing the Nurses." Even though we sent out flyers way ahead of time, the turn out wasn't that high. Do nurses put themselves last on the list? Anyway, the nurses who did show up had a great time! We spent time talking and relating with each other in a completely stress-free (non-hospital) environment. We told NON-nursing stories of our lives and had lots of laughs. Holding a potluck in your home is a great way to relieve stress!

Question: Do you believe that the less choices you have in life, the higher your stress level? Please post an answer by hitting "Comments" at the bottom of this blog post and type away!

Wishing you good health,
Theresa Waller, RN
714 293 5398
rnstresssolutions@gmail.com
Take Care of Yourself Nurses!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Welcome to RN Stress Solutions!

Welcome all nurses! All are welcome who have a genuine interest in finding solutions to the stress in our lives!

Has Stress Ever Made You Speechless?

As you know, nursing (and health care in general) is a very stressful profession. You have probably complained about the stress related to your job on many occasions. I know I have. In fact, it has often left me speechless around family and friends because it's too much to discuss with just anyone. That's where this blog comes in. However, the purpose of this forum is not just to discuss the gory details of my work day. In fact, efforts will be made to avoid that. Instead, the goal here is to offer the solutions I use in my life to fight back against the work and life stresses that we are all under.

Stress Ain't Goin' Away

Stress comes in many forms...occupational, physical, spiritual, emotional and mental to name a few. Therefore, this blog will contain many different types of solutions to combat stress. This will be an informal discussion on "my stress lessons" if you will.

Stress in inevitable. This blog is sort of going to be my back up plan for the stress in my life. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to share this blog with my fellow nurses and help you cope better with your stress too!

Question: What are some of the things you do as your "back up plan for stress"? To Answer, simply leave your answer as a "comment". Simply hit "Comments" at the bottom of my blog post and type away!

Wishing you good health,
Theresa Waller, RN
714 293 5398
rnstresssolutions@gmail.com