The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and can contribute to his or her community.” Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the mental health of our nation’s nurses.
However, the mental health epidemic in nursing predates the pandemic. As early as 2005, national surveys indicated an increased prevalence of problems interfering with nurses’ work. Purchasing new outfits and scrub jackets for women can make you feel good at the moment, but a holistic approach is needed to tackle this issue. Mental health for nurses must be addressed, or their situation will only worsen.
Recent calls for a paradigm shift away from crisis intervention to mental health promotion have gone unheeded. Compassion fatigue, burnout, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are undoubtedly on the rise. Nevertheless, the following tips are based on substantial scientific evidence and should help.
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1. Institute Mindfulness Training
Nurses should consider enrolling in a mindfulness-based program. This form of meditation has individuals focus on current sensations and feelings. In particular, they are encouraged to harness a diffused focus, one that is not directed at any particular thought or emotion.
When focused, practitioners apply relaxation techniques such as breathwork and guided imagery. These stimulate mental tranquility and help users relax, imbuing a sense of calm. Afterward, a state of clarity washes over the meditator.
Stressed nurses can imbue calmness into their daily lives by breathing before they enter a room at work in their scrub pants for women. Even a little deep breathing can help them tolerate the inevitable stress and trauma. In addition to cultivating equanimity, these therapies help nurses respond positively to ethical dilemmas.
2. Cultivate Moral Resilience
Moral resilience is described as the ability to confront distressing and uncertain circumstances. When cultivated appropriately, health workers can react courageously. Honing in on a thorough system of values and beliefs is recommended.
A resilient moral sense and set of values alleviate overburdened minds, letting them contextualize situations. Nonetheless, these guiding principles must be instilled through a gradual process. Persistence, experience and determination are necessary when cultivating them.
3. Leverage Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is an effective treatment when used in cases of depression, anxiety and PTSD. It is a collaborative psychological treatment given in varying formats, such as individual or group therapy. During therapeutic sessions, nurses can learn to recognize their emotions and feelings. Acknowledging these manifestations can help them develop coping skills.
Learning to harness the identification of thoughts and triggers is beneficial for anyone. Once these are identified, supportive coping frameworks can reconfigure perceptions. For example, people can be taught to replace negative self-talk with uplifting messages. Studies have indicated that this approach can have a powerful impact when used to alleviate severe psychiatric disorders. With regular use, notable decreases in perceived stress levels are common.
4. Implement Cognitive Processing Therapy
Since healthcare practitioners deal with traumatizing events often, trauma is a prevalent problem. Traumatized individuals can use cognitive processing therapy to ease symptoms and cope with disturbances and problems. This particular form of CBT incorporates a four-step process of healing.
Educating people about their negative coping mechanisms can alleviate their distress. During the pandemic’s onslaught, many nursing professionals developed unhealthy habits. Therefore, redeveloping healthier ways of being should be a top priority for them now. Mental health for nurses can be improved by using CBT’s influential approach.
5. Utilize Emotional Freedom Techniques
Emotional freedom techniques are commonly employed during treatment sessions targeting PTSD. They utilize a combination of somatic and cognitive therapies, including exposure therapies. Occasionally, acupuncture can be an ancillary recommendation to add support. Previously, studies noted a substantial reduction in PTSD severity after implementing this therapy.
6. Authorize Prolonged Exposure (PE) Treatments
Prolonged exposure therapies belong to a set of evidence-based protocols used to treat fear. During meetings with a therapist, patients confront traumatic memories. Repetitive exposure to the trauma decreases the strength of stress responses, eventually leading to habituation. These sessions take less time than other approaches, so they are useful when time constraints are involved.
7. Practice Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EDMR) Therapy
EMDR techniques have implemented a similar approach, but the actual practice differs from PE. Patients can be distracted from disturbing memories when they are given dual attention tasks. Usually, these tasks involve moving their eyes, hence the name.
Combining EMDR and PE techniques has led to improved long-term results in the fearful. Following the adoption of these practices, study participants displayed higher satisfaction ratings. Reducing anxious and depressive symptoms can be substantial with a combined approach.
8. Introduce Motor Interference Therapy
Patients suffering from past traumas can experience relief via motor interference therapy. This novel technique combines cognitive tasks with repetitive motion, like finger tapping. It also shares vital similarities with EMDR as it distracts users from trauma. A short period of treatment can address lingering fear, anxiety and depression.
9. Eliminate Stigma and Aversion to Treatment
When it comes to treatment for mental health issues, stigma continues to inhibit patients from seeking help and frustrate clinicians who want to provide it. According to the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, these stigmas begin during school and continue into the professional world. The state has launched a “Beat the Stigma” campaign to attack this problem directly. Encouraging a positive work environment and reducing administrative burdens can be useful. Similarly, support should be provided to clinicians, learners and associated professionals. Instituting a solid wellness culture in the workplace can help to reduce the incidence of burnout among nurses.
Addressing the Mounting Mental Health Crisis Impacting Healthcare Workers
Doctors, nurses and related clinicians are all suffering from elevated levels of burnout. Correlated psychiatric diagnoses are becoming increasingly common, and this is a huge dilemma. These nine wellness tips can help nurses and other healthcare workers fight back against burnout and depression. Fortunately, several of them can be implemented almost immediately and bear fruit before long.