6 ways to rebound from a tough nursing shift

Nurses of all ages, across all specialties will encounter tough shifts, so learning how to rebound from a hard workday is critical, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

AJC spoke with several nurses about how they recover from a hard shift. Below are six strategies they shared:

1. Find a "battle buddy" for moral support. A battle buddy is a "nurse you can go cry it out with for a few minutes, then get it back together and step back into your nurse role at work," Patricia Dewer, RN, a cardiac nurse at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital and Piedmont Fayette Hospital in Georgia, told AJC.

2. Debrief with your team. Elizabeth Binsfield, RN, a nurse at Home Care Assistance in Richmond, Va., said it's helpful to regroup when a shift has been difficult for everyone. "Replaying the sticky points and exploring whether there were other options we had can be helpful," she told AJC.

3. Find a relaxing activity. Reading, taking a shower or going for a walk after a difficult shift can also help nurses destress, according to Ms. Binsfield.

4. Listen to your emotions. Nurses must often suppress their feelings during their shifts to take care of patients and respond to emergencies. Ann Stinely, RN, a nurse at Raleigh, N.C.-based WakeMed Health & Hospitals, said she takes the time to reflect on how she's feeling after a shift to prevent becoming a "bitter, burnt-out robot."

5. Consult your managers. Ms. Stinely also said she checks in with her managers the day after a difficult shift to discuss any issues or concerns on her mind, if necessary.

6. Stay positive. After a hard shift, Ms. Dewer said it's important to stay positive and remember every day is different. "In my experience, I might have the worst day for whatever reason and the following shift might be completely different," she told AJC. "I also keep in mind that it's just 12 hours, either way. The next day is always a new day."

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