You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

Albert Einstein

Howdy to all my readers,

How are you all doing, have you been well??

It’s been a long month since the day we last spoke and for that I appologise… Consistency is not my strong point at this moment.

Instead of the usual blog post about Pixel and I’s adventures,
being the 10th October is World Mental Health Day,
I’m going to talk about the culture of nursing and its levels of burn out.

What is burn out? According to the burnout is a physical, mental, and emotional state caused by chronic overwork and a sustained lack of job fulfillment and support. Common burnout symptoms may include physical or emotional exhaustion, job-related cynicism, and a low sense of personal accomplishment.

Now, how does this relate to me. Well, as I’m sure you’ve read my previous blogs, you would know that I work in an ED on the east coast of Australia. The region I live in is beautiful, and most of the photos on my blog were taken by me whilst experimenting with my new camera.

There is the hidden dark side of this area, domestic violence, mental health problems, drug and alcohol dependency. This area is also known for its indigenous populations and low socio economic status. This makes for very interesting shifts in the ED each and every day. Now I’m not saying that every shift is awful, quite the opposite, there are days where your patients are absolutely amazing, polite, kind, and they understand that you may not be able to get everything done for them straight away. Then you get the days where, not only are you pushed by your patients to be available for them, but you also have management pushing you to have patients to the ward within a certain time frame. These days are the ones where you question your job and why you chose this profession.

There are days where you are short on staff, there are also days where you don’t have the support from the receiving clinical team on the ward. The team work culture in nursing at the moment is very limited to the area you work. When I started nursing, my understanding is that we are all part of a team with the common goal to look after each patient, not one area against the other.

It is so disappointing that my personal experience of nursing has come down to this. We should all be a team, with the one goal of supporting our patients and our fellow nursing colleagues, educating and supporting the new graduate nurses, and building each other up.

Aim to be the person asking “are you okay? Can I help you with your tasks?” We are a 24/7 service within the hospital setting, not an 8.5 hr/10 hr – 12 hr service, if something isn’t finished by the end of shift, instead of criticising your fellow nurse, how about uplifting them and asking, “what hasn’t been done, can I help you with anything before you leave?”

I have found some nurses are quick to judge and write a fellow nurse off without actually talking to them and asking how their shift is going. There is so much that can happen in one shift, so many emotions that a nurse will feel, the one simple question of “Are you okay” can make a persons shift ten times better. Be the support that you would want if you were struggling.

So what can we do to assist with nursing burnout and exhaustion?
– Know when to say NO to overtime and extra shifts
– YOU ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU – Focus on your health
– Be supportive of new staff – No matter their level of experience
– Know your boundaries, know when you’re overworking yourself
– It’s okay to take a mental health day if you’re feeling overwhelmed and exhausted
– Try another area of nursing, make a change for a little while
– Utilise the EAP (employee assistance program) if your hospital has one – It’s free and confidential
– Have outside of work activities – Hobbies (Mine is photography, I’m not great but I’m learning)

“It’s ok to be human.”

― Marushia Dark, Thelema: Book 0 – The Fool

I have found that it is okay to not be okay and it’s healthy to take some time off for self care.

If you’re ever in a place where you feel you’re struggling with your mental health and stressors in life, there are always places you can call or people you can talk too. (Australian numbers)
LifeLine – 13 11 14 – plus an online service
Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636 – plus an online service
Employee Assistance Program within your company
000 – Australia wide emergency number.
There are many other support services out there – you’re never far away from help. Someone is always willing to help. Talk to your GP about having a support system in place too.

Now I realise that I haven’t really talked about Pixel and I at all this time, I will still attach some photos of our month because – why not!

So please enjoy – Rose-Ann and Pixel signing off xo

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