As nurses, we like to think that we are both strong and caring. But caring has its hardships and can take a toll on our mental health. Compassion Fatigue can set in and we are often unaware or in denial. Even if we are aware, nurses often suppress these feelings because they feel like failures. After all, compassion is core to nursing and sadness is considered part of the job (https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/913202).
June is National Safety Month (https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/JuneToolkit2.aspx). With the many safety topics to consider, I decided we should take a look at our medicine cabinets, where we can often find prescription drug misuse going on.
Cases of resistant infections are increasing; they are called superbugs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 2 million cases of resistant infections annually in the U.S. and 23,000 fatalities as a result. Unfortunately, many healthcare facilities, patients, and providers are not eager to talk about it. Facilities are concerned about their reputations, and people are embarrassed about being contagious.
When you receive a medical bill for your doctor visit, medical tests or hospitalization, do you feel like you need a tutorial to decipher the bill?
Yoga is a practice that we all can do. It starts with the breath – an extended and deeper breath. With a simple focusing of our breath, we can start on a journey that improves our well being. This breathing process helps to take us away from the flight-or-fight mode, in which many of us live everyday. Personally, I do not know anyone who is not feeling stressed, to some degree. Do you?
Our healthcare workers in this country are assaulted on a regular basis. The people who are saving our lives and managing the sick are being hit, kicked, scratched, bitten and spat at, as well as threatened and harassed. Even worse, the violence in our hospital emergency departments is escalating. What is even more disturbing is that assault in this line of work is considered the cultural norm. The violence is thought of as “part of the job” (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009917671300216X).
Our Spiritual Well-Being
We typically address the impact of mental and physical distress on our health, but what about spiritual distress? Our spiritual well-being is often left out and gets muddled with our emotional well-being, but they are not the same. Emotion is described as a reaction to a person, object, or situation in our life; it can be real or a thought. Our emotional responses are often connected to past experiences and are distinguished from reason or knowledge. Spirituality addresses the “big picture” – a search for meaning in our lives.
Good mental health does not simply mean the absence of problems; it refers to the way you feel about yourself, your ability to cope and manage difficulties, as well as establishing quality relationships.
Too many people try to keep it a secret: It is embarrassing to talk about grandma’s or grandpa’s drug addiction, but at least 20% of the population over the age of 65 suffers with drug abuse problems (https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics/). Researchers suspect underreporting, with the statistic for drug addiction likely being much higher.
Let’s go back in time – over 2,500 years ago. Hippocrates (the father of medicine) wrote in 400 B.C., “All parts of the body which have a function if used in moderation and exercised in labors in which each is accustomed, become thereby healthy, well developed and age more slowly, but if unused and left idle they become liable to disease, defective in growth and age quickly” (https://www.nuigalway.ie/media/schoolofpsychology/KDowd_21Feb2018_NUIG_Health-Behaviour-Change_Final.pdf).
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