Your Personal and Professional Wellness as a Stressed Out Nurse

Your Personal and Professional Wellness as a Stressed Out Nurse

Are You A Stressed Out Nurse?

Are you a stressed out nurse? As nurses, it is our responsibility to take classes, courses, and workshops to grow during our career. Advances in procedures, medications, and scientific breakthroughs make it imperative to continue our education, especially in the area of our expertise. Without growth we would become stagnant in our field. We can also become overwhelmed and stressed out due to all the changes around us. Continuing education is one way to continue our professional growth.

One of the best ways to find continuing education targeted toward your field, is to join an association related to your chosen specialty. I’ve been an Oncology Nurse for 16 years, and for the most part have been a member of the Oncology Nursing Society. I’ve attended some of their sponsored conferences, and even headed a local Oncology nurses group where we were able to have speakers come in with programs and approved CEU’s. Most professional nursing organizations have a journal or magazine, and withing those publications are often continuing education opportunities.

Watson Caring Science Institute

My other favorite group at this time is the Holistic Nurses Association. During a time when I was pursuing a BSN, (just as a disclaimer I didn’t quite finish that due to a family priority, but just a few months away from it)  I was introduced to Dr. Jean Watson and her 10 Caritas. Dr. Watson founded the Watson Caring Science Institute and it was during this time I began to see my own personal growth as something imperative for my own wellness. I had become a stressed out nurse along my journey, and sought for ways to balance and become more resiliant.

I’ve purchased the Foundations of Holistic Nursing manual, and if this is an area of interest to you,  a program can be completed which will allow a nurse to earn 65 credit hours! What an awesome way to obtain nursing credits and grow professionally while also adding tools to enhance your own personal growth and wellness.

Improve Your Self-Care As A Nurse

In the midst of growing professionally, learning your role, and putting your all into your chosen profession, oftentimes our own attention to self-growth goes lacking. I know it certainly did in my life. This caused a myriad of issues that eventually led to a period of compassion fatigue and burnout. I didn’t have the personal tools in my belt to work through this work/life imbalance.

During my own journey, I discovered the need for personal development. I studied and became a wellness coach. I’d like to share a few of my own personal books utilized during this time. I now continue to add tools to my personal wellness belt.

1.  The Wellness Workbook, 3rd ed: How to Achieve Enduring Health and Vitality  by Dr. John W. Travis. This was one of the required books during my wellness coaching training with Wellness Inventory.

The Wellness Workbook

2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is an awesome personal account of Ms. Gilbert as her own life had become out of balance and she made some pretty drastic decisions to heal.

Eat, Pray, LoveEat, Pray, Love Movie

3. Mind over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin. This is the story of Dr. Rankin and how she hit her professional brick wall, and experienced a radical life change.

Mind Over Medicine DVDMind Over Medicine Book

4.  The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements

Those resources are a few to get you started. My rule now: always have a fun fiction book and a personal development book that I’m reading. I have found how instrumental it has been in my own life to create that work/life/play balance. In my own personal wellness journey I have found simple practices like mindfulness, attention to my breathing, and how the way I think actually has direct impact on my health and well-being.

Continuing our education as a nurse provides professional wellness. Investing in our personal wellness/development will ensure we are able to continue to be that nurturing force for others.

This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival. More posts on this topic can be found at The Days When I’m Not A Nurse. Find out how to participate.

CLICK HERE to see our host for this Carnival- and learn what other nurses have to say-

24 Responses to Your Personal and Professional Wellness as a Stressed Out Nurse

  1. Love this post, Joyce. I have read two of those exceptional books as well. I agree with you that learning is both professional and personal. Being a nurse entrepreneur, the two seem to overlap more and more these days as I find what I learn about my business makes me a better human being and vice versa. Thanks for sharing a wonderful article.

    • Yes, Elizabeth, that is the great thing about being a nurse entrepreneur. We seem to really understand the importance of personal growth, and how it affects every part of our lives. Thank you for connecting here, and the nice comments about my post.

  2. I love your post’s focus on personal development as continuing education. With the rate of nurse “burnout”, personal development education can be potentially just as important as traditional clinical continuing education. I believe that teaching nurses to focus on their own self care could make huge strides in alleviating some of the issues in nursing such as compassion fatigue and “nurse bullying”. (BTW, I am so stoked to see your personal recommendation of Eat, Pray, Love. I bought the book when it first came out. I have put off reading it… waiting to talk to someone that personally recommended it. Will definitely read it now it on your reading list!)

    • Oh yes… Eat Pray Love, was probably what I read when I started my journey toward this intense personal development. Her journey is quite awesome, and I read it long before the movie came out. Our own self care is paramount, and I realize that now. It’s only after my own journey and experience of burnout that I’ve become so passionate about sharing the importance.

  3. So true Joyce.
    We need to discover the need for personal development. If we plan to help others, we have to begin with ourselves.
    I’ll read some of the books you recommend. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you Joyce! We do really do need to begin with ourself. I’m an avid reader, so I hope you enjoy the books I’ve recommended.

  4. Joyce this is some great information and resources for nurses who need to obtain CEUs. The books that you referenced look interesting.
    I think it is really amazing that you have met Jean Watson. We actually learned about her in nursing school.

    • I totally love Jean Watson! She is a mentor of mine for sure! Love the books! Most of them keep my right brain, my creative self flowing. And in our busy hectic left brain world, we need a little creativity!

    • Self-Care… is the name of the game, and allowing ourselves to do it guilt-free. We’ve got to realize we can’t give when we have nothing to give. It’s great that we are creating a supportive nurturing environment for nurses in the community we are forming.

    • Thank you Greg! I find that keeping those personal development books along side the other has helped me in so many ways!

  5. Hi Joyce,

    Thanks for this post and your focus on self-care. The resources you make a great start. I’ve been meaning to read Eat, Pray, Love for the longest time! I love your suggestion of having a fun book and personal development at the same time.

    • Thanks Marsha! I LOVE the Eat Pray Love book. It was part of a catalyst of change for me! We’ve always got to balance that left brain with some good right brain stuff, or we really become tunnel visioned in a work/serious mode.

  6. I love your perspective of continuing education for our own self wellness – as care givers, we so frequently forget to me mindful of our own well-being. Love the book recommendations also – will have to check them out! Thanks!

    • Thank you Joan for your comments! I LOVE to read and I believe you will find those recommendations very fulfilling. We have been trained that it’s selfish to care for ourselves. But, it’s most needed.

  7. Joyce,
    I enjoy reading your articles and learning from you. I echo the important role of being members of our professional nursing associations. Too few nurses are members and support their professional organizations. Professional lifelong learning not only contributes to our profession but it can’t help but reflect our personal growth and strengthen our relationships with those around us.

    • Thank you Rachel! Personal growth is a lifelong journey and too few people really understand the importance of it. And I totally believe in getting connected with other nurses in our chosen field of interest. Even with the nurse bloggers, I feel a real sense of community coming together. We cannot be islands unto ourselves.

  8. Being a member of AORN, the association for operating room nurses, keeps me on top of the latest questions, comments and concerns in my specialty. It is monthly continuing education. I also agree that part of our continuing ed as an RN is knowing how to keep our selves healthy in mind, body and spirit so that we can provide care for our patients. Great post.

    • Thank you Jennifer! I have found great continuing ed within my focus, and that’s why I love being a member of the Holistic Nurses Association and the Oncology Nursing Society. And yes, ultimately taking care of ourselves is where we need to begin!

  9. I resonated with your post Joyce. Jean Watson was a catalyst for me when I met her at a conference I was invited to in my last year of nursing. I realized she was implementing spiritual teachings into her caritas theory. I also realized that my vision of uniting yoga with nursing was truly a calling. Jean has since endorsed my mission and vision for nursing. I admire your tenacity and hard work in sharing your message and focus on holistic nursing. This I believe will be the most impact full area for nurses and improving patient care for the now and the future of nursing. xo

    • With all the changes which have occurred in the health care field in the past several years, I truly believe this approach of the holistic nurse is what is going to bring the change needed in our field. I resonate with your work, and have the utmost respect for your mission and how well this is now being received. Dr. Watson is a wonderful woman. I haven’t personally met her yet. She and I have been in contact for years now, as I approached her on a project I was working on about 7 years ago. It is on the very top of my list to meet her and spend time with her. Thank you for your kind words. I can no longer stand by silently as a nurse. I have to speak out share my vision. Nurses need to invest in their own care, which is deeply lacking these days. Namaste!

  10. I too love this post. You can’t discount taking care of yourself. Nurses, as caregivers, don’t give to themselves as they should. Thank you for the inspiring post and list of resources to get started. I really appreciate this.

    • Thank you Lorie for connecting and sharing! It’s my intention to keep sharing the need for nurses to nurture themselves! It’s long overdue for most!