Stress-Management Tips for Healthcare Workers
Jennifer LeClaire / Monster Contributing Writer
Whether you’re an ICU nurse dealing with life-or-death situations, a social worker counseling clients through traumatic events, a pharmacist faced with prescription quotas or another type of healthcare worker coping with your own pressures, learning to handle stress is critical to managing your career.
Ongoing stress can manifest itself in a host of physical and psychological symptoms, including headaches, sleep disturbances, poor concentration and depression. Research suggests that high stress levels may impair the immune system and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Read how three healthcare professionals cope with job-related stress, and see how you can apply these strategies to your own career:
Talk It Out
Myra Rolfes is a nurse in the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU) at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where babies with life-threatening genetic problems are treated.
“Kids die in our unit pretty frequently,” says Rolfes, a 25-year veteran of the hospital. “Sometimes there is nothing we can do but provide support to the family. It’s pretty stressful.”
Rolfes was near emotional burnout once after several patients died, but talk therapy got her through. “A team of chaplains meets with us regularly to talk about the stress and provide emotional support,” she says. “Sometimes the staff gets together right in the NICU [to] talk it out and support one another. That really renews my spirit.”
Some of the hospital’s workplace benefits, such as an on-site massage service and discounted gym memberships, can also help employees alleviate stress. In addition, the hospital runs “Club Med,” a wellness program offering photography, yoga and other classes designed to reduce stress and encourage work/life balance.