It takes courage to leave your family and friends behind and start an assignment as a travel nurse. Not only are you moving to a new city, but you’re starting a new job at the same time. But even the most adventurous nurse might have to deal with stress and high-pressure situations.
Nurses working in the ICU and emergency room may routinely deal with critically ill patients. But regardless of what area or specialty of nursing you work in, you may be faced with an emergency.
Although it’s stressful to care for a patient who develops a life-threatening condition, it’s not the only pressure you may feel as a nurse. In some cases, you might have to deal with working understaffed or with a hostile patient or family member. Occasionally, a mass casualty incident or a natural disaster may cause an influx in patients, which creates a high-pressure situation.
The reality is at least some of the time, stress and nursing go hand in hand. Working as a nurse traveler may also add another element of stress since you are new to the facility and its policies and protocols. Whether you’re an experienced nurse or a rookie, there are several things to keep in mind to stay calm and carry on.
- Take a deep breath: When you get stressed, the fight or flight response kicks in. Your heart beats faster and your blood pressure rises. To calm down, take a few deep breaths. Although it seems basic, deep breathing can help you relax so you can assess the situation and determine what needs to be done.
- Focus on the task at hand: If you’re faced with a situation, such as a code blue, it’s easy to become stressed. Remember to rely on your skills and training. Focus on what is in front of you and the tasks you have. You’ll have time after the event to deal with emotions.
- Work as a team: When you’re dealing with a stressful situation, don’t try to be a hero and go it alone. If you have a large patient workload or a critical patient, enlist the help of your coworkers. Nursing often involves teamwork.
- Use humor: Although laughing may not be appropriate in all cases, finding the humor in a situation can be helpful. It might not always be easy, but when you can laugh a little at yourself, it can ease tension.
- Keep perspective: Nurses have a lot to deal with, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When you start to feel the pressure, try to keep perspective. Seeing the bigger picture helps you avoid blowing things out of proportion. Certain things are not as critical as they seem when you maintain perspective.
- Take care of yourself: It’s easier to deal with pressure when you take good care of yourself. Get enough sleep, exercise and find ways to unwind. Make taking care of yourself a priority, so you can handle whatever comes your way.