Table of Contents
- Assessment. Planning and Implementation
- Evaluation and New Learning
Chronic stress is a precursor for most health problems in today’s society. The start of most health problems, can likely be traced back to chronic stress. Chronic stress releases levels of cortisol higher than normal. Cortisol is a hormone released from someone with chronic stress, which can negatively affect the body’s ability to function. Getting sick is another negative factor of being overly stressed. Chronic stress compromises your immune system and stress hormones affect the body’s ability to fight off illness due to the fact that thymus’s ability to stimulate and coordinate the white blood cell activity. Working in the health care field, caring for others is often at the expense of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Health care professionals are particularly vulnerable to stress overload and compassion fatigue due to an emotionally exhausting environment. (Raab, 2014, p. 95)
Assessment. Planning and Implementation
This assignment requires the assessment to change a behavior or practice in order to promote a healthier lifestyle. Then try to analyze the factors which influenced progress towards this process. The behavior I would like to change is the taking care of my mental wellness to prevent chronic stress. The assessment was done using various stress-related tools that are available to measure the impact of stress on mental and physical well-being, including the Thomas Holmes’s Life Change Index Scale as mentioned by Kozier (2018). An assessment to identify stressors that are present was done and for indicators of stress or stress related health problems.
There are many stressors in my life such as time stress, work stress, financial stress and college stress. And I do many meetings and am on the Joint Health and Safety Committee for work. And there are other stressors which I have no control over. With the demands of working plus additional demands such as college, I feel shortness of time, and I feel that there are just not enough hours in the day, which causes stress. I am always stressing about not having time to get everything done or not having time to do the things I enjoy doing. In the past, I was almost at the point of burnout. At the time, I had many stressors, including working two jobs.
The plan is to reduce stress levels through use of relaxation techniques and other implementation strategies of at least one alternative method of reducing stress. One of the employer’s had me attend workshops on stress, burnout, PSTD, compassion fatigue, and vicarious trauma. The workshops provided useful information, along with many tips and techniques. It was stressed how vital self-care was along with mediation and journaling.
The textbook listed some techniques for nurses to reduce the stress, there is one which that reflects me, what I am constantly working on. “Learn to accept failures—your own and others’—and make it a constructive learning experience. Recognize that most people do the best they can. Learn to ask for help, to show your feelings with colleagues, and to support your colleagues in times of need. “(Kozier et al., 2018
Self-care is a vital tool to use for achieving mental well-being. When one practices self-care, it will help them balance work with other aspects of their lives, to reduce stress, and have clarity when creating goals. Research has demonstrated many positive outcomes related to the implementation of self-care activities for nurses and HCPs including the ability to confidently manage complex clinical dilemmas with emotional resilience, decreasing impairment from burnout, compassion fatigue, and moral distress, professional and personal wellbeing through career and life satisfaction. ('Nurses need self-care,' n.d.) It is easy to give recommendations on self-care to others; however, it is a challenge to follow those recommendations personally. The goal for my self-care plan is to set aside at least one hour a day doing nothing! This time will allow me to recharge, unwind, and reflect on the day. With the start of nursing school, I felt that I needed to develop a plan to improve time management, this will allow me to see how not prioritizing tasks effectively can lead to ineffective studying, time management, and stress.
RPNAO has a module and worksheets based on hearing from a provincial Innovation Fund tour in 2017 that nurses were looking for education and support with engaging in self-care. The purpose of the Self-care for Nurses module is to introduce nurses and other health care providers (HCPs) to the concepts, theory, and philosophy of self-care to help support nurses and other HCPs to care for themselves so that they may continue to provide the highest quality care for others. ('Nurses need self-care,' n.d.) Self-care helps nurses cope with the stressors of their profession and restore and maintain balance in our lives. By completing the module and the worksheets, I feel that I have a better self-care plan in place. The site also has apps which I have not used any yet but plan on it. This module I would recommend other nurses to take.
Another thing I have done is formed a support system with a few of my co-workers so we can debrief when we need to. It has evolved to us also going to each other for personal issues too. We try to do a weekly coffee time, but we do get together twice a month. There will be stressors that I cannot control, and there will be relapses, but this paper with the research did help me to form a better plan. Moreover, my family has to come to respect my need for alone time; they understand that some days at work are more stressful than usual. With all the stressors that I face, I need to ensure that I am eating healthy, taking time for me to stay mentally well.
Evaluation and New Learning
The transtheoretical model of behavior change, also known as the stages of change model, states that there are five stages towards behavior change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. The stage I reached in the Transtheoretical Model for each of my goals are action and maintenance. The stages of change explain when and why people change. The transtheoretical theory is that people change for different reasons; some are ready to change at different times than others. It is important to note that this model is considered circular, and people tend to move back and forth through these stages.
These processes of change are divided into two categories; cognitive and behavioral. Cognitive is the thinking process of change and behavioral is the action process of change. The transtheoretical model suggests that people use different strategies, techniques or different amounts of each at different stages in their change process. Self-efficacy refers to confidence and an individual’s experience with confidence to perform specific behaviors in specific situations. Self-efficacy is a good predictor of behavior change. An individual with higher self-efficacy may be more likely to change a behavior even if the situation doesn’t have any positive reinforcements (Campbell, Eichhorn, Early, Caraccioli, Greely, 2012).
Self-care and mindfulness training is said to alleviate the pressure and intense working condition of nursing. Self-care, mindfulness, and client-centered therapy are major focuses in professional nursing. Nurses are challenged to be role models for their patients. Providing self-care demonstrates healthy lifestyle choices. Mindfulness also goes hand- in-hand with self-care because it helps people cope with stress. When the nurse is healthier, the patient care is better. Self-care is not a given right; it must be achieved and worked for. Making goals will benefit the nurse and her patients in the long run.
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- Canada, H. (2008, January 7). Mental Health - Coping With Stress. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/lifestyles/your-health-mental-health-coping-stress-health-canada-2008.html
- Kozier, B. J., Erb, G., Berman, A. T., Snyder, S., Frandsen, G., Buck, M., Ferguson, L., Yiu, L., & Stamler, L. L. (2017). Fundamentals of Canadian Nursing: Concepts, Process, and Practice, Fourth Canadian Edition, Loose Leaf Version.
- Mental Health Promotion: A Framework for Action. (2008, September 26). Retrieved from https://cmha.ca/documents/mental-health-promotion-a-framework-for-action
- Nurses need self-care. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.rpnao.org/content/nurses-need-self-care
- Public Health Agency of Canada. (2016, May 3). Promoting positive mental health. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/promoting-positive-mental-health.html
- Raab, K. (2014). Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Empathy Among Health Care Professionals: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Health Care Chaplaincy, 20(3), 95-108. doi:10.1080/08854726.2014.913876