Nurses Need A Nurse for Nurses
In a recent study conducted by United Kingdom’s National Health Service showed that 300 nurses committed suicide in their country from 2011 to 2017. In 2014, one nurse committed suicide each week. That nurses would take their own lives is appalling and sad. Nursing is so stressful. Remember the nurse in England who gave out confidential information to a radio show thinking the caller was the Queen and, the nurse in Seattle that gave a baby a lethal dose of medication, both took their own life because they could not live with themselves.
Given the recent events in El Paso, Dayton and Philadelphia where nurses took care of victims from these horrific tragedies, who was there to help the NURSE? When there is a tragedy in schools, grief counselors are there to assist the students in dealing with their feelings.
Fortunately, UC-San Diego is doing something about it. Feeling it is time for nurses to get the mental health assistance they need; they are pushing as part of the health system to provide services to their nurses.
Nurses are expected to be stoic and even after a tragic loss, would be lucky to get a ten-minute break to grieve that loss.
The USC School of Medicine created the Healer Education Assessment and Referral Program, also known as “HEAR”, which takes a proactive approach to self-care for health care professionals.
I would love to see more programs like these to help nurses deal with the difficult situations in which they find themselves. Here are some suggestions to help you. First, nurses are not good at reaching out for help. We think we have to do everything ourselves. If you feel you are normally able to deal with stress and trauma but find you are having a harder time dealing with things which shows up in anger, frustration and irritability, get help from a competent mental health counselor or your EAP (Employee Assistance Program) which is required to keep everything confidential and is free. Next, make sure you are getting enough quality sleep. Lack of sleep can trigger negative emotions. Lastly, talk to others. Be part of a community whether it is inside or outside of nursing to help you process your feelings without revealing confidential information.
While tragedy in the workplace can be a big trigger, I am also curious how many nurses may have taken their lives because of a Nursing Board matter.
I’d like to hear in the comments below how your facility helps you with stress and mental health issues.