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Chapter Listing

Self-Care for Nurses - DEMO

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Defining Self-Care

Self-care is defined as care that is individualized, self-initiating, and preventative. It involves exploring a variety of techniques, both personally and professionally, to promote, enhance, and maintain well-being to care for patients and their families. Self-care is complicated and takes constant monitoring and adjusting to sustain a sense of balance in one’s life.

Self-care is well-known throughout the social services fields. The nursing and medical communities have now taken note of the importance of self-care and the increasing awareness of its necessity. The importance of self-care is currently documented, globally, in the form of practice standards, core competencies, quality standards, ethical standards, and policies. The problem lies in that the published documentation for how to achieve self-care is significantly lacking.

The literature that does discuss achieving self-care is mainly focused on coping skills for dealing with burnout and stress, which are big issues for healthcare workers, yet only begins to scratch the surface of the complexities of self-management. 

Optimal health is much more than managing stress. Studies have found practitioners define self-care incorrectly or inadequately. Also, they admit to an inability or low-adherence of self-care practices. This is reported as being due to lack of personal time, practical techniques, education, and support to do so. Therefore, there is a dire need to clarify the meaning of self-care, guide, and educate today’s practitioners with examples of current, effective self-care strategies, and identify barriers and enablers in utilizing self-care.

The profession of nursing is defined as caring for others. Therefore, nurses have added difficulty in finding time for self-care when held to abide by the high standards, high-stress situations, and high demands in today’s healthcare systems.

Nurses face long hours, diverse patient needs, life and death situations, caring for patients and their families’ physical and psychological needs, understaffing, fewer mentors and seasoned staff, intense, challenging, and emotionally and physically taxing work environments. Due to the increasing demands of the profession, nurses must find a way to balance caring for others and care for the self. Stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and burnout are serious problems facing practicing nurses.

 
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