The Importance of Self-Care for Nurses

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The Importance of Exercise and Other Self-Care Modalities for Nurses

The profession of nursing requires a capacity and joy for caring and healing others both mentally and physically. Nurses spend their careers caring for patients and their families often in the worst and most frightening periods of their lives. Nursing responsibilities can be lengthy, stressful and physically and emotionally demanding. The demands of the nursing profession coupled with the nursing shortage and longer work hours put even more stress on nurses. Despite these extreme demands, many nurses do not fully appreciate the importance self-care. Yet without proper care for themselves, nurses are not able to provide the best care for their patients.
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319). Sadly, Hedi’s lack of self-care is common to many nurses young and old throughout the country. Although many of the older nurses reported neglecting their own needs the study outlined several great self-care strategies for older nurses. These self-care strategies included; regular exercise, eating healthy, and taking time for yourself. Eating healthy is especially important for nurses because many nurses do not take time during their shifts to eat or drink water. One nurse stated “meal breaks, that’s got to be the biggest laugh out”, while yet another nurse said “I don’t drink water…basically, I have coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee” (Gabrielle, et al., 2008, p. 321). After implementing self-care strategies outlined in the study many nurses reported having decreased aches and pains, lower blood pressure, decreased weight and overall better mental and physical health. Nurses who engaged in regular physical activities also reported better eating and drinking habits. Sara, a midwife of 44 years, had type-2 diabetes, obesity, and osteoarthritis from lack of self-care. Sara adopted a regular exercise program, changed her diet and cut back on her work hours. After making these changes she stated, “I’ve lost 36 kilos, I go to the gym, I walk, I swim. I do all the things I said I
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