Managing Emotions as a Nurse

Managing Emotions as a Nurse

The nursing profession is arguably one of the most rewarding but also stressful and emotionally challenging careers. To succeed, you require a high level of emotional intelligence and self-regulation. The profession is a deeply human practice that exposes you to pain and suffering as well as death.

Whether you work in emergency rooms, maternity wards, or pediatrics, you are sure to deal with emotionally draining events daily. But you will also witness live affirming events as well. The birth of a baby, someone waking up from a coma, a patient pulling through despite all odds, can all remind you why you do this job and the importance of the work you are performing daily.

Why Does a Nurse Need to Manage Their Emotions?

As a healthcare professional, you are bound to interpret the phenomenon of illness and death based on personal understanding and beliefs. For some reason, regular academic curricula do not incorporate palliative care and thanatology.

A number of key facts stand out when it comes to handling stressful aspects of nursing. These include ineffective coping, lack of preparation, beliefs, and personal fears. Many nurses experience uneasiness when using equipment, such as life support systems. Additionally, care teams usually insist on saving lives even when the odds of success are stacked against them.

In response, healthcare administrators are increasingly placing emphasis on the need for specific preparation towards better adaptation. If no coping strategies are developed, the professionals experience stress, fear, and anxiety. Ultimately, the problems may lead to mental disorders, which are associated with the burnout syndrome.

Some studies have revealed that anthropological-based training can be effective when preparing student nurses for future roles. Also, occupational excellence and personal interest stand out as key influential factors.

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How do Nurses Use Emotional Intelligence (EI) in the Jobs?

For many nurses, dealing with bodily fluids on a day-to-day basis is fairly easy. However, managing emotions is more complicated. The situation is worsened by the need to handle the emotions of both patients and their relatives. A lack of exposure to this aspect as part of nursing orientation compounds the situation.

People handle emotional or stressful events differently. For some, maintaining composure comes naturally while others need to learn self-regulation. Emotional intelligence is as important as cognitive abilities and technical skills in determining competence in the healthcare profession.

Successful staff nurses are usually characterized by an average or above average emotional intelligence. As such, developing your EI is crucial for building a successful career in this field.

Some of the effective coping mechanisms include:

  • Having faith in a higher power
  • Identifying and accepting your emotions
  • Adopting a positive attitude
  • Using a supportive social network
  • Practicing healthy lifestyle habits
  • Perceiving pain, suffering, and death as part of a natural process
  • Holding onto purpose and meaning in life.

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Successful Nurses Identify Emotions and Learn to Cope With Them

Identifying and accepting your emotions is a vital step towards becoming emotionally intelligent. This allows you to prepare yourself when faced with stressful situations. From handling irate patients to dealing with the loss of life, it is important to identify your areas of weakness. You may need to take a deep breath or seek assistance from an experienced colleague.

In some cases, maintaining a humorous outlook provides an effective coping mechanism. It can lighten the mood when dealing with complex patients or their relatives. The approach can come in handy even in the most stressful environments.

Identifying emotions in other people is also key to adopting a professional attitude. Learn to read changes in temperament. Doing so enables you to handle the situation better and helps avoid taking changes in behavior personally.

Rather, you will maintain a professional attitude by investigating the source of anger or frustration by listening to the patient. Give the patient the opportunity to vent and acknowledge their feelings. As a result, you can provide practical solutions for a favorable outcome. If tempted to become defensive, simply take a deep breath and calm yourself down.

Honing Empathy Skills as Nurse

Empathy is an important quality in nursing. It allows to connect and assist patients on an emotional level. However, it can be emotionally draining to exercise empathy in every situation given the nature of your work. Make an effort to provide uplifting comments without developing an emotional connection.

Managing Emotions as a Nurse

Are you prepared for the continued emotional demands of nursing? If you would like to earn your Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, consider ECPI University for the education you’ll need to take on more responsibility in your work. For more information, connect with a friendly admissions advisor today.

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