WILKES-BARRE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A day in the life of a nurse can be stressful. Often it’s long hours of emotionally draining work dealing with patients’ needs and making critical decisions. “Any kind of an acute situation. That’s the stressful part because you don’t know. The not knowing I think is the part,” said John Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital’s Clinical Nurse Manager Erin Pilch.
The stress can lead to burnout if left unchecked. Stress is why John Heinz Rehabilitation Hospital recently launched a stress reduction program. The teacher is Marywood University student Amanda Reed who works as a nurses aide at the rehab facility. “I get to see what the nurses do on the floor every day. I work alongside them every day so I feel like I was able to do the research behind this topic and see the need for it,” she said.
Ms. Reed demonstrated such techniques as breathing exercises and meditation during the five week course which ended on Wednesday. “I teach them different strategies that they could use maybe to help if they’re having a stressful week.”
Another stress that nurses face is the shortage of nurses in the region. It puts more strain on such a valuable profession. Staffing challenges result in heavy workloads. Combine that with the emotional toll of the nursing work itself and it can be overwhelming. That’s why the American Nurses Association encourages activities like the stress reduction program to help nurses cope. “You don’t have to deal with it on your own. There are, there are resources you can use. And bringing this class to us, we have the resources,” said Ms. Pilch.
In a 2011 survey by the American Nurses Association, three out of four nurses cited the effects of stress and overwork as a top health concern. The ANA attributed problems of fatigue and burnout to a chronic nursing shortage.