A Reminder for Nurses to Look After Themselves Over Christmas
Published: 21 December 2016
Published: 21 December 2016
With a bump in hospital presentations of between 20 and 40% over Christmas holidays, it is essential for nurses to ensure that they are caring for themselves, as well as those in their care, at this busy time (Western Sydney Local Health District 2015; Kelly 2015).
Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) (2015) highlights that Christmas can exacerbate feelings of loneliness, resulting in more hospitalisations for depression and self-harm. This should emphasise the need for nurses, like all people, to be extra mindful of any signs of mental health issues over summer and to seek professional help immediately if any concerns arise.
Heart health is another important aspect of nurses looking after themselves over the festive season. Kelly (2015) reported that deaths from heart issues escalate by 5% over the Christmas holidays, with the most incidents occurring on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Again, like the rest of the community, nurses should be aware of their intake of alcohol over summer. VicHealth (2012) conveys that there is a significant increase in alcohol-related issues in the days prior to most public holidays. It is reported that December is the month of the year with the most need for emergency services support for cases of alcohol intoxication and assaults.
To truly look after yourself, it is necessary to take care of your overall wellbeing. Better Health Channel describes wellbeing as the way you feel about yourself and your life.
Mind Health Connect (2014) recognise the following elements that can contribute to a person’s wellbeing:
Based on these factors, suggestions to help look after yourself this summer could include:
(Better Health Channel 2016)
Therefore, from a professional perspective, it is important to reflect on your career and consider if your work contributes to your wellbeing. If not, it may be time to consider ‘finding enjoyable and rewarding’ work. This may mean looking at other roles, departments, organisations, occupations, or even the amount of time spent working.
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Madeline Gilkes, CNS, RN, is a Fellow of the Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine. She focused her master of healthcare leadership research project on health coaching for long-term weight loss in obese adults. In recent years, Madeline has found a passion for preventative nursing, transitioning from leadership roles (CNS Gerontology & Education, Clinical Facilitator) in hospital settings to primary healthcare nursing. Madeline’s vision is to implement lifestyle medicine to prevent and treat chronic conditions. Her brief research proposal for her PhD application involves Lifestyle Medicine for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Madeline is working towards Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE) status and primarily works in the role of Head of Nursing. Madeline’s philosophy focuses on using humanistic management, adult learning theories/evidence and self-efficacy theories and interventions to promote positive learning environments. In addition to her Master of Healthcare Leadership, Madeline has a Graduate Certificate in Diabetes Education & Management, Graduate Certificate in Adult & Vocational Education, Graduate Certificate of Aged Care Nursing, and a Bachelor of Nursing. See Educator Profile