Did you know that nurses have a higher rate of PTSD (compassion fatigue as we refer to it in healthcare) than soldiers coming home from war? Critical Care nurses have a 20-40% rate while Med/Surg nurses have a 14% rate of meeting the DSM-IV criteria for PTSD. And guess what? When a nurse suffers from PTSD there is almost a certainty that the nurse experiences symptoms of burnout syndrome.
Why is no one talking about this? Who is taking care of our Nurses?
Think about what you, as a nurse, go through. We need to start taking care of you! Most people only think of PTSD as affecting military and first responders, but what about the “last responders”, as I like to call us. We are there when people fight for their last breaths and we are there supporting families as they grieve for loved ones. Each life and death is etched into the heart of the nurses caring for them. And what support do you get? You probably even hear something like this:
- Oh, your patient is going to die? Then you can take the next admission
- Did you call organ procurement?
- Is the paperwork done?
- Is the family still here?
- Did you send the body to the morgue?
- ER’s on the line….Can you take report?
- Are you ready for the next patient?
There is very little, if any, time for a nurse to process the immense emotions that occur with the loss of a patient or even a stressful event. We just ask nurses to suppress the stressful feelings and keep moving. That over time takes its toll on your body.
This is why I love Nursing Nidra. We give nurses access to tools that exist for integrating mind, body, and spirit and calming the internal chaos. I wish we could create more time in your work for you, but we can help you take the time you have and have it work for you instead of against you. You deserve time to process those emotions and not hold it within your body forever!