While we have little control over how busy the unit is, how sick the patients are, or how understaffed we are, there a few things we as individuals can do to create a better work environment. We do have control over our own actions, reactions, and thinking. Here are just a few ways you the individual can contribute to a better working environment.
Show up Rested
While this is sometimes easier said than done, try to get a good night’s sleep the night before your shift. Create a routine that is conducive to solid sleep. Your brain needs rest. Your coworkers and patients are counting on you showing up rested.
Show Up Nourished
In addition to being rested, be sure to eat before your shift starts, even if it is something small. Opt for something high protein that will hold you for a while. There is no way to predict when you will have a break. A nourished mind is an alert mind. An alert mind makes fewer mistakes.
Show Up Healthy
If you are sick, you are of no service to your coworkers or your patients. Stay home. Do not feel guilty. While it is sometimes impossible to avoid, try calling in with ample time. It is impossible to give your best when you are not well yourself and showing up sick puts both your patients and coworkers at risk for being infected.
Show Up Positive
Make the decision as you are walking through the doors that you will remain positive in spite of the challenges that confront you. Deflect the negativity of others. Try to put a pause on any personal problems during your shift. Positivity is contagious. Positivity spreads like wildfire. A simple smile to a coworker can make the difference in not only your day, but theirs as well.
Show Up Helpful
Helping others is an essential part of our job description. It is why we do what we do. We gain tenfold what we give in serving others. Don’t just go out of your way for your patients, help a coworker that is sinking if you have the time. It will be long remembered.
Try to incorporate any of the mentioned tips into your daily work routine. Remember to take care of yourself so you are able to better take care of others. Thank you today and every day for what you do. Until next time.
Lori is an American nurse and yogini living in Gothenburg, Sweden. She contributes regularly to Mighty Nurse, AWHONN, American Nurse Today, and has been featured in The Huffington Post. Follow her adventures through her blog, Neonurse, or on Instagram.