How to keep your sanity as a nurse

Stories - Diagnosis StethoscopeSanity as a nurse is a downright necessity.

Nurses like to joke about keeping their sanity, but it is really something that needs to be attended to if you’re going to be happy as a nurse.

Of course, we are not talking about clinical insanity as a nurse, but we are talking about keeping your cool, acting well under pressure, and being happy with your situation in nursing.

Yes, it is possible, but you have to work at it.

If you are a nurse who feels like you’ve been driven insane by your job, then you need to stop and take store of what you’re doing with your career.

You also need to cultivate a few personal traits that will help you get through the stress of the job.

Mini Vacations

Nurses have to be masters of the mini vacation. Yes, you can take your weekend and go somewhere special, but that isn’t exactly what a mini vacation means.

It means that you can separate yourself from the situation, if only for a little bit. The bathroom, the break room, or the cafeteria are all good locations for you to take a mini vacation.

It is hard to get away from the hectic pace of being a nurse, but if you go to these isolated places and visualize yourself somewhere relaxing, you may find that you feel more at ease.

Going on a mini vacation may seem funny, but the distance you will create between yourself and the craziness of the floor is actually helpful. Go somewhere, meditate, think about home, and then gear yourself up for the rest of your shift.


Organization will get you far as a nurse and help to ward off the insanity that comes with a crazy shift. You should already have a “brain” sheet that can help you to sort your patients and their information quickly and effectively.

You should also have a rough schedule for how your shift is going to go. Of course, anyone who has worked on a nursing unit knows that schedules go out the window, but knowing that you have a game plan can keep you from reactionary responses.

It is important to prevent reactions to preserve your sanity because this helps you feel like you are in control. Organization gives you power over a sometimes powerless situation.

Besides organization sheets and schedules, you should also have rituals for how you assess, how you chart, and how you give report. By codifying these matters, you can help to keep yourself sane when the you-know-what hits the fan.


As a nurse, you need to be assertive to protect your sanity. If you are a shrinking violet who doesn’t stand up for themselves, then you’re going to have a difficult time working as a nurse.

You need to be assertive with patients to ensure that they get the care they need. This is not bullying or aggression, but speaking up for yourself and the treatments you recommend.

You will need to be assertive with doctors to ensure that your patient gets the treatments they need. If you meekly accept what the doctor orders when you know better, not only will you lose your sanity but you will put your patient in danger.

Finally, you will need assertiveness when dealing with coworkers and management. Sometimes those who are supposed to help us can hurt us, and we need to speak to these people with assertiveness to retain our sanity.

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