Nursing in the Big Apple can be overwhelming.
Between the high volume of patients and the city’s normal hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to find a moment of relaxation and reflection.
That being said, there are few places where doing so is more important. Surviving and thriving in New York means being intentional with free time - building a space to clear your mind and focus on self-improvement.
Creating Space Amidst Chaos
With long shifts where seemingly anything can happen, it may feel like the only way to settle down post-work is to flop on the bed and grab some shut-eye.
While rest is incredibly important, there are a few ways nurses can transition from work to personal life without running themselves ragged.
- Enjoy the Little Things - find a smell or a snack that brings you joy, something that can calm you down and ease you into your personal life. Nurses deal with intense smells and experiences all day long. A small investment in self-care can make all the difference in separating work from home life.
- Finding a Local Spot - coffee shop, public greenspace, wine bar; whatever floats your boat that’s outside of your home. Find a place where you can take a deep breath and experience the city outside of the hospital and your own home. New Yorkers often deal with shoe-box apartments, don’t let those four-walls become a prison.
- White Noise, Not Just for Sleep - whether a wellness app on your phone or a device with pre-set options, spending some time in reflection with some white noise can help you clear your mind and leave work behind. Creating intentional habits - whether meditation or just a moment of peace and quiet - can help nurses to destress and truly appreciate their personal lives.
Never underestimate the power of taking a breather. Running from one thing to the next can only work for so long before becoming burnt out and beat.
Exploring these options can not only help nurses to create a work-life balance, they can help improve productivity and create opportunities for self improvement.
Identifying Areas for Self-Improvement
With the constant grind of nursing work, it can feel like the easiest way to survive is to simply exist - make it to your shifts on time, offer strong support to patients, crash at home, and do it all again.
With this cycle, months and years can pass in a blink of an eye. Then the question is: what now? Time has passed, but have you improved your nursing skills? Have you expanded your knowledge base? Are you putting yourself in the best position for career advancement?
By taking the time post-shift to center yourself and leave work behind, nurses are better able to reflect on their needs, their goals, and how they can work towards bettering themselves.
Maximizing Periods of Reflection
Nurses that have taken the time to decompress and shake off the stress of the workday should consider asking themselves three key questions:
- What is the next step in my career?
- Where do I want to hone my expertise and expand my knowledge?
- How can I deliver a better experience to patients, and ultimately support their wellbeing?
While broad, these questions can help nurses to identify some key opportunities in their own lives. These questions are not meant to be stressors - they are meant to be motivators.
Identifying these key points can help nurses to determine not only what they want to focus on in their career, but why that focus can help them.
The question becomes: when and how can you get there?
- Mentorship - developing relationships with more senior nurses who have been in your position and understand the challenges you’re facing. They may have helpful tips to expand your medical knowledge, or insights into how you can manage the day-to-day grind.
- Nursing-Focused Publications - comprehensive and organized tips and tricks to help you improve the quality of your work. These can be great resources for nurses looking for tried-and-true solutions to the problems they face in a busy New York hospital environment.
- Continuing Education Programs - meeting state and federal requirements while expanding your knowledge-base to ultimately improve your work, expand your opportunities, and advance your career.
The Power of Continuing Education
Programs like those offered by NYRequirements.com can be a key for nurses looking to meet their education requirements and level-up in their roles.
Working in New York puts nurses in some difficult situations. With such a massive population, nurses end up encountering intense issues on a daily basis.
Take, for example, the devastating impact that abuse can have on a child. Encountering a situation of child abuse in the midst of a draining shift can be incredibly difficult - it can be hard to know what to do, who to talk to, and how to hopefully help the child in an impossible situation.
That’s why NYRequirements offers a course focused on identifying and reporting child abuse and maltreatment/neglect. Programs like these arm nurses with the tools and knowledge to help them tackle the toughest challenges they see day-in and day-out.
Or, consider end-of-life care and the distribution of controlled substances. Managing what could be the most stressful moment in a patient’s life with kindness and compassion can be a tall order, and is something nurses in New York can frequently encounter.
Training courses focused on delivering that high-touch care in accordance with state and federal regulations can help nurses improve the services they deliver to patients and hopefully create a safe environment for those individuals.
Investing in Yourself
When can these nurses tackle these educational programs? Either during designated educational days from their place of employment, or during the free time that they can carve out of their day.
Being able to separate work from personal life, while keeping a focus on short- and long-term professional goals, is a key to being a successful nurse - especially in New York.
Nursing has never been easy, it takes a unique drive and immense empathy. For nurses that have made it to the Big Apple, you have already accomplished something incredible. Now it’s time to continue working, continue getting better, and continue serving the community.