Most nurses will tell you that they wouldn’t be able to get through their shift without the help and support of their colleagues. It is very difficult to safely care for patients without other able bodies to help you during an emergency, or consult with over a patient/medication/equipment issue, etc. Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help; if you are unsure about something, or have any doubts, ask someone else (who knows just as much, or more, than you do) what they think. My advice is to always follow your gut instincts and question things that don’t sound or feel right. Nurses cannot work in silos; neither can nurse leaders. Working together can build stronger teams who are kinder, and who instinctually know how to help each other.
Some days it can be hard to leave your work at the job, and you bring it home…you think about a difficult patient or situation, and how you could have handled it differently; you pray for a patient’s relief of pain, or hope that their condition improves during the next shift, and that he/she is still there when you return to work the next day…sometimes they are not. Yes, it can be hard to stop thinking about work, but it is important to try to do so for your own health and well-being. It can be equally hard, maybe even harder, to leave your personal life at home, and not bring it to work with you. We all have our “stuff” that we carry, be it a sick child or parent at home, family emergency, broken furnace, loss of a beloved pet, concern over our own health issues… we are only human, and it can be difficult to care for others when we are hurting inside. I have often found that it was during the most stressful times in my personal life where being at work was a welcome distraction, but not everyone can do that; we have to be self-aware to know when to ask for help… and when to take that mental health day. Patient safety is of utmost importance, and if you come to work not feeling well, or are so distracted that you forget to use best nursing practice, you are putting yourself, your license, and most importantly, your patients, at risk of harm. You are not alone; trust that your work family will understand and be supportive. That is what being a part of a team is all about.
It takes a team to successfully “get through” your shift… and that feeling when you see the next shift come in, looking (and smelling) all fresh and clean…ahhh, relief at last! The hand-off report, or as I like to call it, “tag, you’re it”, is the final sign-off endorsement before you can clock out, and get back to your real life outside of work.