Handling Stress as an LPN

Everyone has job related stress from time to time but the demanding role of the LPN may take job related stress to a whole new level.
The fast pace, the multitude of responsibilities and the liabilities associated with nursing is enough to get anyone a little frazzled.  Toss in a few hundred different personalities and expectations and you can have a recipe for a mental breakdown.  In order to care for others we must learn to take care of ourselves. It is important to find healthy outlets for managing our stress to keep us healthy and our patients safe. Here we will go over some common stressors that the nurse will encounter on a daily basis and a few ways we can deal with those stressors appropriately.  Before we dive into the LPN Stressors here is a quick look at some more general trials you may face on a daily basis working as a nurse.

The Patient requires Patience

There is nothing more rewarding than caring for someone and watching them recover right before your eyes.  Most patients are very gracious and cooperative but when they aren’t this can cause tension.  When people are sick, they often are required to give up a good portion of their independence.  Try to put yourself in the patient’s place.  How do you behave when you are really sick?  Sick people are often grouchy people because they feel bad and are in a seemingly helpless state.  If you have a patient that is very hard to deal with you can talk to the staff about rotating frequently to give everyone a sanity break. The worst thing to do is to belittle a patient or to react in anger.  Remove yourself from the inflammatory situation if possible and take a few deep breaths.  Ask for support from another nurse or staff member to help you to better deal with the person.

Staff Break

The nursing staff should work as a team in order to keep things running smoothly.  When others shirk their responsibilities or cause problems among staff members this can cause added strain to the LPN.  There are days when you will have staffing shortages and when you will not always agree with other members of the nursing team but you should try to remain in a positive frame of mind in order to function as a unit.  Try not to take everything personally.  We all have bad days.  Try to forgive and forget often. Talk about issues in a calm manner.   However, if there is a situation that you may feel is unsafe or you feel threatened by another staff member than you should follow the chain of command and voice your concerns immediately.

Under Pressure

As a LPN you will have good days and bad.  When you have bad days they can be very bad.  You have a constant liability to be mindful of medication doses, follow Dr.’s orders and maintain a safe standard of patient care.  You will make mistakes.  Do not try to cover a mistake.  If you make an error you should report it immediately to avoid potentially life threatening consequences.  Even if you do not make a mistake you will lose a patient from time to time and this can cause feelings of guilt.  You may question your abilities as a nurse and as decent human being.  Try to accept that death is a part of life.  Talk about your feeling to others. Don’t be afraid to cry or show emotion.  This is a normal reaction.  However, try to maintain your composure in front of the family.

There are several ways to keep stress at a minimum.  Go for a walk outside on your break.  Go to the gym after work.  Physical exercise has been proven to be a great stress reliever and is great for your health as well.  Go for a drive and turn up the music really loud, take a bubble bath, curl up with your dog on the sofa and watch your favorite movie.  Just try to do whatever it is that brings you solace.  You will find if you keep your stress level at a minimum that you will be better prepared to effectively deal with stress when it comes your way and that is better for everyone involved.

Other articles you may like:

Average Salary Working as an LPN

Night Shift Challenges for nurses 

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