As healthcare providers, we nurse practitioners face a number of challenges. Not only are we dealing with the mental, emotional and physical toll associated with living in lockdown, being without childcare, financial uncertainty, and the constant flow of bad news, we are also on the frontlines of exposure to COVID-19 and carry associated anxiety. Not to mention, we’re helping our patients bear these burdens as well, adding to the pressure.
Living and working under this constant state of stress takes a toll on our minds and bodies. The nurse practitioners in our ThriveAP program let us know that the stress of these uncertain times is weighing heavily on them in their new roles as providers. So, we invited an expert to share some reassurance and insight into their situations and wanted to share her words with you all in the broader NP community as well.
Elizabeth Sherr is a LPC and clinic director at the Stephen A Cohen Military Family Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. Prior to this role, Elizabeth was in the army for 20 years. Her experience in the military led her to move into a field where she could help other military families and those in crisis. Here are a few quick tips I personally took away from Elizabeth’s words about working with patients during this time:
- Find a space or place you can go that helps you feel grounded and spend time there
- Step back and allow yourself to process your feelings – as a healthcare provider you have more insight into the situation which is both a blessing and a curse
- It’s OK not to know the answer and not to be able to completely reassure your patients because you don’t know and/or don’t feel completely reassured yourself
- ‘Sit with it but don’t overthink it’ – stop your mind from taking things too far
- Identify a few mindfulness exercises that work for you that you can practice when your anxiety rises
- Know your mental and physical limits – only take on additional responsibility if you are able to
If you’re feeling anxious in these uncertain times, check out Elizabeth’s insightful words about handling stress and anxiety as a healthcare provider.
How are you coping with the COVID-19 pandemic as a healthcare provider?