A lack of self-care contributes to increased stress, which negatively impacts patient care in a multitude of ways. The 2011 ANA Health and Safety Survey found that the top health and safety concern among nurses is the acute and chronic effects of stress and overwork. (ANA Health and Safety Survey, 2016). Nurses who work with pain or depression reported more medication errors, patient falls and provided a lower quality of care (Levtak, Ruhm, & Gupta, 2014), however, frequent self-care behavior can facilitate stress reduction. A literature review by Letvak (2013) showed 18 studies on improving nurse health. On-site wellness programs, offering Tai-Chi, fitness classes, ergonomic training programs, message, CBT programs, and grief debriefing, significantly improved nurse health. Additionally, hospitals and nursing managers who promote self-care behaviors for staff, as a means of personal empowerment, report fewer falls and nurse-assessed risks (Purdy et al., 2010). These findings support the need for evidence-based interventions to foster self-care.
Self-care is a skill which must be introduced early, and cultivated throughout one's’ nursing career. Nursing curriculum should include self-care coursework. Once in the workforce, nurses need the continued support of nursing managers and hospital administrators to ensure self-care is incorporated into the working environment. Adequate staffing, support programs, activities providing opportunities for self-care, and a culture which values wellness are presented in detail. This project will aide in increasing self-care behaviors, and ultimately provide the highest level of care and satisfaction for patients.
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