Healthcare Technology Featured Article

July 07, 2023

Five Ways For Nurses To Overcome Work-Related Challenges

Nurses play an important role in the smooth functioning of the healthcare system. They spend the most time with patients, more than physicians and consultants, and thus are the primary advocates of the patient's needs to other healthcare professionals.

Despite their significance, It is undeniable that nurses are overworked as the healthcare system struggles to cope with expanding demand. Healthcare is facing a shortage of nurses, one projected to grow, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, as nursing schools cannot meet this growing demand. 

It is difficult today to work as a nurse; you may have extra shifts, handle more patients in your rotations than is normal, and do all this added work for no additional compensation. These growing responsibilities can create stress and negatively impact your personal and professional life. To overcome these challenges and find a healthy work-life balance, follow the five steps laid out in this article.

Stay up to date with the latest technologies and trends

As a field, medicine is constantly evolving, with new research, methods, and technologies displacing their predecessors and informing medical practice. If you are a nurse, staying up-to-date is crucial to ensure you provide the highest possible quality of patient care.

Juggling responsibilities of work and study is easier today than ever. Thanks to advancements in digital technology, you can receive the same standard of education you would get from an on-campus degree within the comfort of your home. There are even remote opportunities for further qualifications, like a doctorate through a BSN to DNP online program, which enables you to remain ahead of the trends and increases your likelihood of career advancements.

Other ways to stay up-to-date include attending workshops and conferences and participating in discourse amongst nurses on social media websites like LinkedIn. By being proactive in your professional development, you can overcome any challenge of adaptation that arises from changes in medical practice and can even function as a role model for others to follow if they want to achieve your high standards.

Focus on your health

Nurses are known for their selflessness and commitment to the highest standards of professionalism in patient care. Often they will neglect their physical and mental health in their duties to the patients, operating on low hours of sleep and unhealthy diets.

So, prioritize your well-being. This ensures you are happy and content both within and outside work and are in the correct physical and emotional state to carry out your patient duties. Being physically and mentally drained inhibits the extent of care and communication you can provide to patients, making you worse at work.

Focusing on your health includes getting adequate sleep, engaging in some form of exercise, and following a nutritious diet. It also includes focusing on other forms of self-care, like engaging in activities/hobbies or forming social connections outside work, which is integral to having good mental health.

By following a healthy lifestyle, nurses can ensure they can cope with and overcome the increasing challenges at work without compromising their high professional standards or well-being.

Create a professional support network

Nurturing positive relationships at your place of work is vital to making it an enjoyable experience and mitigating the challenges that arise during your shift. Other nurses are likely to encounter the same challenges as you, and the impact of their work on their personal lives may also be similar.

Many steps can help foster a healthy relationship with your fellow nurses. Be proactive in communicating with other nurses and vocal in your appreciation of their efforts and support. Try to develop a connection over topics outside work, like your mutual interests, and organize a space for regular communications and discussions so that there is a platform where nurses feel comfortable discussing their professional and personal issues.

Your peers' advice and insights can be a source of guidance in overcoming common professional challenges. Having a wholesome work environment also creates a culture of collaboration where you have the support of your colleagues to fall back on if you ever feel overworked and exhausted.

Develop techniques of stress management

The hospital can be an extremely stressful environment where nurses manage high-pressure situations such as a patient fighting for their life. Combined with the long hours, complex work tasks, and emotional toll of dealing with sick patients and their worried families, many nurses experience burnout.

Here, developing techniques for managing stress and decompressing is essential so that you can re-center yourself and focus on your work. Engaging in healthy practices, such as breathing exercises or meditation, helps you be more aware of your emotional state and overcome lingering feelings of negativity and burnout. Having things you can do to relax is also a potent tool against stress, like listening to music or going for a private walk.

You can also seek professional help, such as speaking with a therapist, to overcome any work-related trauma and bring you towards being your most productive self.

Improve your communication skills

Good communication skills are imperative to succeeding in your responsibilities as a nurse. You must have good listening skills and be able to actively listen and comprehend all of the information and requests of the patient, seeking clarification where necessary. Your approach should also be one of sensitivity, where you respond to the personal information about the patient maturely and come off as compassionate and empathetic in these interactions so that the patient feels comfortable discussing their issues with you.

As the patient's primary advocate, you must also be able to communicate information relevant to their diagnosis and their desires and requests to other healthcare professionals. The level of treatment a patient receives at a hospital depends on the quality of information the nurse gives the physician about the patient's condition.

You can improve your communication skills by taking feedback from your colleagues on your communication style and potential areas of improvement. You can also take advantage of the various online resources that focus on improving aspects of communication, such as persuasiveness, conciseness, incorporating non-verbal cues, and using politically sensitive language. Focusing on such skills will make it easier to understand what the patient is asking of you and make you better at advocating their needs within the healthcare institution.


Working as a nurse is a complex and challenging job. You must continuously monitor the patients to maintain their stable health, obtain important personal and medical information which might be crucial to the diagnosis, and advocate the rights and needs of the patients within the institution. You must do this while overcoming the difficulties of working during a shortage. By focusing on your health, creating systems of support, staying up to date, and improving your coping and communication skills, you can overcome all of these challenges while still having time to enjoy your personal life.

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