The HeART of Self-C.A.R.I.N.G.: A Journey to Becoming an Optimal Healing Presence to Ourselves and Our Patients

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The HeART of Self-C.A.R.I.N.G.: A Journey to Becoming an Optimal Healing Presence to Ourselves and Our Patients Powered By Docstoc
					Creative Nursing, Volume 15, Number 3, 2009




The HeART of Self-C.A.R.I.N.G.:
A Journey to Becoming an Optimal
Healing Presence to Ourselves
and Our Patients

Grissel Hernandez, MPH, BSN, RN, HN-BC, CCE




    Nurses are experts at caring for others but novices at caring for themselves. Self-care
    is foundational to nursing, and many nurses appreciate that self-care is essential to our
    practices, but many of us fail to properly care for ourselves. This article will introduce
    nurses to the principles of self-caring and provide simple strategies for incorporating
    self-care into our nursing practice.

     here is ample evidence that unhealthy work environments contribute to
T    medical errors, ineffective delivery of care, conflict, and stress among nurses
and other health care providers (American Association of Critical Care Nurses,
2005; Heath, Johanson, & Blake, 2004; Joint Commission for the Accreditation
of Health Care Organizations, 2001; Maxfield, Grenny, McMillan, Patterson, &
Switzler, 2005). This cycle of negative, demoralizing, and unsafe conditions in
our workplaces cannot continue. Creating a healthy workplace is a moral and
ethical imperative for our profession.
    Nurses are experts at caring for others but novices at caring for themselves,
as reflected in high rates of burnout, illness, substance abuse, and the challenges
of recruitment and retention that plague the nursing profession. In today’s stress-
ful health care environment, nurses have good reason to revisit the benefits of
transforming themselves and their workplaces into optimal healing environments.
Nurses in all areas of our profession have the opportunity to influence their
organization’s culture and must make a conscious effort to develop structures that                Grissel    Hernandez,
create optimal healing environments by honoring our work as sacred, focusing on                  MPH,      BSN,     RN,
our patients, honoring our colleagues, and most importantly, honoring ourselves.                 HN-BC, CCE, is the
                                                                                                 owner of Inner Strat-
    Nurse theorist Jean Watson, in her Theory of Human Caring, asserts that caring
                                                                                                 egies, an integrative
is a science and that caring relationships are foundational to our work as nurses.               wellness    consulting
She defines caring as a moral ideal rather than an action. She explains how caring                practice based in New
is necessary for the preservation of humanity and that caring benefits the caregiver              Jersey. She is Director
as well as the person being cared for. Watson believes that health care providers                of Nursing Practice &
must cultivate sensitivity to themselves and others through self-reflection, aware-               Education at Atlanti-
                                                                                                 
				
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