Surviving Stress and Loneliness During the Holidays

holiday-stress

Surviving stress and loneliness during the holidays is important.  As nurses, we are well aware of the potential for burnout and how it can affect our lives.  The nursing profession is among the top high-stress occupations.  Add to that stress a new travel assignment starting during the holidays and stress level can be unbearable.

Loneliness is another stressor that can make the holidays difficult.  As a traveler, you spend time away from friends and family for weeks at a time.  Thankfully with modern technology, there are ways to combat some of the feelings of loneliness.

There is a multitude of articles on reducing stress in your nursing job.  Take time to read them and then put together a plan of action for destressing and avoiding burn out.

One way to reduce stress and even loneliness is to reach out to others who can empathize with your situation.  Other travel nurses or some of your peers will provide emotional and moral support.

Online support networks and communities

There are many online support networks and communities that support nurses.  They could be professional groups message boards or social media sites such as:

  • LinkedIn for professional support
  • Nursing sites such as American Academy of Nursing or American Nurses Association
  • Social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

These sites can be useful even beyond emotional support.  They may be a good place for:

  • Sharing nursing issues and to network
  • Career advise especially if you are looking to change specialties
  • Learning from peers about travel places, local food, relationships and much more

As nurses, we monitor our patients for signs of loneliness and depression.  We know the negative effects of social isolation on others but need to be mindful of our own social lives.  Participating in online sites can be rewarding but it does not replace the warmth of an in-person relationship.

However, the online community can help us to feel more connected to others in our field and stay better informed.  Many of these sites have improved and are now helping to protect against spam, bullying and hate speech.  These improvements make the experience of engaging more fulfilling.

Facebook Groups for Nurses

Facebook is the leading social media network.  The site makes it easy to connect and find entertaining and useful content.  There are many public and private groups of like-minded users who connect from all over the world.  These sites make a great place to share current information on the nursing industry.

There are sites managed by most major nursing organizations.  You can find several Travel Nurse sites with public pages and blog sites.

Facebook also hosts communities for almost every aspect of nursing. Use the search function to find public and private groups for:

  • Student nurses
  • Travel nurses
  • ER nurses and most other specialties.

LinkedIn Groups for Nurses

I would look to LinkedIn as the best place to find a group to exchange industry information.  This is the place to build professional networks.  Some of the more active sites are:

  • Registered Nurse Network
  • Travel Nurse Jobs
  • American Nurses Association
  • Jobs for Nurses

Other Social Media Platforms

Reddit is a comment-driven community that hosts topical message boards. One of the best is a subreddits for nursing called, simply, Nursing.

This type of site is a good place to share posts about their jobs, issues with assignments, triumphs, and failures. Nurses may seek advice, or share funny photos and nurse-related jokes.

Twitter and Instagram is a good place to find information about entertainment for nurses. The best way to search these sites is with the hashtags #nursing and #nurses to find accounts featuring people, companies, and organizations of potential interest.

Nursing Organizations Online

Most Travel Nurse agencies have their own blogs or message boards for nurses to engage with registered members.  Your local board of nursing will help nurses keep up with industry news such as certification requirements, legislative issues and nursing education.

Spend time exploring all online options and learning about the community dynamic.   I would not jump right into an unfamiliar digital environment. Get to know the rules of the group before making bold statements.  As with any most online platforms practice discretion. Also, make sure the devices and the networks are secure.

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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a Registered Nurse and retired US Army Reserve Nurse Major. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career, she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and to South Korea. She was trained as an Army Medic during the Vietnam era and later as an OR tec. She went on to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and then completed her nursing training as a Registered Nurse. She was then commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserves. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and work in other medical facilities. During her career, she had the opportunity to work in several specialties to include, OR, Occupational Health, Hospice, Sexual Assault Team, Forensic/ Correctional Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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