Stress Management Tips for Nurse Managers
By Elizabeth Marcant, Contributor
Stress can be a real problem for nurses. According to
Becker's Hospital Review, more than 90 percent of nurses say they experience moderate or very high
stress levels on a regular basis. And for nurses in a leadership role, the
normal stress that comes with caring for patients can be compounded by
As a nurse, you probably already know that regular exercise can help you control your stress levels. But check out some
of the other tips on how to manage nursing stress below.
Top 3 Nursing Tips for Stress Management
Stay in the moment and act
Susan Petang is the author of The Quiet Zone - Mindful
Stress Management for Everyday People. She says mindfulness plays a big role in
stress management, especially for people in occupations such as nursing or
"Stay in the moment, and focus on what you're doing
right now," says Petang.
But that doesn't mean to focus in on the negatives. Petang
says to "focus on solving problems rather than being consumed by
them." Nurse managers who are able to approach aspects of their day — from
patient needs to staff issues — in a solution-oriented manner can find way way
to deal with a situation and then move on to their next task. And taking action
rather that putting it off can mean reduced worry about the moment in the
Protect your magnesium level
Carolyne Dean, MD, ND, is the author of Hormone
Balance, The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women's Health and The
Magnesium Miracle. She reminds nurses that one result of a higher stress level
is the release of cortisol by the adrenal gland. While this hormonal release is
one of the body's ways of managing stress and related instincts, such as
fight-or-flight, Dean says that "chronically elevated cortisol can cause
negative health effects, including:
High blood sugar
Type 2 diabetes
Fat deposits on the face, neck and belly
But the body's response to stress isn't just limited to
driving up hormones. The body uses magnesium to regulate cortisol levels, and
continued stress means the body is constantly dumping magnesium into the mix to
keep your nervous system in the right zone. The goal of the body is to ramp you
up to the ability to cope with stressful situations without creating more
stress and anxiety.
"When the body is stressed – and it can be for a
dozen different reasons," says Dean, "our magnesium reserves dump
this crucial mineral into our blood stream and we immediately become one of
those people blessed with the ability to cope. We are both calm and alert. Our
co-workers and friends think it’s just who we are but it’s really how much
magnesium we have in reserve."
Dean says that the constant release of magnesium, however,
depletes the body's reserves of this critical stress management mineral. She
notes, "Physical and emotional stress as well as junk food, caffeine and
alcohol all deplete the body of magnesium."
She recommends that nurses keep tabs on their magnesium
levels and supplement as necessary.
"Not all forms of magnesium are easily absorbed by
the body," says Dean. "That's why I recommend a picometer-ionic form
of magnesium, smaller in diameter than the body's cell mineral ion channels. It
will completely absorb into cells when mixed with hot or cold water and sipped
at work or at home throughout the day will relieve a nursing managers stress
levels and will not cause a laxative effect like most other forms of
Find the balance
Balance isn't just important when it comes to mineral
levels. Petang says it's important for nurses managers to think positively
whenever possible. "Find wonder, amazement, and gratitude for every
moment. There is always something, even if only that you have the strength to
She also says that "stuff happens" and all
nurses — and especially supervisors — must learn when to let things go.
"Forget about what should or ought to happen — focus on what is happening," says Petang.
Obviously, nurse managers must take a balanced approach to
this philosophy. You can't be lackadaisical with patient care, but if staff is
going above and beyond quality care expectations, then you may need to avoid
battles about minor preferences in other areas of the work place to best manage
Ultimately, a nurse management job is never going to be
without stress. But following some of these nursing tips can help you manage
yours for a longer and more successful career. You can also discover more nurse stress management tips that work.