News / Health

Nurses Beat Burnout with Exercise, Arts

Nurses Beat Burnout with Exercise, Artsi
X
September 10, 2013 8:40 PM
Nurses often confront the limits of care, especially with terminally ill patients. When a patient suffers or dies, it can take an emotional toll on nurses. Some hospitals and medical institutions offer programs to help staff members cope with emotional fatigue and stress. Faiza Elmasry takes us to a cancer center where nurses are encouraged to exercise and get involved in the arts. Carla Babb narrates.
Faiza Elmasry
When it’s time for a brief stretching break, clinical nurse manager Jan Powers joins her staff for gentle exercises in the hallway at Georgetown University Hospital's Lombardi Cancer Center.

“It’s absolutely essential," Powers said. "It kind of allows you to not think about it for five minutes. You’re refreshed afterwards. You come back with a whole fresh outlook and you work much more, harder and longer.”

Nurses often confront the limits of care, especially with terminally ill patients. When a patient dies, nurses may feel helpless and question how they are benefiting others. Many hospitals and medical institutions offer programs to help staff members cope with emotional fatigue and manage stress. At Georgetown University Hospital's Lombardi Cancer Center, along with exercise, the nurses are also encouraged to get involved in the arts.

“We painted a mural together," Powers said. "We had an artist come in and teach us how to paint. We have that in our patient library. We’ve done all kinds of things; clay work, bead work. It sounds silly, like we’re playing, but a lot of emotions come out, a lot of conversations happen when your hands are busy with something else.”

The stretching and painting are part of Lombardi’s Arts and Humanities program, which began 14 years ago. Nancy Morgan is its director.

“We brought dancers, musicians," she says. "We brought in visual artists, painters and I teach writing. And I teach writing. Research shows that if you put your thoughts and feelings on paper, that a lot of physiological changes happen like reduced heart rate, reduced blood pressure, better sleep quality.”

Tricia Smyth, who took part in the painting session, says it brightens her mood.

“They are very flexible about letting us come in and out whenever," she said. "So I go paint a few strokes, if a patient calls and needs me, I go see the patient and come back.”

Her colleague, Lizzie Hagood, also joins in the painting sessions.

“Any nursing job can be very stressful," Hagood said. "We work with very sick people who are coming with acute issues related to their cancer. There are definitely those days where you can’t stop thinking about that patient you spent the last three days with [and] saw them suffering. You get close to their families. You can’t help it.”

Bonding with families can add to the stress nurses deal with.

“Many times we get parents who are absolutely terrified and devastated," Powers said. "That comes out in different ways. Sometimes the anger is what comes out. That’s very hard to take when it’s coming at you. They are not angry at you, they are angry at the situation, but it’s very hard to hear those kinds of things.”

Nurse Thomas Yung, 35, understands how people feel in such situations and knows it’s part of his job.

“It’s really a challenging job to be able to help people, to support them during such difficult time,” Yung said.

To relax during his break, Yung is trying something new: he's sewing.

“What I like about that is that it allows me to do something different, something new that I’ve never experienced," he said. "I’ve never sewn before. [It’s] like an opportunity to be creative.”
 
Lauren Kingsland, the fabric artist who teaches sewing, says participants don’t have to be good. "It’s not about mastering, it’s about doing," she said.

It’s also therapeutic.

“They get out of their head, their stress, by having to touch the fabric, having to enjoy the feel of it, the physical activity of sewing," she said. "And I say the creation of something beautiful feeds your soul.”

Nancy Morgan says the program will continue to evolve.

“We're expanded from just the Cancer Center to the whole hospital," she said. "I would like to find ways, to have things in the evening because nurses are here around the clock, finding new ways to reach all of the staff with new activities.”

And because - in the end - it’s the patients who benefit, Morgan would like to see every hospital introduce similar programs to help their nurses reduce stress and come back stronger.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid