Ask the nursing expert

Q: My nursing leadership team is asking for in-servicing on stress management in the workplace. Could you suggest some areas to target?

A: I recommend covering the following areas in your in-service:

• Help defining stress, emotional and physical.
• Clarify some of the myths related to stress.
• Review some of the signs and symptoms, again, emotionally and physically.
Keep in mind there are stresses specific to nursing. Spell out the differences between good stress and bad stress, and how challenges enter into the picture.
And, of course, what they are all really seeking are ways to manage their stress versus their stress managing them.

Q: I need to be able to assist my nursing team in setting priorities for each day. Where should I start?

A: Have your nursing leadership keep a monthly planner. This will help them keep up with day-to-day meetings (clinical, care plans, wound rounds, etc.), due dates for reports, audits and projects.

As they look at each day, decide which of the tasks that they are supposed to address take priority. I recently made a tool for our morning clinical meeting, where I ask each of the nurse managers to identify her three priorities for the day and I write them down on my worksheet. This list is usually developed after morning report is concluded. The next day, I ask for feedback on completion of their priority items.

I know that “things” come up during our busy days that can knock us off balance, but more often than not, addressing three priority items is doable. As the days go by, staff will give feedback to each other and become more proficient at developing priorities.