Working in health care can be emotionally demanding and stressful. Not only do nurses normalize their own emotional reactions to practice, but they also ease the fear and distress of their patients. Research shows that early career nurses are likely to react more negatively to the emotional demands of practice and are at higher risk of stress, emotional exhaustion, and burnout.

Emotional health is an important part of life. It allows us to work productively and cope with our daily job stress. Here are 5 tips to help new nurses manage the emotional demands of the job.

1. Take care of your physical health.

This is probably one of the most important ways to take care of both your body and mind. Your physical health can greatly affect your emotional health. Exercise regularly, eat healthy meals, and get enough sleep. Improving your physical health can positively impact your emotions on a large scale.

2. Focus on mastering your skills.

It is important that you focus on improving your ability to perform all nursing care and administrative skills independently. These skills will increase your confidence at work and promote satisfaction within your new role.

3. Practice resilience.

Resilience is the ability to overcome challenges quickly and effectively in order to move forward in life. Try to build positive beliefs in your abilities. Becoming more confident in your own abilities, including your ability to respond to and deal with new job environment, is a great way to build resilience for the future. Being resilient will increase your ability to perform under pressure and can affect the way that you view life and its challenges.

4. Practice deep breathing exercises.

Deep breathing exercises have been proven as an effective coping skill. They can help relieve emotional stress and anxiety on the job, improve your mood, and allow you to not to hold onto things that are out of your control.

5. Find a mentor or an experienced nurse who is a positive role model.

Having someone you can reach out to for guidance will help you properly manage the demands of your work and hopefully help you avoid burnout. Recognizing your emotions and expressing them properly can reduce emotional tension and emotional problems.

Nuananong Seal & Mary Wiske

Nuananong Seal, PhD, RN, is a nurse researcher and a consultant for health promotion and health prevention research.

Mary Wiske, RN, is a retired community health nurse.

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