Going Home Checklist
12 Jan 2022 | Anne Marie Fogarty
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Leaving work behind is not always easy!
It’s 8 pm, and you finally see the night nurse walking up the corridor. Time to hit the cloakroom, grab a change and set off for a relaxing night at home after a long emotional shift. But what happens when you get home, into your PJs, but just can’t stop thinking about your cancer patient? Did you give 10mg or 1mg of that medication via the syringe driver at lunchtime? No matter what you seem to do, work follows you home and adds to the stress of the job.
Despite the emotional nature of the role, there are several tools to help you switch off. Some apps can help you to meditate and relax. Also, certain things you can do at home can support your well-being.
Take a look at the list below adopted from the NHS Going Home Checklist and see if any of these strategies would help you switch off at the end of your shift.
Going home checklist
- Take a moment to think about how the shift went.
- Think about one difficult thing, then let it go – close your eyes and blow out the difficult thing- imagine it in an air bubble, and you are blowing it out and away. Visualise it drifting into the air and fading off out of sight.
- Consider the positives from your shift. Give yourself credit for things well done.
- Are you feeling ok? Have you someone to confide in? Your colleagues, senior team, and Occupational Health are all there to support you. Problems expand as they grow, and if we hold them inside, that expansion may end an explosion!
- Check-in on your team before you leave to ask if they are ok.
- Now switch your attention to home. Think about seeing family, or a meal out that you’re looking forward to, or that hot relaxing bath you have been waiting for all day!
- Make sure to plan ahead of time, if possible, what you will do at home to unwind – meeting friends, reading a good book, whatever relaxes you – plan for it.
Every job has its merits and challenges, and nursing is no different. However, the personal and emotional nature of the profession lends itself to emotional exposure to specific events. It is not easy to forget a patient who has died that you nursed for months, nor the young mother told her baby wasn’t going to make it, so many challenges face nurses while on duty. No one would expect any nurse to forget, that’s just not who nurses are. No matter how professional you are, the deaths and illnesses/sufferings of people that you see daily have to impact on you as that is human nature, compassion and empathy. But if you don’t try to mind yourself also, and leave the role at the hospital exit as much as you can, then you won’t make it in nursing – you will burn out fast.
It’s ok to mind the nurse as well as the patient.