How to Deal with Nursing Duties You Don’t Like

nursing dutiesBy Tiffany Aller

Nursing duties can be physically and mentally challenging. 

While most nursing duties are fulfilling and enjoyable, some nursing duties may be unpleasant or unwanted.

Those “unpleasant” nursing duties may be a part of your everyday expectations, which means finding coping strategies is important. 

When you discover ways to become more mentally comfortable with unenjoyable nursing duties, you’ll be happier in your job and able to provide a better patient experience

Use these tips and strategies to get started tackling unpleasant nursing duties today.

Making Peace with Unwanted Nursing Duties

More than 2.9 million registered nurses work in the United States, plus an additional 215 thousand nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners.

While many nurses enjoy most of their work, it’s easy to see how unwanted nursing duties can crop up because of how large the field is. 

The key to continuing to do a good job no matter the task in front of you is making peace with your work.

Tackling Gross or Unpleasant Nursing Duties 

Recently, Rasmussen College asked nurses to share the pros and cons of their work, and one leading response was about the unpleasantness of dealing with bodily fluids. 

During any given shift, you may encounter blood, bile, vomit, urine, feces or spit. While your stomach may turn as a result, try some rationalization and visualization tricks to help keep your composure.

Take a moment to meditate, Leo Babauta with Fast Company recommends. Visualize the scenario and remind yourself that you also are full of these same substances. 

Imagine another nurse dealing with your fluids if you were hospitalized. You would want and deserve to be treated calmly and compassionately — and as a patient, you might feel embarrassed to have another person dealing with your bodily fluids. 

Channel the same compassion you’d expect into how you deal with your own patients while in this type of situation.

Taking the First Step with Unwanted Nursing Duties

Other routine nursing duties that can be hard to embrace and enjoy may be more menial in nature, such as the reams of paperwork you’ll complete in many healthcare settings.

The advent of computerized patient files has taken away paper waste while leaving behind the many minutes each day you’ll spend charting.

Babauta has different advice for this scenario: do a little, then get up. If you save all your charting to do in one fell swoop, you may procrastinate for so long that it simply doesn’t get accomplished or you’re incredibly hurried by the time you actually get to it. 

Instead, tackle this less interesting nursing duty by doing a little at a time. Begin working on a patient’s file just after you’ve seen him or her instead of waiting.

As an added bonus, your memory will be fresher and you’ll be able to note more of your observations. Once you’re done, you can move on to more enjoyable nursing duties. 

All professions come with pros and cons. But how you approach a task — from your willingness to complete it to your body language — can impact your patient. 

In nursing, using contemplation, visualization and motivation to surmount unpleasant nursing duties can make your entire day more enjoyable and your work more successful.

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