Nurses are the backbone of not just the medical field as a whole but for many communities as well. To some they are more than just a health care worker but a family member or friend.
They are the people who constantly put others first but also suffer a great risk themselves. With the challenging combination of long hours, strenuous work and personal life, it’s no surprise that many nurses often suffer with their mental health.
A recent article in aacn.org discusses just how much nurses suffer behind closed doors.
“A 2020 study completed by Judy E. Davidson, DNP, RN, MCCN, FAAN and her team at the University of California San Diego reveals that nurses have a higher risk of suicide than the general population,” the article reports.
Even though nursing students have yet to obtain their degree, between clinicals, classes and more, students still have a demanding schedule. The stress of working in the medical field begins long before one official graduates, giving students a glimpse of what is to come.
Senior Florida A&M nursing student Tiah Fuller said she is aware of the high suicide risk among nurses and believes the lack of respect is a reason.
“We just recently stumbled upon an article about a woman committing suicide. It was titled ‘A Letter To My Abuser’ where she explained the toll that the health care system has had on her,” Fuller said. “I feel like the cause of this is the lack of respect toward health care workers. Everyone feels like we have to give every bit of ourselves to our profession with no time to just breathe and focus of us. This could diminish your mental health.”
Fuller says she copes with the stress of a demanding schedule by taking days off to just enjoy what she loves.
“Honestly I choose days where I know nursing would not demand all of my time to just do things I love the most whether it be cooking, spending time with my friends or simply watching ‘The Vampire Diaries.’ I choose self care days where I do nothing at all but sleep since it is so important,” Fuller said. “I try to plan accordingly to where I am able to do my work while also having a social life.”
Second year pre-nursing student RyKizzyah Williams believes nurses are overworked and constantly seeing families in non-ideal settings, which can affect one’s well-being.
“I believe it’s the stress of being an overworked individual. Another factor is watching members of families in a bad state that you would like them it especially if the person is near death,” she said.
She says she deals with the busy schedule by focusing on her work and goals.
“How I cope with the demanding schedule and curriculum is by being intentional with my work and making sure I am doing everything possible to reach my goal of getting into nursing school here at FAMU,” she said.
Even with the mental toll nursing can take on a person, many still love what they do and find it rewarding to give back to others. Fuller says she likes being there for patients.
“My favorite thing about nursing would be how it makes people feel knowing that I care about them and someone is willing to help them. I love the way they light up whether you do something major or just as small as bringing them a cup of water,” Fuller said.
Williams also loves providing for a person while also just talking with many people.
“My favorite thing about nursing so far as my experience is talking with people and learning new information. Another is to provide care for someone,” Williams said.
Nursing can be the most mentally draining or the most regarding depending on the day. Even though they spend most of their time taking care or others, people must remember that whether it’s a student or a registered nurse, they are still humans who need care as well.