National Nurses Week: Good Self-care Means Good Patient Care

May 07, 2024

Kristal Seal


Nurses are well-known for helping others. All too often, the energy we put into caring for our patients and those around us stops when it comes to taking care of ourselves. We rarely realize just how much nursing takes out of us. Burnout, back pain, depression and exhaustion are a few words nurses use to describe their days. We all want our directors and managers to focus on us for National Nurses Week, but maybe we should focus on ourselves as well and discover the power of self-care.

What is self-care for nurses?

Think of self-care as preventative care. The World Health Organization describes self-care as a way to prevent disease while promoting and maintaining health. It’s crucial for nurses to prioritize themselves to not only maintain their personal well-being, but to live as role models for healthy living. Proper self-care helps decrease stress and revitalize yourself.

Why do nurses need self-care?

Self-care is important because if nurses are not at their best – mentally, physically and emotionally – it is difficult for them to provide the best care to their patients. By improving your health and getting enough sleep at night, nurses are empowering their bodies to take on the day. With energy and a clear mind, caring for patients becomes less tiresome and nurses can give more of themselves. Plus, work becomes more enjoyable when you feel good!

That being said, a key component of effective self-care is stress reduction. Nurses know that long-term stress can increase the risk of health problems. Chronic stress decreases the immune system and can lead to other health issues such as headaches, anxiety and depression. By engaging in self-care that cuts down on stress, nurses can focus on caring for their patients. Remember to charge your battery and take care of yourself first.

How can nurses start a self-care journey?

A few things I have done to jumpstart my self-care journey is to participate in Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation and listen to the Nurse Wellness Podcast. Making self-care a priority in your life does not have to be difficult or time-consuming. You can defend yourself against the exhaustion of long nursing shifts with a self-care routine that is easy to fit into your schedule. Even taking five minutes in the morning to think of something you are thankful for, enjoying the sunshine on your break, making a coffee date with a friend or setting priorities for the day can make a big difference.

Remember, taking care of yourself means you can better take care of your patients. You’ve got this!

Grow your nursing skills with the variety of nursing programs offered at American College of Education.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.
Kristal Seal
Kristal Seal, RN to BSN

Kristal Seal is a Registered Nurse (RN) who completed her B.S. in Nursing (BSN) at ACE. She has 14 years' experience as a nurse in the areas of skilled nursing, acute care, primary care, education and labor and delivery. She enjoys learning new skills and is a proud member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. She lives in Jeffersonville, Indiana with her husband, daughter and cats. When she's not nursing, Kristal enjoys gardening, reading and helping others.

Read all articles
Share this:
  • X
  • LinkedIn
Close Chat