Inspire Nurse Leaders

Nurse Leadership in a COVID-19 World

Five tips for sustaining your personal best in a prolonged crisis.

Nurse leaders are at their personal best in a crisis. But prolonged stress can be soul-crushing. Whether you’re working in a hospital command center, continually rounding or fielding emergency management calls, make sure to put on your own emotional oxygen mask first, so you can continue to help others. Combatting COVID-19 will be a months-long marathon. Creating moments of renewal along the way will help us go the distance and finish strong.

Here are five tips to help nurse leaders sustain their top performance.

  1. Take a break every two hours. Set the alarm on your smart device for every two hours and take a 10- to 15-minute break when it sounds. Encourage your teams to take breaks, too.
  2. Walk and stretch for exercise. Look for opportunities to get your 10,000 steps in each day (while keeping your distance). Take the stairs when possible and remember to stretch.
  3. Turn to your higher power. Go to the chapel to ponder and pray. This simple practice saved me during Ebola, nursing strikes and seemingly uncontrollable flu census surges. 
  4. Meditate. Download the Insight Timer Meditation App. It’s free and comes with tens of thousands of meditations with many taking just five minutes!
  5. See eye-to-eye with your patients. Looking into the eyes of our patients can help us reconnect with our purpose and put the many frustrations we face into perspective.
  6. Holy guacamole. (Bonus!) Whatever your favorite food is—have some close by. Chips and guacamole are my go-to. Besides, guacamole is a health food, right?