BREATHE!

from Creative Commons

 

We all do it. We rarely think about it. Most of us do it pretty much the same. There are

differences though – through the nose, through the mouth, quietly, noisily, using the

chest, using the abdominals, fast, slow, deep, shallow. Nurses and doctors listen to your

chest to hear the sound of your breath in your lungs. There are a lot of different sounds

there; crackles, wheezes, sometimes it even sounds like a washing machine, and

sometimes there isn’t much sound or even none at all.  Are you doing it right? Are you

getting the most bang for your buck from your breathing?

chest to hear the sound of your breath in your lungs. There are a lot of different sounds

there; crackles, wheezes, sometimes it even sounds like a washing machine, and

sometimes there isn’t much sound or even none at all.  Are you doing it right? Are you

getting the most bang for your buck from your breathing?

there; crackles, wheezes, sometimes it even sounds like a washing machine, and

sometimes there isn’t much sound or even none at all.  Are you doing it right? Are you

getting the most bang for your buck from your breathing?

sometimes there isn’t much sound or even none at all.  Are you doing it right? Are you

getting the most bang for your buck from your breathing?

 

Teaching us to breathe is a waste of time:

we all do it all the time.

 

But, is it really a waste of time? What happens to you if you don’t breathe properly?

Why is breathing important? We need to get oxygen into our bodies and carbon dioxide

out of our bodies to keep us alive. Our cells need oxygen.

 

How to Breathe Properly

The above link has some interesting information.

Below are the differences between proper and improper breathing

Proper vs. Improper Breathing

Proper Breathing

Effects pretty much every part of the

body. It oxygenates the body, revitalizing

organs, cells, and tissues.

Improper Breathing

Can cause problems for many systems in

the body, including the immune,

circulatory, endocrine, and nervous

systems.

Fuels energy production Mental fog
Improves focus and concentration Dizziness
Eliminates toxins Numbness
Strengthens the immune system Anxiety
Improves bowel function Chest pain
Reduces stress, tension, and anxiety Digestive problems
Increases feelings of calmness and

relaxation

Irritable bowel
Can lower blood pressure Neck and shoulder pain
Increases metabolism, aiding in digestion

and weight loss

(Karen Lee Richards. http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/coping-162182-5.html)

 

Courtesy of Curtis Wallace

 

I regularly use breathing to give me a boost when I am starting to droop in the afternoon

or early evening. At other times, I use breathing to relax and lower my heart rate. I also

encourage my life-coaching clients to breathe properly. Breathing deeply so that your

abdomen expands is one good way to ensure you are getting oxygen to the lower lobes of

your lungs; they are sometimes a bit short-changed. Give some different breathing

techniques a try.

 

Click on the link below and try the breathing exercises.

Three Breathing Exercises from Dr. Weil

 

from Creative Commons

 

 

 

 

 

LEADERSHIP & TRUST in NURSING

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Trust is a key component in all relationships.  Have you ever trusted someone only to have that trust broken by catching that person in a lie?  Or, had someone make changes related to the project you were assigned to lead, while you were away & not informing you?  How about sitting in a meeting & hearing an announcement about the project you were leading with no advance notice?  Other examples include someone taking credit for your work, someone making an error & not owning up, cheating, lying, or talking behind your back, just to name a few ways trust can be broken.  I’m sure somewhere along the line in your personal or professional life you have had your trust broken.  Now ask yourself that tough question – whose trust have you broken?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines trust as:

a: assured reliance on the character, ability,

strength, or truth of someone or something

b: one in which confidence is place

Synonyms could include: integrity, reliance, surety, faith, dependence, belief, hope, care, protection…

 Antonyms could include: lie, cheat, steal, deceive, trick, fool, irresponsible…

When I was teaching first year nursing students we discussed how to establish trust with your patients.  Maintaining confidentiality; doing what you say you will do, when you say you will (keeping your promises); being a patient advocate (standing up & protecting). If you don’t know an answer, say so, then go find out: admit your weaknesses, be honest.  Establishing trust with patients is not different than establishing trust with anyone, except that you might need to do it more quickly.  Also, remember, patients & their family members may be frightened & distrustful depending on past experiences with healthcare.  One of the things not addressed in any depth in nursing courses is building trust with co-workers, other healthcare professionals, or team building.

Patrick Lencioni (2002) wrote the following about the trust needed in teams

“trust is the confidence among team members

that their peers’ intentions are good, 

and there is no reason to be protective or

careful around the group.  

In essence, team mates must get comfortable

being vulnerable with one another” (p. 195).

Being vulnerable means team members need to be comfortable admitting mistakes, making suggestions, admitting weaknesses, skill deficiencies, & asking for help without having these held against them.  In nursing there is another layer to trust; in nursing we want to be able to trust that our colleagues will always do the same things in certain situations (i.e. code blue) every time: this is the reason patient simulations are used & are important in nursing & healthcare.

Building the vulnerability portion of trust can take time to develop.  As a nurse I remember there were some colleagues I would ask for help before others, & only a few to whom I would admit my weaknesses.  Admitting weaknesses, & asking for help can be very frightening, especially to new nurses.  The statement “nurses eat their young” has been around for many years, & my guess is that most nurses have experienced it at some time, yet it continues.  When I was a nursing student we were told about this phenomenon & vowed when we graduated we would never treat nursing students & new nurses with contempt, or disrespectful.  The leader has a large role to play to ensure that trust is developed & maintained among team members, & among teams.  When you think about this the circle of trust it is huge (Figure 1).  Old customs, habits, rituals, & cultures are hard to change; but in this case it would be well worth the effort.

 

scan(3)Figure 1: Circle of Trust

The many roles of nursing leaders must include changing the “nurses eat their young” culture.   What can the leaders do to introduce these changes & see them through to fruition?  Kouzes & Posner (2016) stated

“Trust is all about openness, and trust building involves

creating an environment in which people can be open and honest

with each other” (p. 163). 

One thing that I noticed during my time nursing was the absence of openness & honesty from management; often just an extension of how they were being treated by the executive.  Strong leaders are a benefit to any organization.  Time spent nurturing & growing those leaders is time well spent.  Nursing managers can develop the leadership skills of their direct reports by being open & honest; setting the example & not accepting any less from herself or others.  This said, every person can start to build trust in their relationships by being honest & open.  Sounds simple, but it is something that must be worked on every day; it requires a lifelong commitment to leadership development.

References

Kouzes & Posner (2016). Learning leadership: The five fundamentals of becoming an exemplary leader. Wiley. San Francisco, CA.

Lencioni, P. (2002). The five dysfunctions of a team (2002), Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Imprint, San Francisco, CA

Nurses! Self-Care is a Must: Stop Being Bullied by Your Workplace

As a nurse how many times have you told family members to go home?  Go home or you will get sick & not be able to help your loved one.  As a nurse, has anyone ever told you that?  Probably the closest you have gotten has been “don’t come near me & infect me with whatever you have”.  Nurses know that when they stay home sick they may not be replaced; therefore, colleagues will be left to pick up the extra work.  Working short staffed, you hope an extra coffee, maybe a chocolate bar or some donuts will provide extra energy to get through.  But, that only works for so long & then the next person gets sick & the cycle continues.  This is a familiar story that every nurse knows all too well.  You are not doing yourself or your colleagues any favours by continuing in this cycle of destruction.  As a nurse you are a leader: lead yourself by caring for yourself.

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As nurses we know what we need to do:

  • eat a healthy diet
  • get adequate sleep
  • be physically active
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • have a strong social support system
  • live in a healthy community
  • spend time with your family
  • make time for yourself
  • keep your brain active
  • embrace your spirituality
  • listen to your body

Of course this is easier said than done; the culture of ignoring self has been around for a long, long time. This is just the beginning; remember you are not selfish when you care for yourself.  If you do not care for yourself you will go from being a caregiver to someone needing care, & possibly be a burden to your family.  No nurse wants to be in that situation.

For two years I struggled with increasing fatigue, repeated sinus & other respiratory illnesses.  With prolonged physical problems, my mental status was slipping into the doldrums; I wasn’t depressed, but it was starting to seem that might not be far away.  I was prescribed time off work for ‘burn out’.  Though I felt much better after six months off, I did  not return to my previous state of health, & the amount of progress I made vanished within a very short period of time.  Eventually I was able to get back to work on a very restricted schedule, but within 4 months I had the same old respiratory illnesses, extreme fatigue, & body aches.  More time off, then a repeat of the same thing.  During this time – we’re looking at close to 2 years now – I was a slug at home.  I’d get home from work & collapes; no energy for anything.  My poor husband didn’t have much of a wife & was doing housework, shopping, & cleaning.

At about the one & a half year mark I finally got a diagnosis: I had an autoimmune disease (PBC) & it was responsible for the extreme fatigue.  Though I thought knowing the reason would help, & it did, mentally, it did not help my energy level, if I overdid I got quite ill.  This was distressing as I loved my job, loved being a nurse, but I could no longer work.  Unfortunately, I still couldn’t do much at home either, & was missing out on many of the things in life that I enjoyed.  If I had listened to my body & if I had taken better care of myself would it have made a difference?  Could I have prevented my autoimmune disorder, or could I have maybe felt better for longer?  No one really knows; &, that is the past & I am moving forward.

This is not about me, I’m doing ok & I have learned a lot; but, I hope my story inspires you to care for yourself.  I found out my workplace didn’t really need me.  My family managed, though they all had more work to do & none of them really needed that, especially because of me.  So what will you do?

My questions to you are these:

  1. Are you happy?
  2. Do you love your job?
  3. Are you happy with the amount of time you have for yourself?
  4. Are you happy with the amount of time you have with your family?
  5. Are you satisfied with your health?
  6. Do you feel you are missing out on anything?

You know what the answers should be: what changes do you need to consider?  How will you make these changes?

I believe every nurse is a leader; whether he or she thinks so.  But most important everyone must know thy self, must lead thy self.  Self-care is difficult: our culture puts so much pride in working too many hours, working too hard, not having time to eat well, or get enough activity, going to work when ill, not taking vacations, & not having time for self that we brag about these ‘hardships’.  I don’t think this makes much sense: do you?

What can you do?  Start with yourself, talk to your colleagues: can you support each other in a quest to be healthy & happy?  I am passionate about nursing & leadership: I hope to see the changes I have been championing come about in my time, but I need your help.  Let me see the initiatives demonstrating nurses caring for themselves.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”.

-Mahatma Gandhi-