Are You A “Stress Cadet”?

During a meeting today, I heard the term “stress cadet” for the first time, and it really spoke to me in terms of nurses and nursing. Are you a nursing “stress cadet”?

Nurses definitely experience stress, and whether you’re an LPN, RN, NP, or a CNA, stress is generally  a part of your day (although I hope it’s not chronic extreme work-related stress, just the “garden variety”).

How do you deal with your nursing-related stress? How do you combat it and transform it? We all get tired of hearing about “self care”, but it’s a normal process for making sure you don’t burn out.

What’s the Source?

First, it’s good to have awareness of the source of your stress. If it’s work-related, is it:

  • Your schedule?
  • Your shift?
  • Poor management?
  • A troublesome colleague?
  • Physically demanding work?
  • Mentally demanding work?
  • Emotionally demanding work?
  • A challenging patient population?
  • Your commute?
  • Bullying, harassment, intimidation, or prejudice?

If it’s your personal life, is it:

  • Child-rearing?
  • Your marriage?
  • Sex?
  • Finances?
  • Health?
  • Family?
  • Social life?
  • Addiction, depression, anxiety, or mental illness?

So many things can cause your stress, so identifying the source(s) is crucial so that you can take targeted action.

What’s a Potential Treatment/Action?

If you’ve identified some of the sources of your stress (most of us have more than one), then it’s time to assess what treatments or actions might be appropriate to put into place.

At work, a troublesome colleague who serves as the unit bully can make everyone’s life miserable, especially if you’re his or her target. A bully at work may strike fear in everyone’s heart, but something has to to be done, and there are many resources for confronting a workplace bully.

A job that’s become too physically demanding can’t continue, so if your health has changed and you can’t meet the physical demands of your position any longer, it’s time to find something new and move on.

Meanwhile, if your home life is a wreck, psychotherapy or counseling may be just the thing to begin redirecting the course of your life. And if you live with an abuser or addict, special programs exist for those scenarios, of course.

No matter what the situation or problem, there are always potential answers or assistance, so putting the right pieces of the puzzle into play is crucial.

Pay Attention

Finally, pay attention to yourself, your wellness, your peace of mind (or lack thereof), and your level of contentment and happiness. If you’re not functioning in a life that has meaning, purpose, joy, and relative health, then there’s some work to do on your own behalf.

Take care of yourself, identify your stressors, and take inspired action to change what’s not working. You’re worth it.


About Keith

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Keith Carlson is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist.

With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers.

Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on many social media platforms, as well as at NurseKeith.com.