Healing the Healer: Getting Back To Self

inside and outside of the healthcare setting.

Working with people in any capacity is stressful, physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers have the added stress of managing life or death conditions. Often times providers have difficulty separating themselves from their work, and many times wind up taking the stress of the job home with them, creating a nonstop cycle of anxiety and even depression. Effective stress management tools and practices are vital to maintaining longevity and efficacy as a provider.

In the breakout session, providers were split into small groups and encouraged to share their experiences in dealing with patients living with Sickle Cell Anemia, and how they decompress when removed from the healthcare setting. As providers in the small groups began to connect and share, they were instructed to share personal anecdotes for coping with the roller coaster ride that is patient care.

As the groups shared their collective lists of coping mechanisms there were several tools were mentioned by multiple groups. Activities such as reconnecting with nature, whether walking your pets, gardening or simply sitting in a field are great ways to center yourself, and being in the natural world actually stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system further decreasing overall stress in the body.

Other physical activities like yoga, running and going to the gym were also common ways that providers found a refuge from the stressors of patient care. In addition to the tangible tools used for dealing with stress, mental exercises are important supplements for decreasing stress levels.

Being intentional with care and knowing that you have done everything you can for your patients was another recurring expression. When it comes to dealing with patients and chronic conditions such as sickle cell anemia, providers should always remember their Serenity Prayer and try not to let the work follow you home, there has to be a time to refill, for your patients.

Following the session, several of the providers shared that they were reminded of