Why is well-being important?

Reality shock for nurses is a problem that shows no signs of going away. Self-care is so vital for new hire nurses, but it is also important that hospitals support reflective learning practices that support well-being. Because around 25% of new nurses leave nursing during their first year of practice, hospitals can build strong programs with less turnover by focusing on well-being during nursing orientation.

How to focus on well-being

Neuroscience evidence suggests mental training and learning skills in four key areas can make a difference in improving well-being and even rewire areas of the brain.

  • Sustaining positive emotion. Prolonging positive emotion has been shown to improve psychological well-being.
  • Rebounding from negative emotion. The second component of well-being is a person’s response to negative emotion. Science in this area suggests resilience, or how quickly a person recovers from adversity, can result in a person experiencing less negative emotion overall and may even have protective properties against mental health disorders.
  • Mindfulness and mind-wandering. Mindfulness-based practices of all types have now entered the mainstream. Data show that when people are really focused on what they’re doing, and their minds are not wandering, they actually feel better about themselves, perform better, and experience less negative emotion.
  • Caring for others. Prosocial behaviors such as empathy, compassion, and gratitude comprise another component of well-being. There’s substantial evidence to suggest that engaging in acts of generosity is a very effective strategy to increase well-being.

The first two points regarding staying positive and coping with negativity can be difficult for new nurses. This post from allnurses.com shows how quickly new hires can become overwhelmed and start questioning if they made the right career choice. Providing resources for both Preceptors and Preceptees to effectively give positive and negative feedback is one way to make this easier. Open lines of communication with their Preceptor will help new nurses feel supported, and if Preceptors are mindful about pointing out when their Preceptees are doing something well, staying positive about their experiences as a new nurse in a new hospital won’t seem so impossible.

Building self-care into nursing orientation

Encouraging new hire nurses to engage in reflective learning activities as a part of their orientation is a great way to help them manage their well-being and resiliency. The American Holistic Nurses Association provides a number of resources for nurses, including Holistic Self-Care information and exercises and Stress Management tips.

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