Maureen J. Juarez, Pamela K. Friesen, and Bernita E. Missal are affiliated with the Department of Nursing at Bethel University, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Alexander Hermelin, nursing student, Malone University, Canton, Ohio
Self-Care for Nursing Students
After most days as a nursing student, I greet the evening hours exhausted. Sitting down to prepare paperwork for the next morning's clinical rotation, I wonder if I will be able to sleep tonight. About this time each evening, my friends stop to see if I would like to go out with them. "Sorry guys, not tonight."
Can you relate?
Thoughts of upcoming tests loom. "The test is coming and I haven't even read the chapters. I am toast. Are there med-math questions as well? Okay, yep it is over."
Do you relate?
Nursing school certainly is not gumdrops and lollipops. At times it is frustrating, confusing, and simply overwhelming. Some days it feels like there is no time to eat, sit down, or catch your breath. But take heart, nursing school colleague!
Can I remind you that there is much more to life than school? I encourage you to have lunch with a good friend today (or soon) and enjoy each other's company without talking about school. Call that friend you haven't talked to in a long time. Phone your mom today; she'd love to hear your voice. I challenge you to encourage someone today instead of griping about a professor. I dare you to write a note to someone to let them know how much you appreciate them. Seek God today; let him know how you are feeling. Be honest. Share your thoughts, aspirations, and concerns.
Time and again, God has proven his faithfulness to me in the midst of uncertainties. In those moments, when I pause to quiet my heart before him, I finally hear his soothing voice expressing his love for me. I am reminded of Jesus' words, "A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of " (John 10:10, The Message).
My fellow students, may you find rest in something other than in the fact that your homework is done for tomorrow. May your friendships grow stronger, and may you realize the freedom available in Christ today. Do your best on that upcoming test. And, remember self-care for nursing students is a must.
God's Word for Self-Care
"Come to me. Get away with me and you will recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly," (Matthew 11:28–30, The Message).
"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life," (Philippians 4:6–9, The Message).
Healthcare in the Barber Shop?
For years researchers have noted that African-Americans have hypertension rates greater than whites. Reasons include poverty and cultural habits; both can prevent people from exercising, eating healthy foods, and getting in to see healthcare providers. High blood pressure is a silent killer, because although no symptoms are present, a person's chance for heart disease and stroke greatly increases with high blood pressure. Without symptoms, assessment and treatment may not be sought.
Offering health promotion activities such as blood pressure or glucose checks in areas frequented by African- Americans can provide a comfortable place for health assessment and teaching. The neighborhood barber shop is a nonstressful environment, and information on hypertension, diabetes, prostate cancer, and other issues can be shared. In St. Louis, barbers have helped get conversations going between nursing students and those within earshot. The students report, "We thought people would be really resistant, but the barbershop is a place where people feel comfortable talking about just about anything. It's a very open environment."
Associated Press. (April 12, 2009). Get a trim and a health check – at the barber's: Nursing students head to black men's gathering spot to battle hypertension. Retrieved May 11, 2009 from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30180282/