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Jul 13, 2017

Healthy Living: Nurses, Take Care of Yourselves

It’s a profession that is well-known for its difficult shifts and long hours.  Nurses provide around the clock care to patients. While they are one of the experts in providing care, many neglect to care for themselves as well. This is why on Friday there will be a special workshop in Belize City to teach nurses tips for self care.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Nursing is a tough job. It is physically, mentally and emotionally taxing. In this day and age, their jobs have become even harder as lesser people are called to profession and so those who are trained must put it more hours. As the registrar of the nurses and midwives council and a nurse for three decades, Nurse Catherine Godinez explains some of the modern day challenges.

 

Catherine Godinez

Catherine Godinez, Registrar of Nurses and Midwife Council

“There is global nursing shortage currently being experienced and Belize, like every other country, has been suffering from this shortage.  So our nurses do have to work harder and longer hours to accomplish what probably in past years we had more hands to help. So we have to work longer hours and harder to accomplish quality patient care.”

 

Kathyrn McPherson is a doula, which is a professional trained to support mothers during pregnancy and labor. Through this job she’s made her own observations of the needs of nurses.

 

Kathryn McPherson

Kathryn McPherson, Organizer, Doula & Yoga Teacher

“I’ve noticed that nurses are on their feet a lot and they are running back and forth; they’re doing a lot. You’re standing all the time and I notice, as a doula, I bring the ball into my sessions or when I’m working with woman in labor. And the nurses are always intrigued. What are you doing? What are you doing with that? And they want to sit on the balls. It inspired me to come up with a workshop because I realized that nurses need a little relief too.”

 

Catherine Godinez and Kathryn McPherson have one thing in common – they both want to improve the self care of nurses.

 

Kathryn McPherson

“So you want the person taking care of you to also be healthy. I think that is really important and I see that they work really long hours; there are a lot of demands put on them. It is not an easy job. I’ve witnessed that. My father was an OBGYN; I’ve seen the stresses it took on him. Working with nurses in the doula aspect you see that too. And I feel nurses are kind of forgotten in a sense because everyone is thinking about the doctors, but the nurses are the ones running around doing all the ground work and really dealing more with the patient one on one.  I’m not discrediting doctors. I’m not saying that at all, but I just see immediately that I would really love to help these nurses.”

 

Even lack of modern resources, as Godinez explains, can increase the challenges within the nursing profession.

 

Catherine Godinez

“We do a lot of human contact. We have life patients, we have to carry patients, we have to push wheelchairs, we have to probably bend over to give care so this over time, does take a toll on the nurses physical body structure. I know hospitals in the U.S., they have a lot of technology where they actually have automated lift for patients, but in this part of the world, so far we have not reached those levels so we do a lot of manual work with our bodies.”

 

On Friday, McPherson is hosting two workshops exclusively for nurses. She’s hoping that she can introduce basic techniques to nurses to better cope within their daily tasks.

 

Kathryn McPherson

“The number one – number two things I’ve had about nurses complaining about body issue would be their lower back and their necks. So we’ll do posture correction. So I’m gonna have them practice some exercises on how to stand property, tilting their pelvis; engaging different muscles using yoga blocks and that sort of thing also building core. And then doing core. So really being able to get into those core muscles; the transverse abdominals. We don’t use our lower abdominals very often. So teach them how to wake those abdominal muscles up which will help them alleviate some of their back pain. So there’s the core strengthening and then there’s also going to be…if you’re on your job and your back hurts, I’m gonna show you some things you can do real quick if you have a wall.  So, little quick fixes.  I want create a safe space for nurses to come and talk about stresses on the job and coping techniques. We’ll talk about that. And then also be able to talk about the physical stresses. Be able to give them some relief, some exercises, some tool kits that they can take home with them and use this while they are on the job. So quick fixes on the job; that sort of stuff. And then also do some relaxation techniques.”

 

Catherine Godinez
“This workshop will help us now to internalize this care for us. How can we care for ourselves as caregivers. I guess it will help us to probably relieve some stress and learn some techniques that we could do while lifting, bending. As a nurse we do learn those techniques, but I guess Kathryn has some yoga-related techniques that we will learn. But we as nurses do need to learn to care for ourselves physically, spiritually and mentally before we could give adequate quality care to our patients.”

 

The Self Care for Nurses workshop takes place at Om Shanti Studio in Belize City. There are two sessions one at nine a.m. and another at two p.m. Registration can be done at the door and the cost is forty dollars. 

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